Global discussion-forum giant Reddit will use its new Sydney office to tweak its Australian presence in a “more focused and nuanced way”, the company said as it formally expanded into its fourth-largest market worldwide.
Australians spend an average of 31 minutes per day on Reddit, the company said, contributing 158m posts, comments, and votes on the wide-ranging discussion forum every month.
And, with its Australian user base growing by 40 per cent year on year, chief operating officer Jen Wong said in announcing the move, the company’s decision to establish its Barangaroo, Sydney office reflects its desire to “level-up our local offering in a more focused and nuanced way.”
“From building out our highly engaged Australian communities to finding homes for local brands on the platform, this launch is just the beginning of our investment in the market and key to our wider international vision as we continue to scale Reddit at pace.”
Reddit raised $330m ($US250m) earlier this year and plans to double its 700-strong employee base this year, with the Australian expansion following new offices in Canada in March, and the UK last September.
The local operations will be headed by David Ray, who spent 10 months as general manager of digital platforms with Woolworths’ digital subsidiary WooliesX before taking the opportunity to shape Reddit’s Australian operations.
Ray’s resume also includes a who’s-who of Australian digital media including stints running the local operation of Amazon Music, as Australian director of audiences and growth with Twitter, managing Telstra’s NRL and V8 Supercars digital media operations, and working in business development with Fairfax Digital.
Tapping the advertising mine
Founded in 2005 as a wide-ranging discussion forum characterised by upvoting and downvoting, Reddit has exploded in usage – and value – and has become the go-to community for many users around the world.
It now claims 52m daily active users worldwide, spread across more than 100,000 communities of interest – with popular Australian subreddits including r/australia, r/ausfinance, r/asx_bets, r/afl, and r/nfl.
Fully 51 per cent of Reddit’s Australian users aren’t even on Snapchat, 40 per cent aren’t on Twitter, 23 per cent aren’t on Instagram, and 20 per cent aren’t on Facebook, the company said.
Its grouping of users by interest, rather than by linking ‘friends’ as on other social-media sites, makes it a dream for advertisers that increasingly value the ability to target their messages to particular audiences.
Reddit is particularly well ensconced within what it called the “highly desirable” 18 to 34-year-old marketing segment, with 62 per cent of its Australian users falling within this range and 28 per cent aged between 35 and 49.
The venture’s marketing potential prompted Joshua Lowcock, expat Australian and US chief digital officer with advertising agency Universal McCann, to note that the Australian operation “will reinforce Reddit’s market position for locally-based brands and advertisers seeking to navigate the depth and breadth of the platform and unlock its immense value.”
Yet Reddit has its work cut out for it in building brand awareness locally, with the site not even rating a mention in Roy Morgan’s latest survey of Australia’s favourite social-media sites – which last year found Facebook and YouTube to be “easily Australia’s most widely used social networks”.
Reddit’s promise of targeted marketing to Australians is, however, likely to appeal to advertisers increasingly marginalised by the death of tracking cookies and tighter controls by platforms such as Apple’s iOS – whose increasingly onerous privacy measures are proving so effective at preventing advertiser tracking that many advertisers have simply given up trying to target iPhone users by platform.