Going Viral Gets Harder, Thanks to Reddit

Last week, Shareaholic released a report on popular online forum Reddit, which has long been considered a rite of passage for any viral marketing campaign. That is, if you wanted your ad, story or video to hit it big, it basically needed to get picked up and shared by the 731 billion unique visitors that the website saw in 2013.

But new reports may turn this entire concept on its head. It turns out that even as Reddit continues to grow annually (for example, it grew an amazing 51 percent in pageviews since 2012), it isn’t referring links quite so much anymore.

Reddit is turning inward.

Shareaholic noted that the websites in its own network of over 200,000 publishers were seeing less traffic coming from Reddit between 2012 and 2013. In fact, it saw 35.96 percent less referrals. If you look at this as symptomatic of a larger trend, the numbers point to a growing Reddit userbase that spends more time on Reddit, sharing news within the forums and commenting on threads without pulling out interesting links to share with the outside World Wide Web.

What does that mean for marketers? It means that now it might be harder than ever to blast your content to viral status. With Reddit out of the picture as a quick fix when your campaign needs a boost, marketers will have to reconsider how much energy they spend trying to court the website’s favor and look to other, less predictable forums for hooking reader attention and attracting major, campaign-changing shares.

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