Last month, Reddit posted fantastic end-of-year numbers that showed explosive growth. In 2013, the social aggregation site ended with 56 billion pageviews, 731 million unique visitors. and 6.7 billion total votes cast. These numbers were up 51% to 82% of 2012′s numbers. Impressive, right? Well, one company doesn’t think so.
Shareaholic, a discovery and sharing platform that helps sites promote content, hasn’t seen this growth translate into an increase of Reddit’s share of overall visits to websites. The Shareaholic network supports 200,000+ websites and tracked 322 million people across the web. Their numbers actually show a decrease in the overall share of referral traffic.
From December 2012 to December 2013, Shareaholic reports there has been a 35.96 drop YoY in Reddit referral traffic. Shareaholic goes further to say that there is something “fishy” with the metrics and issued the following statement on their blog:
“If Reddit is sending fewer visits to sites, web stores and publishers, where else should brands, blogs and businesses turn to for social traffic? Our money’s on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. At least, that’s what the data would suggest.”
Is something fishy with Reddit? It’s possible. However, a very probable metric is that Reddit is evolving from more of a news aggregation site to a true social community.
Of the top ten current Subreddits (the sub communities of Reddit), three feature text posts only. The use of text posts encourage Redditors to converse like they are interacting in a forum rather than sending them off site. Text-post only Subreddits are becoming more and more popular on Reddit, as well, effectively hoarding the traffic and pageviews on the Reddit domain.
Additionally, the number one most frequently submitted site on Reddit is Imgur. The photo sharing site was built by a group of Redditors with the goal of creating a crash-free service that could withstand massive amounts of traffic. At any given moment, you’ll likely see half of the front page stories showing Imgur links. Imgur does not contain any Shareaholic code, which would vastly skew the overall numbers.
So, Reddit’s numbers may or may not be fishy, but what we can take from the Shareaholic data is that the overall share of referral traffic to many websites hasn’t seen the correlative growth that Reddit has. Is this a bad thing? Not especially. The community is evolving and focusing a bit less about news and more about each other. It’s a good reminder for marketers to engage with the community correctly as Reddit is now much more than submitting a link. For the full stats, see Shareaholic and Reddit.