Collective Community Recommendations Drive Influence, Build Brand Loyalty

On average two people each second ask Reddit communities for a recommendation, and they receive an average of 19 responses in return. Community recommendations at Reddit, YouTube, Yelp, TikTok and other sites can also build loyalty for brands.

These sites have become a place where people go to find answers, and specifically where people go to give and receive recommendations. At a time when confidence in traditional influencer models is waning, the collective wisdom of online communities offers an alternative.

Reddit's latest research -- How Community Recommendations Drive Collective Influence -- looks at why community recommendations, behavior and how to harness collective reasoning. The result of the latest study is a series of insights to help connect brands to the people searching and making recommendations.

First, Reddit broke down why these community recommendations are influential. Then, by identifying patterns across recommendation conversations and subsequent user behavior, the company determined the impact that a successful recommendation had on subsequent actions, such as making a purchase.

The findings were based on a semiotic analysis of millions of online Reddit posts from 2022, as well as an online survey of 12,250 U.S., U.K., Canadian, German, and Australian residents aged 18 years and older conducted in March 2023.

All respondents reported regular use of either Reddit, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and LinkedIn, defined as using the platform once per month.

It turns out that 94% participating in the research have engaged with recommendation content in the last year. Some 84% said reviewing recommendations is decidedly the most popular activity on the platform. In fact, 78% of those using Reddit rely on the platform for recommendations more than once a month, higher than their use of Google, Amazon, Consumer Reports, influencers, or salespeople for recommendations.

About 38% of this audience reported making a quicker purchase decision after receiving a recommendation on Reddit, which is more than the other recommendation sources surveyed. This collective and human-powered approach offers a way to validate or verify a fad or trend seen elsewhere, with 82% of beauty enthusiasts, for example, claiming that Reddit has helped them verify a product actually works.

For others, it’s a way to get informed and specific, and hear from like-minded people on things like choosing sunscreen for sensitive and acne-prone skin or help diagnosing very specific plant issues.

The communities were also found to build brand loyalty, according to the study. On average, recommendation prompted in the sports category yielded 72 replies, and the fastest average response time. News and education categories saw the next highest number of average replies, with 30 per post. Entertainment and gaming categories saw the highest number of recommendation posts per hour, 245 and 318, respectively.

And in the tech and the computing categories on Reddit, recommendations made up 22% of total posts. This followed by recommendation posts in the healthy living category that made up 15% of total posts.

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