BLOG POST BY: Rowan Byers
August 5, 2022

Reddit To Compete With Meta, TikTok, Roblox For Digital Supremacy

Reddit’s slogan ‘dive into anything’ perfectly sums up the social news aggregation platform. Increasingly popular with the inquisitive slice of the internet’s population, its user base can delve into vast quantities of information on practically every field of human knowledge.

When we take some of the platform’s recent updates into account, it’s evident that the platform strives to compete with the big kids on the block, namely TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.

However, is the substantial investment into live social audio a wise move considering the industry’s downturn in this format? And will a new NFT development fit within the average user’s interests?

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Reddit Invests In Live Social Audio With Reddit Talk

Is Live Social Audio Dying?

Algorithm Updates And Introduction Of Spell

Is TikTok The New Reddit?

The Future Of Reddit Looks Like Roblox

Reddit Invest In Live Social Audio With Reddit Talk

In general, the social platforms occupying the leading spots in the industry’s hierarchy have started to move away from live social audio. However, Reddit has started to invest in and improve the discovery of Reddit Talks.

Reddit Talk is a new feature that enables users to engage in live audio conversations. These spaces will allow users to host ask-me-anything (AMA) conversations or just hang out and have fun. As it stands, Talks can be hosted by moderators or mod-approved users in participating communities, and even by some patrons through their profile.

Users will be able to see in-progress audio content from subreddits they follow and subreddits that align with their interests. The home feed will serve live audio sessions that viewers may be interested in, based on topics chosen by the creator of the session.

It doesn’t stop there, Reddit is also adding a new soundboard feature, equipped with eight sounds. The hope is that interactive features will help to elevate conversations and entertainment with social audio on the platform. 

Reddit is also launching a Talk Host Program, which will seek to incentivise creators to use the feature by offering rewards such as hoodies, branded equipment and peripherals, and in-stream promotions. 

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Is Live Social Audio A Depreciating Format?

Since the restrictions of the pandemic started to lift, live social audio has appeared to be in swift decline. Platforms such as Clubhouse enjoyed success in abundance during its peak, so much so that Meta, Twitter and Spotify launched their own social-audio features. 

The thriving hive of live social audio hype now seems short lived. For example, Spotify has put an end to the Creator Fund for its Greenroom platform – although it has been speculated that this function never launched due to the platform continually announcing new initiatives and never following through.

Meta has also made it clear that live social audio is no longer part of future plans. The social giant has removed major funding and resources from Live Audio Rooms, which implies users on social media are no longer engaging with the format. This could also be a platform specific issue, meaning live social audio just doesn’t fit within the parameters of Meta owned platforms.

Twitter Spaces still appears to serve its purpose as a live social audio utility. In fact, the use of Twitter Spaces has paid dividends for F1 Manager, and the brand’s social launch strategy for F1 Manager 2022.  

Live social audio proved to be a valuable asset for F1 Manager as they sought to cultivate an audience of Formula 1 fans on Twitter. Using Twitter Spaces, the brand were able to gather their audience in one place and answer their questions around the game, as well as discussing the world of Formula 1. 

By using live social audio in their game launch strategy, F1 Manager were able to simultaneously collect data from their audience, and attend to their needs by participating in Q&A’s with fans.

Reddit’s Algorithm Update 

Reddit Talk isn’t the only new development for the platform, the algorithm has also been subject to enhancements. 

The platform is looking to improve the user experience through an upgrade to the algorithm. To achieve this, a company called Spell has been acquired. 

Spell is a machine learning platform that allows teams to conduct experiments at a large scale. For Reddit, this means that those behind the scenes will be able to better understand the algorithm, what works best and what doesn’t. It will also mean that Reddit will optimize its system to improve topic matching and misuse detection. 

As stated by Reddit:

“With Spell’s technology and expertise, we’ll be able to move faster to integrate ML across our Product, Safety, and Ads teams. Team members from Spell have joined forces and will support existing and spearhead new ML projects across the company related to how we identify and classify contextual relevance, organize conversations, customize ad placements, and protect communities.”

Ultimately, this acquisition will help increase the engagements across the platform as users will start to receive content that better aligns with their interests. 

The social network has developed a reputation as a trendsetter in the social space, users often use the site as a source for online trends and original conversations. As of today, it looks like TikTok has assumed the role as originator of trends and topics.

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Is TikTok The New Reddit?

Reddit was once glorified as the source for original content, and the birthplace of trending topics that later make their way across the larger platforms. However, it is now an industry wide acceptance that TikTok pioneers the latest trends.

TikTok is rife with viral hashtags, challenges, dances and memes. The origin of new content and trends operates on a round-the-clock basis – that being said, there is always something new making waves on the platform.

The ease of trend hacking has played a major role in why new trends take off so easily on TikTok. Users on the platform can recreate trending content with the duet feature, or simply use the trending sound to create their own original version. This is a method used widely by brands, content creators and everyday users across the platform, and can be credited for generating the insurmountable virality associated with a lot of TikTok trends.

The Future of Reddit Looks Like Roblox

The gap between Reddit’s users and moderators is pretty slim, they are almost the same prototype, or so Reddit CEO Steve Huffman describes. When discussing a plan to offer monetisation for all Reddit users, Hoffman said:

“I do think moderators and users…should be able to, long term, earn money on Reddit, but they don’t work for Reddit therefore Reddit wouldn’t pay them,”

While monetary gain for all its users is not yet in sight, Hoffman has addressed the prospect of constructing a Roblox inspired model. 

“I love Roblox, they are ahead on something I’ve long wanted to do on Reddit.”

The attraction appears to be for Roblox’s “radical customization” that enables its user base to curate unique worlds in which they can play and explore. Hoffman believes that a similar future lies ahead for Reddit, perhaps not in gaming, but instead with a model that will be built around community creation.

Roblox and Reddit share the unique structure in that the substance on the platform is developed by its amateur users. With this bottom-up approach comes more opportunities for users to earn money, such as selling customized experience or various upgrades. Roblox have done this in the past by partnering with Chipotle for a campaign which saw a virtual restaurant opened within the platform.

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Reddit has been adored by its fandom for providing a platform in which people can deep dive into any topic fathomable. Its structure as a social news website and forum where content is created and promoted by its user base has stood the test of time. However, recent updates suggest that Reddit seeks to move away from its traditions, opting to update the platform with tech advancements aligned with industry developments. 

Whether Reddit will be able to topple one of the big six in the coming years remains unclear, but their promise of user monetization, and a shift in the direction of its competitors, sparks promise for the future of the platform.

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Written by: Rowan Byers

Insights Executive at The Goat Agency