Human connection isn’t just a part of sales and marketing, but at the core of a discussion platform like Reddit. At the Variety Studio presented by Canva at Advertising Week in New York City, Emma Rathe, Reddit Inc. head of event marketing, and Paulita David, Reddit Inc. senior managing director of large customer sales, spoke about Reddit’s use of artificial intelligence, online community and what it’s like to build a brand centered around human connection.
“People go to Reddit because it is so much about the vulnerability you can bring to a platform like Reddit that you’re not bringing anywhere else,” Rathe said.
That vulnerability is a naturally integrated part of the platform, which focuses on connecting users across the world through shared interests, or communities called “subreddits.” On these subreddits, Redditors are able to ask questions about topics ranging from skincare to the construction industry.
“This trans man came on r/MakeupAddiction, which is like a 4 or 5-million person sub[reddit community], and said, ‘I’m learning how to do my makeup. Can you please give me constructive criticism?’ I don’t know where else that’s happening on the Internet, but there’s something really, really beautiful about that,” expressed Rathe. “Seeing all the other people on r/MakeupAddiction come in and give this person meaningful makeup advice is really touching.”
Due to the amount of conversations happening on Reddit, sometimes in real time, the site also offers a plethora of data about trending topics and issues. David emphasized the importance of AI for Reddit’s sales team. AI, according to David, has many uses, particularly with measuring the relevancy of ads and their performances. Another element that AI assists with is evaluating and sorting existing data.
“At Reddit, we sit on the largest repository of human conversation in the world. It’s an 18-year-old company that’s just all conversation,” stated David. “So you can imagine the sheer depth of the insights that we have. In order to really pull those out and capture what we like to call ‘moments’ to show what’s happening in the world and culture and society, we use a lot of AI for that.”
David brought up the Korean beauty industry (K-Beauty) as an example of AI’s important role in tracking prospective trends even before they occur. For David, K-Beauty’s global popularity today can be traced back to Reddit.
“[K-Beauty] was on Reddit five years before it was in Target,” David said. “That’s a good example of Redditors always being ahead of the curve, being early adopters. So we use AI to surface all that for our clients.”
“People’s content on Reddit today is powering the AI of tomorrow,” added Rathe.