Reddit Is Now A Much Less Important Source Of Traffic Than It Used To Be

Reddit saw an 83% increase in traffic, to 731 million unique visitors in 2013, the company said, but “the front page of the internet” has become a much less crucial source of traffic over the same period, according to data from Shareaholic, which measures social media sharing traffic.

Reddit’s share of outgoing traffic to publishers dropped 36% year-over-year, Shareaholic says:

Reddit Referrals Report (chart) Jan 2014

The data measures traffic coming from Reddit (and other sites) to other web sites. Shareaholic’s data covers 200,000 sites and 250 million-plus unique visitors per month.

Although that red line doesn’t look like it has gone down by much, the proportional decline is big: Reddit went from providing 0.33% of the web’s traffic in December 2012 to 0.21% in December 2013 — a 36% drop.

What is jarring here is that Reddit — a site dedicated to sharing stuff — only got bigger in terms of total traffic in 2013, but appears to have become less important in terms of shared traffic over the same period.

Reddit may be hoarding more of its own traffic, in other words.

A few things changed on Reddit in 2013, Shareaholic’s Danny Wong tells us. More of Reddit’s top posts are discussions that feature few links, such as its “ask me anything” series in which famous people like Bill Gates or President Obama take questions from the public. And one of Reddit’s more infamous 2013 posts was this thread on the Boston Marathon bombing, which contained a bunch of incorrect information.

Plus, news organisations — Business Insider included — now more frequently use Reddit as a source of news rather than a source of traffic. One example was this Bitcoin theft, which was described mostly on Reddit by other Bitcoin users — very few outgoing links were involved.

So other publishers are linking in to stuff that is already on Reddit; previously, Reddit users linked out to things they found elsewhere.

Reddit also got greater social sharing competition in 2013. Sites like Upworthy and Viral Nova became huge alternatives to Reddit in 2013 for people who like weird or heartwarming stories.

And Facebook also tweaked its algorithm to feature more useful news and fewer meme (think funny pictures of cats).