As a central hub for understanding customers and promoting content, Reddit is a goldmine.

Reverse engineering success on Reddit has worked well at our content marketing agency, but over time, we encountered a roadblock. How do we filter through the thousands upon thousands of subreddits to create content with the largest distribution potential?

Finding relative subreddits for clients can be a headache. Some allow link submissions, while others only allow “self” submissions, while others are purely Imgur links. If you’re starting with content and then locating the best place to submit, the spread potential on Reddit can sometimes be hit or miss.

Similarly, if you want to find the most popular self or Imgur subreddits in order to do research on your target market, it’s not that helpful to find unpopulated subreddits. So, we decided to do something about it.

Over the course of a few weeks, we compiled a list of 750 popular subreddits in a public Google Spreadsheet, where you can can filter by three different variables – industry, subscriber total and submission type.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.09.34 PM


Column A is separated into ten categories. These categories are:

  1. Finance and Insurance
  2. Retail
  3. Travel / Tourism
  4. Jobs / Education
  5. Home and Garden
  6. Consumer Electronics
  7. Vehicles
  8. Internet and Telecom
  9. Business and Industrial
  10. Occasion and Gifts

These ten categories were pulled from Wordstream’s list of the industries that spend the most on Google AdWords. It gives search query examples and lists specific companies who spend the most per industry.

In addition, we added 12 subreddits under the “General” category that don’t apply to a specific industry, but are high-traffic subreddits we’ve had success with for content inspiration and promotion.

Subscriber Total

Column C is pretty self-explanatory – the total number of subscribers. However, we placed a minimum threshold so any subreddits under 1,000 subscribers didn’t make the list.

This helped us filter out smaller subreddits such as /r/dogswithcatheads and and /r/slothswithbeaks (a few personal favorites).


Obviously, the subscriber count will change over time, but as a reference, these numbers were collected on October 20, 2014. We may consider updating the subscriber totals in the future.

Submission Type

Column D requires a bit more explanation. It’s divided into five submission types:

  1. Imgur
  2. Self
  3. Links – Low
  4. Links – Medium
  5. Links – High

Imgur submission type means nearly all submission types are Imgur picture links. This implies it’s not the best place to start a discussion to better understand your audience or promote your new guide with an external link. Examples include /r/beerporn, /r/baking, and /r/retailporn.

Self submission type means nearly all submission types are “self” discussions. If you’re looking to gain a foothold on your customers thought process, find questions they’re asking or to discover pain-points, “self” discussions are a great place to start. It’s possible to include a link in the text post, but it’s not suggested unless you have a great reason to. Examples include /r/askscience, /r/buildapc, and /r/findapath.

Links – Low submission type means less than 1/3 of submissions are links to external websites. Typically these will offer a variety of Imgur, self, and link submissions that is pretty equally distributed. Not the best place to submit links, but if you do, it better be damn good. Examples include /r/frugal, /r/homebrewing, and /r/wedding.

Links – Medium submission type means about half of submissions are links to external websites. This doesn’t deviate too far from the “Links – Low” submission type, but you’re just less likely to get slack for submitting a link. Examples include /r/bonsai, /r/foodhacks and /r/guerillagardening.

Links – High submission type means nearly all of the submissions are links to external websites. This is the best place you can submit your content to, because it’s expected. Examples include /r/adgeek, /r/CSEducation, and /r/InternetIsBeautiful.

Bottom line – you can submit your content to all three of the “Links” categories. You should not submit to Imgur (unless it’s an infographic), and if you’re considering self, tread lightly.

It should also be noted that putting each subreddit in these categories was a subjective analysis done on the state of the subreddit at the time of viewing. So the right category or link submission level might not always be perfect, but it should be close enough to offer some helpful guidance in regards to your content.

Illustrated Example

Let’s pretend you’re an eCommerce company for adventure sports equipment and apparel. Your main competitor is REI. What does your audience like to do? What do they want to learn about? What gets them excited?

Well, let’s see, they like adventure sports, exploring nature and traveling. So let’s filter by the Travel and Tourism category in Column A.

subreddit list

From here, you can either sort by Subscriber Total (column C) or Submission Type (column D).

To sort by Subscriber Total by largest to smallest, click the drop-down and sort Column C from Z to A:

sort largest

To sort by Submission Type by alphabetical order, click the drop-down and sort Column D from A to Z:

subreddits list

It’s that simple. With our spreadsheet, you can now easily play around in different industries, helping you better understand customers and/or promote your content.

Play By the Rules

Let’s be honest, content promotion isn’t easy, but it sure as hell is required if you want to have any kind of impact on your web traffic. Too many people simply hit publish and then wonder who might promote their content. We think Rand said it best:

Not only is sophisticated promotion essential to your existence, it’s especially difficult on Reddit. Unless you want to end up on the banned domains list, you MUST play by the rules.

According to the Reddiquette, Reddit’s informal rulebook, you have one essential rule to follow – don’t be a spammer. This quote, pulled from the official page on Redditquette, says it best in regards to submitting content:

Feel free to post links to your own content (within reason). But if that’s all you ever post, or it always seems to get voted down, take a good hard look in the mirror — you just might be a spammer. A widely used rule of thumb is the 9:1 ratio, i.e. only 1 out of every 10 of your submissions should be your own content.

Only one out of every ten submissions should be links to your own content. Reddit merely wants to maintain quality conversation amongst Redditors, not a place for marketers who don’t understand Reddit to spam their platform.

Respect the system, and it will respect you back.

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