Earlier this week, Reddit opened its first Canadian office in downtown Toronto with ambitious plans for growth through its new local presence.
Jen Wong, the chief operating officer at Reddit, told MobileSyrup in an interview that Toronto was naturally the next place for the company to establish a local presence considering Canada is home to Reddit’s third-largest user base.
Wong outlined that Reddit believes there’s both user and business potential in Canada, which is why the company is dedicating teams and resources to expand partnerships with advertisers in Canada.
“Our mission is to bring community and belonging to the world and I’m excited to be able to do that by having a local presence in Canada,” she stated. “It’s already one of our most vibrant territories, so I expect we’re going to get a lot of interesting content and communities.”
With this new office, Reddit is also focusing on growing communities within Canadian moderators and content on the platform.
Wong stated Reddit has been around for 15 years and that half of its audience is from outside the U.S., despite the company not intentionally trying to build a community for those audiences. She notes that this has happened organically in some cases, while in others, people have found content within a global context, such as the ‘r/askReddit’ thread.
“I think one of our strategic pillars is to intentionally grow Reddit and grow communities around the world with local context everywhere in the world,” Wong outlined. “Canada is one of the first countries that we want to do that in.”
Wong said that Reddit is still learning what it means to grow communities around the world with a local context intentionally and that this expansion into Canada will help the company learn more about doing so.
Reddit also expects to learn more about having diversity in a range of topics within a local context in different countries.
“At the highest level, we have this mission of community and belonging, but the power of community still shows up differently in each country,” she outlined.
The company has announced that it’s already working with Canadian companies such as Tim Hortons. Wong notes that users can expect to see more Canadian partnerships in the future as its new sales team will be focused on expanding these types of relationships.
Wong outlined that Reddit will be working with a mix of Canadian brands and global brands that are active within the Canadian market. This includes brands like Lenovo, General Mills, CDW and Call of Duty: Mobile.
Reddit’s growing user base in Canada
Reddit currently has more than 52 million daily active users across 100,000 communities worldwide, with its user base in Canada growing 40 percent year-over-year.
The Canadian user base is primarily made up of younger users, as 59 percent of Canadian users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Further, more than 40 percent of its Canadian users are female.
Reddit notes that at 31 minutes a day, Reddit users in Canada spend more time in-app than almost all other social media platforms.
Wong stated that Reddit provides a differentiated opportunity for brand partners since most Canadian Reddit users aren’t on any social media platform. For instance, more than 20 percent of Canadian Reddit users aren’t on Facebook, while 70 percent aren’t TikTok and nearly 35 percent aren’t on Twitter.
She also outlined Reddit’s partners will be able to reach a new audience with the platform since users come to Reddit with an intention, unlike users going to social media networks without a specific reason.
“People come with their interest with a question in mind trying to solve something or accomplish something. It’s a very different mindset than mindless scrolling,” she stated.
The new team in Toronto will be committed to finding ways to help Canadian brands create a presence on the platform by reaching a new audience on the platform.
Following this initial launch in Toronto, Wong outlined that Reddit may look at expanding into more Canadian cities, as the market holds potential for the platform in terms of business relations and a talent pool for the company.
Reddit’s launch into the Canadian market comes as hundreds of communities on the platform went dark to protest the company’s hiring of Aimee Knight, a controversial U.K. politician.
Moderators demanded action about the hiring of Knight, who had previously selected her father, a man convicted of violent sexual assault on a child, as her election agent. Reddit cut ties with Knight after the backlash.