Viral on Reddit: The consequences of 30,756 upvotes and 47,611 visitors in 10 hours.
This is a post-mortem write up on the effect of Rezi unexpectedly going viral on Reddit starting on the morning of Friday, November 14th.
Product Hunt is a website that lists new products for people to upvote creating a curated list of the day's coolest software launches. It's pretty popular too. If you get to the top of the list you'll be the product of the day, just for 24 hours, and seen by thousands.
When I was researching best practices, I came across multiple articles that shared the story of companies that planned their launch down to the hour... months in advanced. Rezi was no different. From the carefully designed product-photos and expertly-animated explainer video to the email we sent out to past users, every detail was considered.
We shuffled to the office at 7pm KST and launched Rezi at 2am PST - just two 2 hours into the day so we could maximize our launch's exposure. We anxiously watched as nothing really happened (lol). Rezi just stagnated in the middle of the day's list of 20 or so products... pretty disappointing considering the effort. Yet the team was in the office and ready to stay up all night to support the launch.
By the end of the 24th hour, approximately 245 people signup for Rezi. Worthless.
Let's go back to around 11pm, about 4 hours into the plodding Product Hunt launch - I figured since I was going to be awake all night, it as a great time to do an improvised AMA on Reddit - an AMA (Ask Me Anything) a conversation where you list what is unique about yourself and people get to ask questions about you. It's a hugely popular community with over 20 million subscribers. From A-list celebrities to Barack Obama, this subreddit pulls some big names and often blows up to huge threads & tens-of-thousands of upvotes considering it is conversation-based unlike other picture-based subreddits.
Typically, I try to do one small AMA for the Korea subreddit once a year to talk about being a leading startup in Korea... But since it was launch night, I decided to talk about something else - the founding story of Rezi and how it led to the creation of our new software:
"When I graduated college, I had interviews at Google, Dropbox, Goldman Sachs, and others because of my resume, despite a 2.2 GPA. Now we've build a software to make the same resume for free. AMA!"
What happens next is every marketer's wet dream - the conversation went nuclear.
Here are the consequences of going viral on Reddit:
• 30,756 upvotes and 3,128 comments
• Reddit flooded Rezi with a torrential flow of about 500 users at any given time
• 47,611 visitors landed on the Rezi website
• 7,239 created a Rezi account. 3,844 created an anonymous guest Rezi account
By the end of the day, 30,756 upvotes and 3,128 comments later, My ad-libbed AMA was at the top of the 20,000,000 subscriber Subreddit for about 8 hours (take that Product Hunt!).
Unfortunately, I don't know how many people read the AMA but I do know how many people visited Rezi as well as the number of people who signed up for a Rezi account.
For approximately 12 hours straight, Reddit flooded Rezi with a torrential flow of about 500 users at any given time.
By the end of the day, 47,611 visitors landed on the Rezi website. An absurd amount compared to the usual 90 - 250 daily visitors when we aren't actively marketing anything.
Of these 47,611 visitors, 7,239 created a Rezi account. 3,844 created an anonymous guest account. You can see the effects on our growth graph in the admin below.
Here are my after-thoughts categorized by what went right, what went wrong, and what I learned.
What went right:
• I posted very early on a slow morning with no interesting AMAs. The moderator of the AMA subreddit gave my post a badge which almost immediately which resulted in more attention.
• The tone-setting first question was about user privacy - The answer was well received (We don't sell user data in any capacity).
• Handled critical comments well and without provoking more negativity.
What went wrong (a lot):
• Reddit is known to be strictly anti-promotion and many users thought that this was a paid post.
• I had linked to the wrong image of the resume and as a result many people dismissed my knowledge of a resume and criticized the effectiveness of the software.
• In the early hours of the morning (3-7am) I made a ton of typos and gave such tired answers that some questioned my English speaking abilities (lol again).
• Product Hunt
What I learned:
• A result like this is not repeatable. This will absolutely never happen again and the same result would cost thousands of dollars in marketing budget. I am very grateful for the coincidences that lead to the success of the post.
• Users love Rezi.
• The vocal minority of Reddit is incredibly charged, suspicious, and accusatory of ill-intent.
Well, that's about all I have to say.
Thanks for reading.