Reddit, the online discussion forum with 330 million users, upgraded its Android and iOS applications as part of a plan to become a “mobile-first” service, per The Verge. The iOS version includes features such as user-to-user chat and live comment feeds that make the service feel more like Twitter, per TechCrunch.
Reddit also added a theater viewing mode to its iOS app that lets mobile users swipe through images, videos and GIFs in portrait or landscape mode, per a blog post. Among the new mobile tools for topic moderators who oversee Reddit’s online communities are a “mod mode” that makes it easier to approve or remove content and a mod management feature to add moderators to fast-growing subtopics — or “subreddits,” in Reddit parlance.
IOS and Android users will see a cake icon by their username on their “Cake Day,” a Reddit tradition of celebrating a user’s anniversary of joining the site. The virtual trophy case that displays accomplishments like best comment, beta test participation and length of time on Reddit are also displayed in the apps. The Reddit apps are free to download from the iOS App Store and Google Play.
Reddit’s updates to its mobile apps are a way for the company to regain some control over functions that popular third-party apps provide as mobile platforms become more popular than desktop computers and the site looks to build its advertising business. Reddit’s users post more than 9 million times a month, or about 370,000 times a day, per TechCrunch. More than half (58%) of 18- to 34-year-olds prefer mobile web and apps only, while mobile engagement is higher than on desktop.
The shift to mobile comes as the company tries to build its advertising business. Reddit recently partnered with Sprinklr so brands can view current and historical data for brand sentiment analytics and make decisions faster.
The app updates also give Reddit greater control of its mobile platform for ad placements. The company last month unveiled a new ads dashboard to give advertisers more insights into audience targeting and app installation. Reddit started supporting mobile app attribution through integrations with partners such as Tune, Adjust and Kochava. The update let app developers link an ad to their app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and track performance of those campaigns.
The site will need to balance ads and tools for moderating content with maintaining its audience of “Redditors” who are given wide latitude in practicing free speech. Reddit has a rough-and-tumble reputation because of controversial “subreddits” that the company has sought to expel in making the platform safer for brands (similar to Google’s efforts to clean up YouTube). In October, subreddits such as “Nazi,” “whitesarecriminals” others dedicated to bestiality were banned as Reddit implemented restrictions on hate speech and incitements to violence.