Researchers from Stanford decided to look at Reddit and find out how they could predict successful posts. This equation is what they came up with.

Scientists analyzed the success of over 16,700 pictures posted on Reddit, and they worked on how the content, title, timing and subreddit string affected their success on the site. Each picture was submitted an average of 7.9 times, allowing the researchers to isolate the factors for each image and see how reposting affected success.

Here's how the equation is explained:
  • Alignment with subreddit content is important. In some forums, like r/gifs or r/pics, posts did better when they were somewhat similar to other posts, but different enough to stand out. Whereas in r/atheism and r/gaming, better performance was seen in posts that more closely mirrored existing content.
  • Timing is crucial. Submissions at around 8AM or 12 noon UTC are most successful, while those posted around 4AM UTC perform worst.
  • Reposts suck. Perhaps unsurprisingly, content becomes less popular each time it was it's submitted—though the greater the time delay between reposts, the less severe the penalty.
  • But good content speaks for itself. A great picture is a great picture, and will perform fairly well regardless of title, submission time or anything else.
This is interesting not only to Redditors but also marketers. Now lets hope they find out what makes a Facebook post successful. Can the same formula be adopted? [Stanford via Business Insider via Verge]