What Is Trending?

Trending’ refers to the phenomenon of something being currently popular, widely debated, or acquiring considerable attention among social media users.

Trending topics, events, and ideas can vary widely, including hashtags, new stories, keywords, memes, events, viral videos, and other content, and are highly shared, discussed, or engaged with on social media platforms.

More About Trending

The term ‘trending’ is most often used in the context of social media platforms and online discussions.

Trending topics often mirror a social media community’s interests, discussions, and collective attention at a given time. Trending topics and events can originate from a range of sources, including current news, cultural and other events, viral content, holidays, popular culture, or even online campaigns and challenges.

They can be localized to a specific community, location, or context or have an impact on a global scale, depending on the platform’s reach and influence.

The trendiness of a topic can evolve rapidly as new events or discussions emerge on social media. Various factors, such as the quantum of mentions or shares, engagement levels, and velocity of discussion around the topic, can influence the popularity of trending topics on social media platforms.

At any point in time, you can access the various topics and events trending on social media platforms and forums such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Trends, and Reddit. These social media platforms highlight trending topics in multiple ways. For instance,

  • On Facebook, trending topics are typically displayed in the ‘Trending’ section on the homepage or in the sidebar. These are identified by the algorithm and are tailored to a user’s location and personal interests.
  • Instagram helps users remain updated on trending topics through the search bar and the Explore page. The personalized feed of posts and videos is aligned with an individual user’s interests and the accounts they follow.
  • On Twitter, trends are displayed in the ‘Trending’ section, usually located on the left-hand side of the Twitter homepage or within the Explore tab. Here too, personalization and location factors are options to customize trends.

Social media marketers, brands, and social bloggers can amplify their social presence and rank for search engine results by leveraging a trending topic in their content and attracting audiences to their profiles.

However, it’s essential to approach trending topics with sensitivity and in line with the brand voice and principles and target demographics to ensure that the content resonates with the audience and doesn’t come across as inauthentic, contrived, or overdone. Brands and marketers typically rely on social media experts and skilled SEO teams to identify what is trending across platforms and create content accordingly.

The image below shows the trending section on YouTube. The trends vary according to the location and the user’s language preference and viewing history.


Frequently Asked Questions

How to identify social media trends?

Below is a list of popular tools that can help track social media trends:

  • Google Trends
  • Reddit
  • Facebook for media
  • Geofeedia
  • TweetDeck
  • Tumblr
  • Cyfe
  • Top Hashtags
  • Social Mention

What is the difference between ‘viral’ and ‘trend?’

Virality and trending are two related terms used to refer to popular content on social media, but there are some differences. Trending topics or content are those that have high visibility on social media platforms and generate buzz over a period of time. On the other hand, viral stands for a piece of content that suddenly breaks onto the internet, attracting significant attention rapidly.

A particular slogan or phrase connected to a current event or campaign and made popular with hashtags is a trend. In contrast, a single post, such as a meme, shared widely across platforms by large audiences for a unique reason (content quality, relatability, humor quotient, etc.) can be termed a viral post.

What determines whether a video will rank on YouTube’s Trending section?

The YouTube Trending section showcases videos that

  • Are appealing to a broad audience.
  • Are not misleading.
  • Capture the spectrum of the latest events on YouTube and around the globe.
  • Showcase different creators.
  • Are unique.

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