A trend is the general direction something is changing or veering toward. In terms of social media, trending is a term used to describe a topic or hashtag becoming popular, usually due to high visibility on a platform’s home page or search bar. Understanding trends is important for marketers as it can give insight into what people are interested in or talking about, helping identify topics that could be potentially interesting or useful to your audience. Trends can also help you determine what type of content to create, or even how to position a brand or business.

Trending is determined by a platform’s algorithm, using keywords and phrases that are frequently mentioned on the site to determine what is being talked about. This data is then displayed on the home page or search bar for users to see what topics are popular at any given moment. A trend can be about anything, from a movie to a political figure or event, or simply a catch-phrase or hashtag being discussed on the platform. Twitter, for example, has a ‘trending’ section that displays the most popular hashtags being used on the site in real-time, allowing you to stay up-to-date with what is happening right now.

Google’s Trends tool is another way to see what is trending. This tool shows the percentage of searches that have a particular keyword or topic over time and can be viewed by specific regions. It can be used by journalists to explore potential story ideas or by feature in news articles to illustrate the level of interest in a particular topic.

The downside of trending is that it’s not always accurate or representative of the entire population. For example, the trend for ‘Occupy Wall Street’ showed that there was a large amount of interest in this issue among Twitter users but was not reflected in the rest of the world (particularly other countries where it did not have a prominent presence). Trending is not always the most accurate or reflective of what is being talked about at any given moment and can be influenced by many factors.

YouTube’s trending video list is decided by metrics like how many views videos are getting, where those views are coming from and how old the video is. This can lead to some weird trends, as well as videos that aren’t suitable for all audiences, depending on their culture and age range.

While artificial intelligence is probably the best method for creating thorough trend reports, the issue with this is that it will likely capture a lot of irrelevant topics and fads that have no value to businesses. For this reason, it is essential to have a human analyst review the results and only include trends that show sustainable growth patterns and are relevant to your business. This is what we use here at Exploding Topics and why our tools are considered best-in-class. Check out our Trends Database today and start tracking your next big idea!