Top TikTok Trends and Why They're Successful

Elise Ngobi
February 4, 2020
Lasted Updated On
January 21, 2022

TikTok was the most-downloaded app in 2020, surpassing 3 billion downloads. Once assumed to be a social media platform that’s just for kids, the TikTok user-base is diversifying fast with brands, influencers, YouTubers, parents, and even grandparents joining the fun.

Trending content on TikTok is always changing, and brands wanting to make an impact on the social channel will want to make time to discover what’s trending on the “For You” page. Knowing what’s trending is key to creating videos that are engaging to audiences, and will inspire them to click on your link in bio.

We’ve been watching (sometimes a little too much) and keeping a pulse on the biggest trends audiences are jumping on. The following TikTok guide will help you to identify new TikTok trends so your brand can join the fun.

How to Identify New TikTok Trends

It’s impossible to scroll down your “For You” page without coming across a new hashtag like #picnictime or #booktok. The topics change frequently, and typical clips show people in scenarios that are hilariously exaggerated, surprisingly informative, and hyper-relatable.

The types of content that are taking over your “For You” page typically come from three very important categories:

  • Trending songs.
  • Trending sounds.
  • Trending videos.

There are a few running themes on what makes content from these categories become TikTok trends. The top theme is humor. Funny videos get more shares, and people watch them more than once, two factors that are important to the TikTok feed-ranking algorithm.

Videos that have an element of surprise or something unexpected also have a higher chance of going viral, again feeding into shareability and reach.

Relatability also plays a part in what will and won’t become a trend. Short videos climb the virality charts the fastest. Ideas that land quickly, and a broad swath of the population can instantly identify with, are the ideas that make it onto the “For You” page.

The most refreshing part about TikTok is the lo-fi style of videos. Post-production is done in the app using easy to find native tools, and the editing is focused on TikTok transitions, video effects, and sounds, more than it is on filters.

TikTok’s unique audience separates it from other social channels. The majority of TikTokkers are young, so they are generous with reactions—likes, shares and comments. Videos easily take off, reaching hundreds of thousands of views, much faster than other channels.

Screenshot of TikTok Hashtag Trend
Image credit: @willsmith

Trending TikTok Songs

TikTok is different from other social platforms in that it is built for music. It’s easy to add tracks to your videos in the app. They’re segmented out by viral tracks and a pretty broad list of genres and moods that you can use for dance challenges or lip syncing.

The viral section will take you to a chart of top-performing songs which are being featured in the most videos. Remixes are popular on TikTok, with multiple versions of each track making the rounds in fun, easy-to-film dance challenges that go viral fast.

While it’s hard to predict what songs will resonate with TikTokkers, finding trending songs from the past may give you an idea of what could potentially go viral. Past trending songs include:

  • “Say So,” by Doja Cat.
  • “Oh No,” by Kreepa.
  • “Aesthetic,” by Xilo.
  • “Buss It,” by Erica Banks.
  • “Laxed (Siren Beat),” by Jawsh 685.
Screenshot of TikTok Dance Trend
Image credit: @addisonre

TikTok Trending Sounds

It is not just songs that are able to trend on TikTok. Any original sound can be uploaded to the social channel, and if it’s funny, entertaining, or flexible enough to be used by millions of users, it may go viral.

Past trending sounds include funny quotes from TV shows, sound bites from commercials, soundtracks of nostalgic properties like children’s TV shows, and anything involving ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) sounds.

Screenshot of TikTok ASMR Trend
Image credit: @sand.tagious

TikTok Trending Videos

Videos themselves also go viral, and can be shared by users in a similar way to songs and sounds. TikTokkers are able to stitch viral videos to their own. They are using this feature to react to content, as well as continue the story of the original video with their own funny or insightful additions. Brands are also using the opportunities stitching, reactions, and duets offer to inspire fun user generated content.

There’s no telling what sort of video will go viral next, but there are a few telltale signs. For example, videos featuring kids and their parents work well. They are funny, unexpected, and videos with more than one person are more engaging. Young people love the awkwardness of it all, and they are eager to share short videos with one another.

Screenshot of TikTok Parents Trend
Image credit: @tillyramsay

TikTokkers take trends and put their own spin on them, while the linked music and hashtags are the common thread pulling the remixes together. Overall, what works in your TikTok marketing strategy are concepts that people can easily recreate which have an element of fun, surprise, and a track that is both catchy and of the moment.

For further reading on TikTok trends and how your brand can make a splash on the social channel, read our guide on how to go viral on TikTok.

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