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The Biggest TikTok Trends and Why They're Successful

Elise Ngobi
February 4, 2020
Lasted Updated On

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

We’ve been watching (sometimes a little too much) and keeping a pulse on the biggest TikTok trends audiences are jumping on. These are the types of content that are taking over your “For You” page.

Dance Challenges

TikTok is built for music. It’s so easy to add tracks to your videos in the app—they’re segmented out by dance crazes, “LOL Sounds”, viral tracks, and a pretty broad list of genres and moods. The viral section will take you to a chart of top performing songs which are being featured in the most videos. With that said, TikTok is the land of remixes, with multiple versions of each track making the rounds in fun, easy-to-film dance challenges that go viral fast.

Screenshot of TikTok Dance Trend
Image credit: @addisonre

Parents

Videos featuring kids and their parents work. Why is this you ask? It could be a whole flurry of reasons. It’s funny, it’s unexpected, kids love the awkwardness of it all, and videos with more than one person are more engaging. Either way, videos with parents or even grandparents featured are prominent TikTok trends.

Screenshot of TikTok Parents Trend
Image credit: @tillyramsay

ASMR

ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is that tingling feeling down your spine when you hear a certain sound. Some people find it super relaxing and it’s been a YouTube trend for years. It used to be confined to a slither of the internet with a relatively small but dedicated fanbase, but now ASMR is hitting the mainstream, and it’s one of the most chill TikTok trends out there.

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

Discover Trendy Hashtags

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 the clips can be hilariously exaggerated, surprisingly informative, and hyper-relatable.

Screenshot of TikTok Hashtag Trend
Image credit: @willsmith

Why Are They Successful?

There are a few running themes on what makes videos become TikTok trends. The top theme we’re seeing is humour. Funny videos get more shares, and people watch them more than once, two factors which 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. Videos with zero props that anyone can create at home using TikTok native post-production climb the virality charts the fastest. Content that people just get is working, 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.

Something we find quite refreshing about TikTok’s vibe is the lo-fi style of videos. Post-production is done in the app using native tools, and the editing is focused on transitions, video effects, and sound, more than it is on filters that make you look more tanned or change your face or body.

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

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 as TikTok trends 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.

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