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 TikTok videos are always changing, and brands wanting to make an impact on the social channel will want to make time to discover what’s trending on TikTok. 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 the newest TikTok trends so your brand can join the fun.
In short, a TikTok trend is a collection of viral, usually short videos featuring popular sounds, hashtags, dances or challenges. While some videos are an exact duplication of the original, TikTok gives users a lot of freedom to be more abstract or personal in how they want to participate in the trend.
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:
There are a few running themes on what makes content from these categories become top 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.
One of the most refreshing parts 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 transitions, video effects, and sounds, more than it is on filters. Another interesting element of TikTok trending sounds and videos is how content can go viral weeks and even months after being posted. Using TikTok Insights can give context as to why that happens, and how to replicate it in future posts.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The beauty of TikTok comes from the fact that there isn’t a single most popular trend at any moment. What’s is most popular or viral is literally changing every single day. That being said, there are a couple of trends that have become mainstays on the app. Since many people are working from home, WFH and Zoom mishap skits are extremely popular, alongside “videos living in your head rent-free”, “tell me without telling me” and so many more. The most popular trends are usually short, to the point and entertaining or shocking in some way or another.
Since TikTok started out as Musical.ly, a music and dance app, it’s not surprising that most of the first viral trends on TikTok were in fact dance videos. One of the earliest TikTok trends was a dance called “The Renegade” to a song by K-Camp called “Lottery”.
This type of trend became so popular and has stayed trending because users don’t need to be a professional to partake in these easy to learn and fun dances.
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to know whether something will trend or go viral on TikTok. A great place to start is using sounds or topics from pop culture. Many of the most viral trends have snippets from popular shows like Euphoria or Succession. If you’re not sure what sounds use, we recommend trying as many as you want. The great thing about TikTok is that there isn’t the need to curate your feed the way there is on a platform like Instagram.
Much like starting a trend on TikTok, it’s hard to predict how long a trend will last. While some trends can last weeks or even months, some are also only relevant for a couple of days. Many say the best way to know a TikTok trend has “expired” is once you begin to see it popping up on other social media channels like Twitter or Instagram.
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