YouTube has been a driving force in online video consumption since the first YouTube video, ‘Me at the Zoo,’ was released. In 2023, YouTube saw 2 billion monthly users, a 500 million increase since 2022. It’s safe to say that YouTube viewing does not show signs of slowing down, making standing out from competitors and mastering your niche even more crucial.
By staying on top of YouTube trends, marketers can stay ahead of the curve and cut through the noise from competitors and other creators to reach their audience efficiently and effectively.
This blog covers the following important topics:
YouTube trends are an evolving cycle. In 2022, 500 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute, resulting in an influx of trends across various niches. What’s trending in one community might not trend in another, which makes developing knowledge of viral trends in your niche and how the YouTube algorithm impacts past and future trends essential for YouTube marketing strategy success.
So, how do trends become viral on YouTube? There are a range of factors that lead to your content ranking on YouTube’s trending tab, therefore having a better chance of becoming viral. According to Google — who owns YouTube — these are the factors they consider to determine which content should be found under ‘Trending’:
In addition to these factors, YouTube considers these metrics to determine its Trending content:
Understanding the YouTube algorithm is crucial to using these metrics to enhance your video’s discoverability. Optimizing your YouTube video with SEO practices for both organic search and YouTube search trends can help your video gain more views and engagement, and ultimately help YouTube’s algorithm understand what your video is about. Since YouTube wants to prioritize unique content that reflects diversity, current trends or is particularly novel, communicating this to the algorithm makes all the difference in content going viral.
The introduction of YouTube Shorts has led to even more formats for trends to take place on YouTube. Since YouTube is home to short-form and long-form content, there are many trends for both lengths that brands should understand and try to incorporate into their content.
The following are examples of current YouTube trends:
Revolve does an excellent job utilizing short-form video to provide bite-sized snapshots of their current product offerings. This example shows a variety of vacation-inspired looks on a range of diverse body types — a quality YouTube looks for to push content forward in the algorithm.
YouTube’s ‘Community’ Tab helps brands connect with their audience outside of content posted to their own channel. The Honesty Company has long focused on parents as a key target market. It shows their commitment to parents by sharing a range of child-focused content for Black History Month on their ‘Community’ tab, from Sesame Street segments to Lupita Nyong’o reading children’s books.
Olivia Rodrigo developed a range of Glossier products inspired by her famous purple palette — Glossier leveraged this on their YouTube, featuring a longer ‘Get Ready With Me’ video. They also practiced omnichannel posting by sharing a shorter version of Olivia’s ‘GWRM’ on Glossier’s TikTok. This is a great example of how to maximize the use of your content and bring a trend on YouTube while still ensuring it appeals to users on unique platforms.
The Shopping Channel understands there’s a massive audience of people on YouTube — with that, they live stream a range of products and offers with a link (and even a phone number) that users can use to purchase. Moreover, they include a range of links to shop their other product lines, so users who tune in anytime can learn more about them.
Dove tapped into creators in an ultra-creative way to promote their body wash with creator @kristenktitus. They sent creators a black, blank package and asked them to review it — the catch? The brand would reveal themselves after a two-week trial of the product. Kristen Titus reviews the product and reveals its identity at the end. This is a creative way to tap into influencers and build trust with a ‘blind review.’
Since YouTube appeals to a wide range of audiences, this is reflected in their trending content. Some of the current trending videos on YouTube include:
In this trending YouTube Short, user @karissaeats has her boyfriend cook all her daily meals. Karissa produces a range of food-related content, with a common thread of eating one type of food all day. These videos range from only eating Chinese food, buffet food, spicy food and now, meals prepared by her boyfriend. This content incorporates existing online trends, like a TikTok hack for preparing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to stay on top of the current food and beverage online realm, landing it on the YouTube Trending tab.
User @gibiasmr’s video recently trended, racking over 500K views in just 24 hours. In this video, Gibi shares various popular comments from her users, which all mention that they miss ‘the old Gibi ASMR.’ To satisfy fans and viewers, Gibi created a fresh video returning to her old style, earning her high engagement and a spot on the YouTube Trending tab. This is a great example of community-led content resonating and getting promoted via YouTube for greater visibility.
User @AlexOjeda puts a twist on the ‘finish the lyric’ trend found on TikTok and Instagram Reels by bringing it to a perhaps unexpected venue — a water park. In this trend, Alex asks their guests to finish the TV theme song or take the plunge on a scarily steep waterslide. This content is an excellent example of putting a fresh, unique take on current trends — both video aspects that YouTube actively looks to push on the platform.
Understanding what’s trending on YouTube can give you a leg-up in developing your content and YouTube channel ideas — here are seven strategies to discover the freshest, trendiest content.
YouTube’s Trending page is a great place to source various trending content. It highlights a ‘Creator on the Rise’ at the top of the page, followed by multiple trending long-form videos and YouTube Shorts. This is a great place to look for YouTube video ideas and see what’s resonating with a wider audience.
Hashtags are another great way to find inspirational content, especially for niche industries — and to sort through the noise on YouTube in general. Let’s look at the ‘#gwrm’ hashtag for example. Many brands can incorporate their products in ‘Get Ready With Me Content’ — whether this is a beauty or hygiene product, food, retail product or clothing item. By searching for this tag on YouTube, brands can quickly glean how many videos each hashtag has (great to ensure the hashtag is not oversaturated) and whether Shorts or long-form content make up most of the trending content.
While we don’t recommend mimicking your competitors, it’s essential to know what trends they’re utilizing, which features earn the most views, high engagement and more. This is helpful to inspire your own content, find opportunities to update your videos and prevent your brand from becoming stale and out-of-touch.
Listening to your community — better yet, engaging with them — is a great way to learn more about your target demographic. This involvement goes beyond examining your own content. For instance, when a competitor releases a video that creates a splash or even sparks controversy, it's a valuable opportunity to gain insights. Visit their comment section and see what people are saying about it. This process can help you develop a more strategic approach, avoid similar pitfalls and gain a qualitative understanding of what resonates with your audience.
Utilizing Community Management tools is a smart move for brands. These tools streamline the process of discovering, sifting through, and responding to comments, making it a smooth and efficient operation.
Tapping into niche communities — and finding out where your brand fits among them — can be another great way to surface trends. For example, trends and popular content particular to vegan food might differ from food content highlighting all types of cuisine. For example, this creator highlights a fried vegan fish alternative that might appeal to their audience. Vegan brands can get inspired to partner with creators to taste test products or even run their own series highlighting their vegan alternatives.
Simply using the search function available on YouTube is a great way to find trends and see what creators publish. Another savvy way to use this function is to see what auto-fills when you type keywords related to your brand, competitors or industry. This can help inspire you and explore potential keywords to use in your description, titles and hashtags — this is a great way to work with YouTube’s algorithm and conduct some manual YouTube social listening.
Outside of YouTube, Google Trends is a great tool to gauge trending searches on YouTube and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s popular in particular countries and regions. This is great for hyper-focusing your content on specific geographic areas, timelines, search types (image, news, Google Shopping or YouTube) or navigating to the general ‘Trending’ tab to see what’s gaining traction in 50 different countries.
While manual research has a time and place, there are many tools at your disposal that make optimizing your content for YouTube SEO easier. TubeBuddy and TubeRanker can incorporate keywords, hashtags and optimization tips into your video based on its content. While both include further features with a paid subscription, TubeBuddy offers keyword, hashtag insights and copy suggestions with a free version, which is a great way to see if a tool like this is right for your team. SEMRush is another popular search engine optimization tool that offers YouTube-specific features, including keyword suggestions, competitor analysis, YouTube analytics and more for brands to use in their video publishing and measurement strategies.
Now that you know how to discover trends to optimize your YouTube content, how can you implement them in YouTube Creator Studio? Here are four ways to incorporate trends into your YouTube content strategy.
Use keyword research to add trending, relevant keywords to your video titles and descriptions. This indicates what your content is about to the algorithm and encourages users to find your content by capitalizing on trending terms with high volume. What’s more, writing creative descriptions that clearly point to which trends your video includes — and featuring these on your thumbnail image — is a great way to encourage viewership since your audience knows what to expect at a glance.
Creators should use trending keywords in their titles, thumbnails and video descriptions to encourage visibility and engagement. To fully optimize your content with specific terms, use trending hashtags that reflect your video content to boost your chances of being found or, better, ending up on YouTube’s ‘trending’ tab.
While incorporating trending topics on YouTube into your content is a great idea, this doesn’t mean you should neglect Evergreen content. Evergreen content should speak to what your brand does best — whether providing education based on critical pages from your website or developing unique features that you’ll update regularly.
For example, look at Architectural Digest’s popular ‘Open Door’ series, which tours celebrity homes. They created their own trending, long-form content that often sees over 1 million views from a single video. Segments from this content are also often repurposed on TikTok and Instagram Reels, proving that trending content can go the extra mile.
YouTube Shorts is a great way to start incorporating content from trending YouTube videos without dedicating a lot of production and editing time to glossy, long-form video content. Once you’ve identified which trends you’d like to include, make a plan with your team to publish and produce this content. From there, keep an eye on your comment section and engagement metrics to gauge how popular this was with your audience.
Dash Hudson’s YouTube Insights is a powerful tool to schedule videos and monitor their performance — the tool lets you segment your content by topic, campaign or Short to hone in on specific metrics. You can also view metrics for your overall channel to determine the ROI from influencers and your general YouTube strategy, and see your top-performing videos overall. Brands can use these insights to improve their overall video performance, including watch time and engagement.
To stay on top of YouTube trends, brands should monitor competitors and trending content on YouTube, conduct keyword research with relevant tools like TubeBuddy, SEMRush and even Google Trends, and familiarize your team with SEO principles to ensure you make the most of your video content. In addition to these, brands can:
It’s important to avoid becoming complacent regarding YouTube trends and incorporating them into your content. One of the biggest challenges of keeping current with YouTube trends is not being complacent — competitive analysis, reading through trends and perusing YouTube should be a regular part of your YouTube strategy to ensure you never miss a chance to hop on a trend that will resonate perfectly with your audience.
In October 2023, the top three YouTube trending searches were:
In the United States, the top YouTube search query of 2023 was simply ‘the,’ and the most searched topic in 2023 was ‘Peso Pluma - Mexican musician and singer.’
The most viewed YouTube video types are: