At this point in the world of digital content, it’s crucial that you keep up with the current trends. Whether or not you tailor your own projects to what’s currently popular, keeping your finger on the pulse of the internet lends a great deal of insight into how well these projects will succeed. For something so critical, though, it can be difficult to keep up with the current trends on your own, with so many moving parts to consider across every platform. Thankfully, there are a few tools you can use to get a clearer look at the most popular trends to follow at any given time.

By nature of being the world’s largest search engine, Google has access to a massive amount of data on what topics people are seeking out, and they offer a detailed look into this information through Google Trends. The site lets you scroll through the most searched topics or phrases and break down the information by factors like location, timeframe, and category.

You can put this information to further use by comparing trends side by side to see how they are performing relative to each other. While the information covers what is popular across the entirety of the internet rather than specific platforms or digital content as a medium, it can still be a great resource for finding the biggest points of general interest.

YouTube actively puts the most trendy topics in front of viewers with their trending section, conveniently located on the site’s homepage and at the top of most mobile app interfaces. A simple scroll through the videos promoted here can give a good look at what type of content is successful, but there are a few other services that provide a more detailed breakdown.

VidIQ’s free basic plan provides users with a variety of resources to stay on top of trends, including alerts and the ability to track the performance of direct competitors. With multiple paid membership levels, users can access a keyword engine, research tools, SEO analytics, and more. Similarly, TubeBuddy offers a free plan with limited tools for exploring successful keywords and tags, while paid plans add on features like channel audits, search rank tracking, and other similar analytics.

The browse page on Twitch

In the same vein as YouTube’s trending section, the browse page on Twitch provides an overview of what categories and games are most popular in real-time. There isn’t much more detailed information than a count of how many viewers are currently watching these streams, but this in itself is still valuable. For more substantive information, SullyGnome is one of the most versatile resources you can find.

In addition, to live tracking of trends, the site provides insight into both the games and topics that receive the most viewers as well as those that are streamed the most. This data can help streamers tread the line between streaming what might attract the most viewers and streaming what will get lost in an oversaturated category. For a more big-picture understanding, you can specify what timeframe you want to look at, providing a more granular breakdown of how trends have performed over anywhere from the past three days to the past year.

Arguably the most trend-focused platform right now, TikTok can be difficult to get a good overview of. Detailed analytics aren’t easily accessible, so there isn’t much out there in the way of third-party software to follow trends or see what’s most successful. That said, there are still options you can use to find some of this information on the app directly. The discover tab offers a quick look into trending videos and hashtags, although you may have to spend more time actively watching these videos to get a better idea of what’s trending. Creators on TikTok often append hashtags to their videos that are entirely unrelated to the content in an effort to increase their content’s reach, so tags may be performing well on paper while there is little active interest in what it represents.

Beyond the discover tab, the audio used in TikToks can offer a more realistic representation of what’s popular, although it’s more time-consuming to research. If there is a song or sound that catches your ear in a video, you can select it at the bottom of the screen to view more popular videos that feature it. Conversely, using popular audio selections in your videos can help put you in front of more eyes. 

Go forth!

While it may take some effort to sort through the information available to you, staying on top of trends is key to keeping your content relevant and fresh. Some methods may require a bit of a financial investment, but others just require a bit of time. Harnessing the data on trending topics can help increase viewership and overall traffic. Even if you don’t make content that directly fits into what’s trending, keeping abreast of what’s happening across the platforms you create on will never be a bad idea.