December 4, 2020 Last updated on March 30th, 2021
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Ever wondered why and how trends are born on TikTok?

The social media app is synonymous with viral hashtags, challenges, dances, and memes. At every point in time, there is always a new trend making waves on the platform. Sometimes, it might be hard to keep track of the latest trends on TikTok. (Check out the top four trends on TikTok)

For brands, creating a viral trend is the fastest way to bring awareness to their business. A single viral campaign can translate into millions of views and thousands of new followers. Trends help brands increase their relevance on TikTok. If you haven’t started marketing your business on TikTok, you should start now.

The question now is – how do trends happen on TikTok?

In this article, we will see how trends are born on TikTok. We will look at the factors that contribute to the creation of new trends on the platform.

Let’s get started.


Here’s how trends are born on TikTok, in a few bullet points!

Pop culture and current events

Pop culture and current events happening in the world play a role in determining how trends are born on TikTok.

Since modern popular culture is aimed predominantly at the youth, it thrives well on TikTok because of its young audience. TikTok creators are quick to respond to trending pop culture events especially when it is relevant to their brand.

The main reason for this is that pop culture builds interaction between people who like the same kind of things. So if a creator creates a video based on a pop culture event, people who are into that popular culture are likely to interact with it. And since more than one TikToker is creating videos for that pop culture theme, it quickly becomes a trend.

A good example of a pop culture event that regularly trends on TikTok is Comic-con. Whenever there is a new Comic-con event, TikTokers create videos about their best shows or dressed up in their favorite outfits.

@loony_lucy_97Throwback to comic con!! ##deadpool ##comicconlondon ##comiccon2018 ##xforce


♬ X Goin’ Give It To Ya (Re-Recorded) – DMX

The hashtag #comiccon has over 377.6 million views.

Screenshot 20201123 100655

TikTokers also explore the current events happening around the world. For example, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, several trends cropped up relating to handwashing and life during the quarantine. These kinds of trends are born on TikTok to spread awareness on an important topic.

Challenges are big on TikTok

TikTokers enjoy a good challenge. Challenges are one of the biggest trends on TikTok.

Challenges trend easily because they are easy to replicate by TikTokers. A TikTok challenge can take any form. It can vary from dance choreographies, lip-syncing to a popular song, or acting out a particular scene in a movie or comedy skit.

Challenges trend because they are very engaging. TikTokers will want to participate in a challenge when they see their friends doing it. When a challenge is fun, a ton of TikTokers will participate in it. And in a short while, the challenge will become a viral trend.

Tip: The key to creating a trending challenge is that it must be easy to replicate and appealing enough that TikTokers will want to participate.

Brands on TikTok can use challenges to create massive user-generated content, build brand awareness, grow their TikTok following, and create a loyal community of fans.

Learn more on how to use TikTok as a brand.

A good example of a branded challenge that went viral is Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile challenge. As part of their mother’s day celebration, they created a challenge where TikTokers try to make their mothers smile. The challenge has over 5.3 billion views on TikTok.

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Influencers “influence” new trends

TikTok influencers are people who have built a reputation for themselves on TikTok. They have a large following of fans and followers who trust their content. Based on this trust, influencers can easily create new trends on the platform.

Their huge number of followers also helps. When an influencer uploads a new video, it usually receives a lot of engagement. TikTok’s algorithm favors videos that have a high number of engagements. This is the reason why videos from influencers are more likely to appear on the “For You” page. Videos that get to the “For You” page are viewed by thousands of TikTokers. So if a TikToker wants to influence a new trend, it is quite easy because of their huge following.

With their huge influence, influencers can help brands create trends to help them connect with their audience.

For example, in 2019, Mucinex created a Halloween themed campaign to promote their medicine for flu season. For this campaign, they partnered with four influencers.

@jaydencroesDon’t let a cold limit your fun this holiday! I am ##TooSickToBeSick 😎🔥 ##Mucinex ##Sponsored


♬ #TooSickToBeSick – Join The Challenge

The influencers shared videos where they woke up sick and dressed up as zombies. To cure the sickness, they took Mucinex. In the next scene, they were cured, all dressed up and ready to have fun. They used the hashtag #TooSickToBeSick to launch the campaign.

The original videos from the influencers urged other TikTokers to create their own transformation videos. The trend went viral and has been viewed 1.0 billion times on TikTok.

What’s trending on music charts?

Using popular songs is one of the easiest ways to create a new trend in TikTok. Songs trend easily on TikTok because most videos created on the platform are accompanied by music.

When TikTokers create new videos, it is usually based on the verse from a song or a catchy hook.

Not all songs will trend on TikTok. Because a song is popular on the music chart doesn’t mean that it will thrive on TikTok. The song has to be TikTok friendly. Songs that do well on TikTok usually have catchy hooks or lyrics that can be acted into a scene. Songs that are easy to dance or lip sync to also go viral on TikTok.

When the algorithm notices that people are using particular music in their videos, they will feed the song to more viewers. This will inspire more TikTokers to create videos using that sound. The chain-reaction will make the sound go viral and turn into a trend.

For example, Savage Love by Jason Derulo is one of the most popular trending songs on the platform. The hook of the song is very catchy. Tons of TikTokers have created dance videos while listening to the hook. Over 6.2 million videos have been created using the sound. The hashtag accompanying the sound has 1.7 billion views.

Tip: TikTok content is usually 15-seconds long, so the part of the song you are using in the video clip should fit with TikTok’s theme. Upload the most catchy lyrics or melodies in the song. It will increase the chances of the sound trending on TikTok.

Brand advertising

Brands can also create TikTok trends and challenges to build brand awareness and promote their products and services.

One of the easiest ways brands can create trends is by working with influencers. Another effective way brands can create trends is by using TikTok ads. TikTok ads are the fastest ways to get a ton of viewers in just 24 hours. By partnering with TikTok, brands can easily push a trend that will promote them.

TikTok offers a ton of ad options that brands can choose from. Some of the options include:

  • In-Feed Ads: These ads appear as the user scrolls through the For You section on TikTok’s homepage. The video ads can be 9-15 seconds long.
  • Branded takeover ads: These TikTok ads appear immediately a user opens the app. The ad would appear as a full-screen video on the user’s device.
  • TopView ads: These ads are similar to Takeover ads. The key difference is that they appear 5 seconds after the user opens the app. It is also the longest ad format. Videos can last up to 60 seconds.
  • Hashtag challenge: These kinds of ads appear on the Discovery page. The ad encourages users to participate in a challenge. This ad format is the most suitable for pushing branded trends on TikTok.

This is an example of a hashtag challenge.

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When you click on the ad, you will be redirected to the rules page. Here you will see the rules of the campaign.

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The #GreenScreePro hashtag challenge is in its 3rd week and has over 16.5 million views.

Brands can take a similar approach to help them create TikTok trends. Brands can create a competition based hashtag campaign.

For example, a makeup brand can create a challenge where TikTokers will share creative videos while wearing their makeup kit. The TikTokers whose videos have the highest interaction will receive a gift at the end of the campaign period. If the gift is appealing, thousands of users will happily participate in the challenge.

If your brand is looking to trend on TikTok, you should check out the ad options offered. Check out this in-depth guide to TikTok ads.

Video concept – The most popular categories on TikTok

A video is more likely to trend when it belongs to a category that is popular with TikTokers.

As of June 2020, the popular content categories on TikTok have garnered over 1 billion hashtag views. The most popular content category on TikTok is entertainment. Videos related to entertainment have accumulated 443.3 billion views.

Here is a list of the top 10 categories on TikTok by hashtag views.

  • Entertainment – 443.3 million
  • Dance – 150.3 million
  • Pranks – 54 million
  • Fitness/sports – 43.3 million
  • Home reno/DIY – 28.6 million
  • Beauty/skincare – 21.8 million
  • Fashion – 17.5 million
  • Recipes/cooking – 12.9 million
  • Life hacks/advice etc. – 8.3 million
  • Pets – 7.5 million
  • Outdoors -1.2 million

Source – Statista

So when thinking of creating a new trend or challenge, choose a popular category that fits your brand goals. The key is to create a catchy idea. The more appealing your trend idea, the more people will participate in it. And that’s how trends are born on TikTok!

Types of TikTok Trends

Trends on TikTok can take different content formats. But they are 4 sure types of content formats that are more likely to trend.


Dance routines are very popular on TikTok. This trend involves TikTokers sharing videos where they are dancing a specific type of choreography with their unique take.

@kaelaalysha@theestallion ##savagechallenge 🔥 @samraynerx ##fyp


♬ Savage – Megan Thee Stallion

One of the most popular dance trends is the dance choreography for the  #SavageChallenge. TikTokers shared videos of them dancing to Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song “Savage”. The #SavageChallenge hashtag has over 1.2 billion views.


Challenges trend easily on TikTok. When there is an interesting content idea, TikTokers create videos to show how best they can uniquely translate that idea in their videos.

A popular TikTok challenge is Guess’s #InMyDenim challenge. In this challenge, TikTokers showed how well they can style Guess new denim clothing line.

@operamericanoGuess who’s feeling confident 😘 @guess ##inmydenim ##sponsored ##makeeverysecondcount ##fashion ##model


♬ #inmydenim I’m a Mess – Bebe Rexha


Almost every TikTok video is accompanied by a song. A lot of songs have gone viral on TikTok. Some artists even got their big break from TikTok. A good example is Lil Nas X. His song ” Old Town Road” got viral on the app and became the biggest song of 2019. Thanks to TikTok, Old Town Road holds the title of the longest-running song in the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 list.

@ladbibleMonkey rodeo 🤠🤠 ##monkey ##rodeo ##viral


♬ Old Town Road – Lil Nas X/Billy Ray Cyrus


These are trends that involve a specific TikTok filter or effect. One of the trending effects on TikTok right now is the green screen effect. This effect allows users to change the background of their video. Many TikTokers are very creative with trends.

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If you are serious about trending on TikTok, you should start with any of these content formats.


With over 800 million users and counting, TikTok is the hottest social media platform around. Businesses who are serious about their growth should leverage the platform. One way to do this by creating and jumping on new trends.

In this article, we have seen how trends are born on TikTok. With this breakdown, you should be able to add TikTok to your marketing strategy. The key is to create content that is fun, appealing, and easy to participate in.




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