The Biggest Trends on TikTok and How to Find Them
To understand TikTok means understanding the ebb and flow of trends on the app, whether it’s a short lived moment or an enduring shift.
TikTok is absolutely teeming with trends. Some are a flash-in-the-pan moment, like people jazzing up their hydration on watertok, or editing their lives like a Wes Anderson film.
Other TikTok trends are more long term, like the rise of deinfluencing or the use of SEO in your TikTok bios and videos. These speak to the larger forces shaping how users interact on the app.
In either case, TikTok trends are the driving force of culture on this social media platform. They influence how users participate on TikTok and what moments will bubble over into media coverage and larger conversations. Gen Z audiences are particularly in tune with these trends, and taking part in them shows that you understand their language.
TikTok itself describes trends as having three components:
- Moments: Those fleeting prompts that take off on the app. Sometimes it seems like a totally random idea, or sometimes it’s a planned campaign from a brand. But something about it captures users’ attention.
- Signals: Broader interest is captured as users on TikTok catch on to the moment and have their expectations shaped.
- Forces: An enduring shift on TikTok that impacts users’ values, interests and needs. An overall cultural change. Moments are fun, but forces are forever.
To understand TikTok means understanding the ebb and flow of trends on the app, whether it’s a short lived moment or an enduring shift.
Acting on these trends and participating means showing to your audience that you’re an authentic user on the app and that you understand TikTok’s culture. Keeping on-trend will also boost your engagement.
In this article, we’ll review some ongoing long term trends on TikTok, dig into why you need to keep on top of those trends, and look at a case study.
5 Big TikTok Trends for 2023
These are some larger trends to follow that have changed how users interact on TikTok.
Deinfluencing is an enduring trend where influencers are moving away from the traditional promotion model. Instead of being sponsored to promote expensive products they’ve perhaps never even used, influencers are starting to get more real.
For example, a deinfluencing TikTok may have a creator sharing practical, low-budget beauty products from the drug store, as opposed to pricey Sephora finds. Or, it may be a creator explicitly not recommending a product.
The #deinfluencing hashtag on TikTok has more than 515 million views, but it’s been a trend that’s been brewing since before the hashtag emerged.
Katie Mellor is the Senior Vice President of Client Service at Izea, an influencing marketing agency, and a TikTok expert. She says that even within the marketing world, brands have adopted a new approach to influencer partnerships that is more in line with the deinfluencing trend.
“Gone are the days of lengthy briefs that you're turning over to influencers, where it's all these key points and all these requirements,” she says. “People can spot that within a minute.”
Rather, influencers and brands are after the number one currency on TikTok: authenticity.
“When we force creators to alter their own conceptual creativity, to meet something else, it's instantly going to affect that,” says Jaime Krzos, an influencer marketing strategist at Izea. She says this push to authenticity has been around for a long time, “It's just it has a hashtag now and it has a name.”
Of course the irony is that deinfluencing is still, inherently, influencing. The difference is that creators involved in this trend are sharing products they really like, as opposed to products they’ve been paid to like.
Deinfluencing TikTok Example
In this TikTok, creator Alyssa Stephanie hops on the deinfluencing trend to talk about low-cost product alternatives for items that have been trendy on the platform.
For example, she suggests getting $30 heated curlers from Amazon instead of a Dyson Airwrap, which costs hundreds of dollars.
@alyssastephanie I love deinfluencing ❤️ #deinfluencing #deinfluencergang #cultproduct ♬ original sound - Alyssa ✨
2. Longer, More Informative Content
While TikTok is certainly known for memes and entertainment, there’s a trend of more informative content being shared on the app. In this trend, users are treating the platform as they would Twitter—a place to discuss current events and what’s happening in the news.
This is also a way users are using longer video formats. While most TikToks remain under 3015 seconds, it’s now possible to post TikToks of up to 10 minutes long. Creators are taking advantage of that option to post more educational content.
“I think there’s going to be a shift in the Tiktok audience where it becomes a platform of information, not just a platform of entertainment,” says Katie. “And I think that the gap is being filled by that long form, because it allows for more information to be communicated.”
She added that although YouTube has remained the second-highest platform for search behind Google, TikTok is catching up. People are now looking to find informative content on TikTok and expect to see that in their search results.
These longer videos can be made off the app in a TikTok video editor like Kapwing.
Try these trending TikTok tools:
- TikTok Video Ad Maker
- Repurpose YouTube to TikTok
- Repurpose Instagram to TikTok
- Repurpose Twitch to TikTok
- TikTok Safe Zones Template
Informative TikTok Example
A great example of this is from the TikTok hearings in the US congress. This was of high interest to TikTok users and many people shared clips of the hearings, sometimes with commentary.
This TikTok is 1:22 long and shows a particularly cringey clip from the hearing. It has 3.2 million views and more than 38,000 comments.
@gbp97 I get second hand embarrasment watching these corpses try to make points 🤦🏼♂️ #tiktokhearing #tiktokban #fyp #ustiktokban ♬ original sound - Gbp97
3. TikTok SEO
As Katie mentioned, another trend is the app being used for search. Given that, it makes sense to employ search engine optimization techniques on TikTok.
Instead of searching for a particular word or hashtag on TikTok, the search function is sophisticated enough to understand natural language searches, such as “what are the best blushes?” or “best workouts for leg muscles.”
The search algorithm is able to scan every aspect of a TikTok and deliver precise results. TikTok creators are increasingly considering how search informs their content, captions, description, and hashtags. Over time, descriptions have evolved from a series of hashtags to longer, more descriptive phrasing.
To hop on this trend, make sure you’re both saying key words (either with your voice or with text overlay) as well as writing thoughtful and thorough captions and appropriate hashtags.
TikTok SEO Example
Check out this TikTok from Amalie Star. It’s one of the first search results for “summer outfit inspo” using TikTok’s own search tool.
@amaliebladt Summer outfit inspiration for you🌟🎀🦞🥥 #summeroutfits #coachella #fashion ♬ Shelly duVALLLLLL xxXxxXxxXx - Lauv
There’s a few key things Amalie did that made this appear high in the search results. First, she added a text overlay that says “outfits I wanna wear this summer.” Then, the caption reads “Summer outfit inspiration for you” with the hashtag #summeroutfits.
Having keywords in all three places combined made it easy for TikTok’s search to find and show this video.
4. User Generated Content vs. Ads
Another trend, specifically for ads on TikTok, is to create videos that look more like user generated content than traditional ads.
While you will still sometimes see slick, TV-quality ads on TikTok from major brands, savvy companies know that the best ads fit in seamlessly with other videos on the app. That means lower quality, using captions and voice overs, and aiming for that almighty authenticity.
This fits into the trend of deinfluencing in that people want to see content from creators, not from brands.
UGC-Style Ad Example
Check out this screenshot of an ad from swim brand Silku.
It looks nothing like an ad you’d see on TV. It’s just a few shots of a bikini and a pool, with a text overlay.
If you didn’t see the “sponsored” tag, you’d think it was any other video made by a TikTok creator. It’s simple, it’s relatively low-effort, and it works.
5. Lower Production Value
Another long standing trend is only sharing videos with relatively low video quality. It’s similar to the ad trend above, but applies to all users.
Again, this is all about authenticity. Videos with high production values, great lighting, and cinematic touches are great for YouTube, but don’t make sense on TikTok. TikTok was built around short video shot on a phone, and everything else just sticks out in a bad way. On TikTok, you want to try, but not try too hard.
That’s not to say creators on the app aren’t using ring lights or other additional equipment. You still want your videos to have clear sound and decent lighting, which any current phone can provide. You just don’t want it to look like a studio and production team made the TikTok (even if they did).
The proof is in the pudding, too. Most of the most viral TikToks on the platform have been made just using a funny moment and an iPhone.
Here’s a look at some videos TikTok identified as trending—all of them are simple videos shot with a phone.
Lower Production Value Example
As an example, take this adorable song that went viral on TikTok in April 2023, sparking a huge trend.
It’s simply a couple on their couch singing an adorable tune. It uses natural light and was clearly shot on a mobile device. It’s just one take and while clearly planned, feels spontaneous and joyful.
I was having a very emotional day, feeling insecure and out of place. So I cried to Olivia and after feeling through it, we wrote this song in 10 minutes to remember the joy in being different 🐸 happy Tuesday♬ original sound - corook
Why You Should Act on TikTok Trends
Participating in current TikTok trends is one of the funnest things you can do on the app, but it’s also important for your marketing strategy as a brand, or your personal strategy as a TikTok creator. It’s also a great way to kick off a new account and gain those precious first followers.
As TikTok users engage in a trend, the TikTok algorithm will continue to show them videos of that trend, whether it’s a challenge, a viral sound, life hacks, or any kind of creative idea that goes viral. If you choose to participate in a trend, the algorithm will pick out your content to show to users invested in that trend.
Therefore, participating in TikTok trends is a smart way to get your TikTok videos in front of more users, including ones who may have never interacted with your account before.
“If done correctly, if you're able to connect with an audio or a trend, you can get a lot of eyes,” says Katie. “We've done content where we've either started challenges, or we've adapted a challenge or done a duet, and those do get eyes.”
A single viral video on your account can draw in millions of views, as well as likes, comments, and new followers. The magic of the TikTok algorithm makes it difficult to predict exactly when one of your own videos will blow up, but incorporating trending elements is your best shot at virality.
The DuoLingo TikTok account is an excellent example of a brand that has built its presence on trends. The strategists behind the account are highly-skilled at finding fresh trends and jumping on them right away. They’re not afraid to give something a try—sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but the cumulative effect has earned them 6.5 million followers.
Here, they participate in the “things I ate but managed to survive” carousel post trend—a flash-in-the-pan trend from April 2023.
What’s also important to note is that DuoLingo jumps on trends that make sense for their brand voice on TikTok, which is a bit chaotic and very humorous. Katie notes that forcing your way into a trend, or being late, hurts the authenticity of your TikTok presence.
How to Spot TikTok Trends
Spotting TikTok trends before they go massively viral is an art unto itself, but there are some tools and tricks you can use to stay on top of current trends.
1. Watch your For You page
The most important thing you can do to see current TikTok trends is to be part of the platform. Engage in your For You page as often as possible and take the time to watch for trends that arise.
This is especially important because TikTok is home to many niche communities that have their own latest TikTok trends. You need to use TikTok, and interact with relevant videos, in order to train your algorithm to attune to your niche.
For example, if you’re a cooking influencer, you want your For You page to be full of recipes, fellow chefs, and foodies. That way, when a trend arises in your niche, you’ll be among the first to spot it.
2. Use the TikTok Creative Center
The Trends tab in the TikTok Creative Center is a one-stop-shop to see what’s trending on TikTok at any given moment.
Here, you can see trending:
The hashtag dashboard is especially handy because you can filter to different industries, such as travel or pets. That will help you identify emerging trends within a given niche TikTok community.
3. Use TikTok search
You can access TikTok’s search dashboard by tapping the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your For You page in the app.
Here, the search page suggests results based on trending topics on TikTok.
Here’s what it looked like for a fresh account:
These results will look different based on your own browsing and search history, giving you insight into trends within your niche.
As well, if you search for a topic, the search results will show trending topics, hashtags, and accounts.
Here are the results when I searched “makeup”:
Case study: How to start a TikTok trend
TikTok trends can be tied to hashtags, challenges, or trending sounds, but also filters and other special effects.
In 2022, DNA testing and genealogy site MyHeritage kicked off a trend with its AI Time Machine. They created a program that turned selfies into AI-generated historical portraits, like this.
@nbisl #aitimemachine #fyp ♬ these videos are adorable - 🪶starling
It was different from native filters, as TikTok users had to go off-app to use the generator. Yet is still became a popular TikTok trend, with 56 million views under the #aitimemachine hashtag.
MyHeritage capitalized on the buzz around AI-generated portraits and also promoted the filter on TikTok and it totally took off.
That followed their previous success with the #myheritagechallenge—an AI program that animated still photos. People used it to bring departed relatives to life, like in this touching TikTok.
@friidaa09 Volverte a ver ❤️❤️❤️ #photo #myheritage #deepnostalgia #family #myheritagechallenge ♬ Iris - Natalie Taylor
MyHeritage succeeded with these AI programs because they offered something unique to users and they promoted them with hashtags and TikToks on their own channel.
Find and join the next massive TikTok trend
Whether it's a lip sync to a viral sound, a viral dance, or a fun challenge, identifying and participating in top TikTok trends is one of the best ways to boost your presence on the app. This should be a key part of the TikTok strategy for any TikTok user.
With a keen eye on your For You page and the help of some tools, you’ll be able to spot TikTok trends as they emerge.
- How Much Does TikTok Pay Creators in 2023?
- How to Make Money on TikTok in 2023 (6 Methods)
- How to Get a TikTok Stream Key: What Works and What Doesn't
- The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Playlists (with Examples)
TikTok Trends FAQ
What trends are popular right now on TikTok?
TikTok trends change on a weekly or even daily basis. The best way to find current TikTok trends is to browse the For You page, check the TikTok Creative Center, and explore the TikTok search tab.
What are the TikTok trends in 2023?
Some of the biggest TikTok trends for 2023 include deinfluencing, using SEO on TikTok, and posting longer, more informative videos.
How can TikTok users start a TikTok trend?
There’s no magic potion for success on TikTok, but combining a challenge with associated trending music and hashtags is the best way to start a TikTok trend.
Why should TikTok creators participate in trends?
When a trend goes viral on TikTok, the app’s algorithm will promote videos that participate in the trend. Taking part in a trend can get more views for your content.Create content faster with Kapwing's online video editor →