How to Spot Trends Before They Happen

by Josh Howarth
February 19, 2024

Finding trends is easy.

But beating your competitors to the punch and spotting trends before they happen? That’s much more difficult.

To do so, you'll need to utilize various trend-spotting websites, social media platforms, paid newsletters, and Google tools to find underserved or undiscovered topics.

This guide will walk you through the steps to find trending topics and analyze their viability and future potential.

1. Use Trend Spotting Tools To Find Trending Topics

In a perfect world, the fastest way to spot trends would be through manual research.

However, since there is so much information to sift through and various steps required to validate a potential trend, using a trend-spotting tool is more efficient.

For example, Exploding Topics spots emerging trends by tracking millions of data points with a proprietary trend-spotting algorithm.

Not only can you find rapidly growing trends here before anybody else, but there are various filters to sort by industry, growth status, discovery date, and search volume.


With the Exploding Topics Trends Database, you can scour through hundreds of thousands of already-tracked trends.

“AI writing” is an example of a trend we spotted well before it became mainstream. Today, if you were to mention AI writing, everybody in the room would likely know what you’re talking about and even know what ChatGPT is. But it wasn't always that way.

In fact, Exploding Topics Pro users were alerted about the potential of AI Writing in July 2021, well before it became a common topic in the tech world.


If you were one of the members to see this trend early on, you could have explored other relevant trends in our database to gauge demand. By typing “AI Writing” into the Trends Database search bar, you can fetch other similar topics:


Other topics like “AI Writing Tool,” “AI Writing Software,” and “ParagraphAI” all indicate there’s a clear demand for AI writing and plenty of successful startups fulfilling that demand.

Our algorithm gathers a trend’s search volume and calculates growth using a trendline. Then, we grade each trend and assign it a status so you can gauge where it's at in its lifecycle:

  • Regular trends are the absolute newest trends. There isn’t as much data on these trends because they’re so new, but this is where the really early opportunities are.
  • Exploding trends are a little more well-known and becoming increasingly popular. Interest in these trends is growing fast, so it’s smart to jump on these opportunities before they’re saturated.
  • Peaked trends are businesses, products, etc., that are already very well-known. There aren’t a lot of new opportunities here, but when you look at related trends, you can find more unique opportunities.

With this in mind, you can start searching for new trends in the Trends Database. First, select a category from the list. Each category includes hundreds of trending topics for a sub-category.


Let’s assume you work in the beauty niche. Choose a relevant sub-category, like skincare, and you’ll gain access to a list of trending topics.


You can get new results by adjusting the search filters. For example, set the Status filter to "Exploding" and the Sort By filter to “Discovered Date.” This will adjust your view and show you the newest “Exploding” skin care topics we are tracking.

Using these search parameters will generate plenty of potential skincare trends worth exploring. One example that stood out was "Looks Maxing."


Searches for "Looks Maxing" have quadrupled in just a few months, and this is a trend worth monitoring. Even major media outlets are covering "Looks Maxing” with features in Business Insider and NYTimes.


Now that we’ve found a trend with Exploding Topics, we can dig deeper to gauge its viability and determine whether it's worth pursuing.

2. Pay Attention To Social Media Sites

Social media is one of the best places to look for trend ideas.

It’s easy to see a niche group of people talking about a specific topic before major media outlets or competitors get word about it.

And with the rise of short-form content, trends starting on social media are becoming more common. Hashtags are how you can stay in touch with trends on all the top social platforms like Instagram, X, Facebook, and TikTok.

But in many cases, you’ll need to find the trending hashtags yourself. This is where our discovered trends using Exploding Topics come in handy.

If you head over to Instagram, you’ll notice that there are plenty of hashtags related to "Looks Maxing " and quite a few posts about the topic. However, we don’t get a ton of information about each hashtag regarding engagement on this platform.


For this reason, TikTok is a better tool to analyze trends and find new topic ideas. The TikTok Creative Center is a business tool used to find trending hashtags and detailed analytics.


Similar to Google Trends and Exploding Topics, you can see how this specific hashtag performs over time and whether the trend is rising or falling. On TikTok, reaching 100 means the topic is approaching peak popularity.

Such a rapid climb in interest over time could indicate great demand for products or services related to this trend. However, it could also mean that you’re getting involved too late, and there’s already a sizable amount of competitors to battle for search rankings or sales.

There are other tools like SparkToro and BuzzSumo that can be used to spot trends on social media platforms manually.

With SparkToro, you can learn all about a broad niche to find out what the audience is talking about online, the social accounts they follow, the websites they visit, the podcasts they listen to, and the YouTube channels they subscribe to.


Basically, Sparktoro shows what platforms your target audience is consuming media on. On the contrary, BuzzSumo gives you an idea of what media they're consuming.


However, BuzzSumo is not the best place to go to find new trend ideas. Instead, it can be used as a tool to generate new content ideas or see what’s happening within your niche with a curated feed.

3. Use Subreddits To Your Advantage

Niche audiences use Reddit as a safe place to discuss everything related to the topic at hand. Digging through subreddits can be a goldmine for finding undiscovered trends.

The best thing about Reddit is that these conversations happen in real-time, similar to other social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok. To get started, begin with a broad search like “Skincare” to find the dedicated subreddit for this topic.


Right away, r/30PlusSkinCare and r/SkincareAddiction were some of the first to appear. On the surface, r/30PlusSkinCare seems like it would be a small, niche community.

But there are 1.4 million members and nearly a dozen new posts per day. You can dive deeper into subreddits like this to find potential trends.

Here’s one example: a post about tinted sunscreen.


Now I can head over to my trend-spotting tool, Exploding Topics, to see if this topic is worth looking into further.


Clearly, this is an upward trending topic with seasonal dips during winter months. Trends like this show potential for skincare brands looking to start a new product line or skincare blogs looking for new SEO keywords.

You can automate this process using the HigherVisibility Reddit keyword research tool. Start by typing the name of the subreddit into a search bar, and the tool pulls the most popular keywords.


Next, export your keyword list and start looking for potential undiscovered trends. Typically, this would be more likely for lower search volume keywords further down on the list.

Another trend I found using this method was “Light Therapy Mask.” The term gets 260 monthly searches in this subreddit but has displayed clear growth over the past few months, indicating a growing trend that has massive potential.


This method is certainly not foolproof, as it does require some manual labor and patience to find topics. But it’s one effective way to find undiscovered or underserved long-term trends.

4. Join Paid Newsletters For Curated Information

When social media arrived, marketers claimed that email was dead.

Today, there are 4 billion daily email users in the world to dispute that fact. And that number increases by roughly 4% annually.

Because of this, there’s been an email newsletter boom.

Experts are building email lists and sending out all types of newsletters to cover niche industries. You can subscribe to free and paid newsletters to get curated trend data delivered straight to your inbox.

The Exploding Topics and the TrendingData newsletters are two options worth considering.

Each week, the Exploding Topics newsletter covers four rapidly trending topics with key insights and analysis.


Reading this weekly report can spark some inspiration during your trend research process and point you in the right direction. And if you’re not interested in joining the paid newsletter, there's also a free version of the newsletter with the top trend of the week.

Another alternative that does trend spotting and analysis well is TrendingData. This is another trend-spotting tool that puts a heavier focus on ecommerce products in their newsletter.


Each week, their weekly newsletter includes four trending products with links to sellers already doing it well on platforms like Amazon. They include a detailed analysis of the product and trend and added insights into where it's headed.


You can use these curated email newsletters to reduce the manual workload required during trend research. Experts are behind the scenes compiling data and adding unique insights that you can access for a small monthly fee.

5. Use Google’s Tools To Validate Trends

We would be wasting resources if we didn’t take the time to validate existing trend ideas and look for new ones using Google Trends.

Google Trends analyzes Google web searches during a time period and shows the topic’s popularity over time. On the graph, 100 is the highest point, indicating peak interest in a specific topic.

To get started with trend research, a broad topic or keyword like “Skincare” is a good place to start.


As you can see, interest in skincare remained steady until a spike in early November 2023. But as we know, the skincare industry is not a new trend.

To dig deeper, Google Trends gives us “related queries," which is where we can spot new trends that are gaining steam.

Based on our original search, here are the “related topics” and “related queries" for skincare over the past 12 months.


Breakout topics and queries are the most notable because that indicates the term has grown by more than 5,000%.

Many of these topics and queries are existing brands in the industry. But right away, I spotted a trend in related topics.

Both Korean Skincare BE and Laneige sell Korean skincare products. That would lead me to research different Korean skincare trends and underserved products.

One example I spotted in the list of related queries was ceramide products, including ceramide cream, lotion, moisturizer, and toner. The use of ceramides for skincare originated in Korea and has become a staple in Korean skincare.


Interest in ceramide has only risen over the last five years. Stable trend growth with minimal spikes like this shows a viable long-term trend.

To confirm this trend, I would head over to Exploding Topics to check the status of and track various ceramide topics. As suspected, plenty of ceramide skincare products show upward exploding growth, indicating a potential trend opportunity.


You can monitor these trends in Exploding Topics to see their growth with daily updates.


That wraps up our approach to finding trends early on. Now it’s time for you to start implementing this approach and discovering new trends.

Combining the advanced AI algorithm from a trend-spotting site like Exploding Topics with a detailed social media research method is the best way to uncover new topics before they go mainstream.

Start using this strategy today, and there's a good chance you'll start finding new ideas for your business pretty quickly.