The Impossible Task of Trend Predicting on TikTok

July 14th, 2022 by

TikTok has become a hub of content and culture. With its addictive algorithm and seemingly endless stream of fresh content, TikTok has continued to hold its reign over social media users as the most popular platform.

There’s a new TikTok trend everyday. Thanks to its accessibility to users to create new filters and sounds, we have seen an incredible variety of TikTok trends created by popular creators and casual users alike. The problem? These trends are near impossible to predict.

Big brands have spent hours planning and strategizing their TikTok content. While this often does pay off, it’s rare for a brand to create a TikTok trend that will last in the TikTok hall of viral fame.

One of the most popular trends (or memes?) from the past couple of months revolved around an independent fish and chip shop in Coventry. Yes—we’re talking about Binley Mega Chippy.

The chip shop was only known by locals until a TikTok sound with a catchy jingle propelled it into global superstardom. The trend resulted in people from all over the globe visiting the chip shop just to join in on the clout. Visitors would queue outside for hours just to experience Binley Mega Chippy.

@binleymegachippyfan53 Reply to @binleymegachippyfc ♬ Binley Mega Chippy – Binley mega chippy big fan

The trend, as claimed by the creator of the jingle, makes zero sense. The tune was created using one of TikTok’s voice filters and was posted as a joke between friends. There was no strategy or real purpose to the video, and yet Binley Mega Chippy is now—arguably—the most famous chip shop in the world.

If we really get into it, it’s unsurprising that something as silly as the Binley Mega Chippy tune ended up viral; it’s an almost textbook definition of shitposting (or modern day dadaism if you want to sound fancy).

Shitposting is essentially posting random, mindless, somehow-amusing content to incite a reaction and get people engaging. It’s just about as old as social media—and we’re talking MySpace old, not just the now-popular platforms.

Shitposting is typically a response to the world being in shambles and is entirely unpredictable. Although it has always been a strong presence on social media, it was during the pandemic that it hit new levels. We began to see brand social media accounts take on a comedic tone of voice that often seeped into shitposting (we’re looking at you, Duolingo).

Brand accounts embracing shitposting took over TikTok like a storm. Duolingo, Ryanair, Innocent Drinks, M&S, and more, all provided borderline off-brand content to entertain TikTok audiences. The unexpectedness of this type of content from these brands is exactly why they became so popular on the platform.

However, if shitposting on TikTok is a little too far out of brand guidelines, using sound is your best bet.

TikTok’s default setting is sound-on. Sound grabs attention and will stop people scrolling for longer than a visually engaging video. Creating your own sound for a video or challenge could result in a viral hit if TikTok users actively engage and create UGC. It worked for ELF Cosmetics, so it can work again.

The only way you can begin to predict TikTok trends is by constantly listening and watching what your target audience is interested in. You need to monitor the types of sounds they are engaging with and recreating themselves and attempt to find some form of correlation between them.

TikTok is a platform to have fun on. You can let your brand’s hair down far more on TikTok than you can on other platforms. It doesn’t require perfectly curated feeds or a whole production team; you can make TikTok videos on the app, on your own phone. You just need to get started.

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