"Trends, like horses, are easier to ride in the direction they are going."
As a content creator or entrepreneur, it's important to be on the lookout for new trends. After all, being ahead of the curve can give you a big advantage over your competition. That's why I was excited to recently discover a new trend research tool called Exploding Topics.
Exploding Topics is a trend research tool that offers detailed information on trending topics pulled from a wide array of sources across the internet.
It's a great resource for content marketers, but we can also use it for other purposes like finding new ideas for physical products or spotting new industries or companies we can invest in (or for the big dogs, purchase outright).
I recently signed up for Exploding Topics and wanted to share my thoughts on it here. I felt this tool merited a review because it is relatively pricey, but for the right person or company, the expense could be well worth it.
Read on to learn more about the new tool and decide if it's a good fit for you at the moment or if you should save your money and use a free tool like Google's Trends tool.
I am not affiliated with ExplodingTopics.com and was not compensated for this review. This article is based on my own personal experience with the tool in my own business.
How Does Exploding Topics Work?
To get an idea of what Exploding Trends data reports look like, visit the website, and you'll see some live examples. The website is explodingtopics.com
Even if you aren't a user, it's worth bookmarking the homepage and checking this periodically.
Exploding Topics collects its data by analyzing millions of web searches, conversations and mentions across the web and social media.
Their trending topics range across many industries, niches, and categories.
All trends are labeled as ...
Of course, exploding topics are the ones we're most excited about, but knowing which topics are trending downward (peaked) or remaining flat is helpful as well.
Here are the core functions/areas of Exploding Topics:
Quickly see trends you're interested in at a glance. We can choose to track trends and assign them to specific projects.
For example, I have two projects currently. One for this blog, EntreResource, and one for physical product ideas I might consider selling on Amazon.
Skim over 10,000 trending topics.
You can set filters to see things that are most relevant or you can just scroll around and count on serendipity.
This is basically a lean version of Google Trends. Type in a search term and region and they will send you results if it's in their database.
The value in using this instead of Google Trends is mostly that you can add these topics to your projects and track them within the tool. Other than that, Google Trends does the rest of this feature better.
Therefore, if you have a specific topic or term in mind you want to search, it's not a bad idea to start with Google Trends, even if you pay for Exploding Topics.
This is the real X factor you won't get anywhere else.
The reports library is a curated list of trends with detailed analysis that users of the investor plan get weekly. Real people who have done the legwork for us write them and explain them in deep detail.
They break each report down into two parts. Early bird companies and tomorrow's products.
Here is the summary that we received for August 30th, 2022. Sorry, I'm sure they don't want me sharing the specifics, so I've redacted them.
The report then goes on into each item and explains more about why they see opportunities with them.
The most recent report was about 2,000 words long and covered
These are bigger than specific search terms or trending businesses. They are collections of related things that make up entire industries.
Think of it like this: the Meta Trends are things you could create an entire blog about whereas specific trends are things you could write a blog post about.
Meta Trends will include many sub topics that are trending.
Does this make sense? If not, let me know in the comments and I'll explain it further.
Here's an example of one "Portable Everything"
The Meta Trend has many more topics if you scroll.
If I wanted to, this could be a good starting place for a Shopify store or product review site.
Users on the Investor plan can use the Exploding Topics API in their own tools. If you actually use this, that is amazing. I don't have a use for it yet.
Who Can Benefit from Exploding Topics?
Exploding Topics is too expensive to be used casually. They clearly set the price point to attract only serious entrepreneurs, content creators, and investors.
For this blog post, I put myself in the shoes of potential users and actually used the tool as I would if I were in their shoes.
This was very fun...
How a Physical Product Creator Could Use Exploding Topics
I imagined how someone who sells physical products might want to use Exploding Topics.
Reviewing the weekly trends report email from September 6th, 2022, I found an awesomely helpful insight for a potential niche that I was unaware of previously: Padel Ball.
This is the breakdown that was part of the weekly trend report.
If I created shirts for Merch by Amazon, I'd make some focused on Padel ball
If I created private label items to sell on Amazon, I'd look for padel ball accessories or perhaps padel ball padel accessories. "PimpMyPadel.com" is available...just saying:"
These insights are sent weekly and stored in your Exploding Topics portal so you can review them at any time.
This is what I feel truly separates them from other trend analysis tools. This is a service that is curated to you by real humans who stay on top of the state of trends.
How a Business Investor Could Use Exploding Topics
I could cheat and say that I could check for PadelBall-focused companies for sale, but that seemed lazy and beneath the quality I hope you expect from me!
So, I used a different feature. The trends database.
The trends database is a listing of all the trends that Exploding Topics has found in the past, and we can filter them by timeline, industry, and rate of growth.
For this search, I set my filters to show trends from the past 5 years that were in the luxury niche and classified as an "exploding topic."
I clicked around and stumbled on a cool business idea: IV hydration stations.
Volume is reported at 40.5k. That means 40,500 unique Google searches for the phrase per month in the United States. That's a good amount of searches.
The competition seems low as well, and the interest is expanding year over year.
How a Content Creator Could Use Exploding Topics
This one was easy because this is how we are actually using Exploding Topics in house for our site.
My favorite way to find new topics to cover (an exploding topic, if you will) is by using the trends database.
I can go into the database and filter the niche to things I cover, like Marketing.
Here's an example of a trending topic I found I think is worth covering.
You will still crosscheck the trends with a tool like AHREFs to ensure the topic is a good fit and something you want to spend time on.
According to the AHREFs keyword explorer, "Flowpage" is getting a ton of searches and has minimal competition. That is a great sign that writing a post such as "How to Create Your First Flowpage" could do well.
How I'm Using Exploding Topics
Here at EntreResource.com, we are using it mostly for content ideation. It helps us in three core ways.
- What topics are people searching for that appear to be growing in interest? Can we cover a topic today that could have tons of interest in the future?
- What things have grown so fast that others might not have even noticed? Can we cover a topic today that others haven't noticed yet?
- What topics are trending down? Should we stop focusing on a certain niche or trend?
I can see exactly what people are interested in right now and create content that can drive traffic from search engines or perhaps even from going viral on social media if a trending topic is hot enough.
I see Exploding Trends as a new facet of my keyword research and topic planning. It is not a replacement for tools like AHREFs, but it is a great supplement, and I will gladly keep paying for it.
Exploding Topics vs. Google Trends
Whenever I review a tool, I always have to start by seeing how it compares to lower-cost alternatives. It's totally uncool for me to suggest you spend money on things that aren't better than free or lower-cost alternatives.
In the trend analysis space, the biggest resource in the space has been Google Trends for many years. This is a resource that is free to everyone but is so powerful, it could easily be a pay-to-use program if Google weren't so awesome.
However, even though I was completely aware of Google's free tool, I still paid for Exploding Topics.
Google's free Trends tool is built for everyone, Exploding Topics, on the other hand, is clearly built for business-minded users. Entrepreneurs, creators, investors and first movers.
Exploding Trends encourages a bit of serendipity and random inspiration, whereas Trends by Google is better for analyzing things you already know about.
Like in this example, I can compare the popularity of the Cincinnati Reds to the Cleveland Guardians by city in Ohio.
That's awesome, but it isn't something you'd do with Exploding Topics.
Exploding Topics brings new ideas to you as opposed to just showing you data on topics you already knew about. Most of these are "under the radar" topics that you can be a first mover on if you act quickly .
Exploding Topics also goes further in telling you if a product has peaked, is declining or still climbing in popularity.
Google Trends is also littered with things that don't have much business use. For example, things like "Kim Kardashian" or "NFL" aren't going to show up in Exploding Topics.
Exploding Topics Investor vs Exploding Topics Entrepreneur Plans
There are two plan tiers for exploding topics. The lower cost tier is called Exploding Topics Entrepreneur. It costs $97/month. The higher-cost tier that provides access to all features and data points is called Exploding Topics Investor.
The main differences, besides the price points, are...
- 4 user seats in investor plan vs. 1 for entrepreneur
- Instant trend alerts in investor plan.
- API access in investor plan
- Entrepreneur plan comes with the last 4 reports. Exploding Topics Pro Investor includes the last 10 reports.
- Weekly Exploding Topics Pro reports include 10 trends for the investor plan (vs. only 6 for entrepreneur).
Most users will be content with the entrepreneur plan. If you don't need to add team members or API access (most won't) the only benefit of the higher tier plan is the instant trend alerts.
In my use so far, I've yet to see enough from the instant trend alerts to say that it is a "must have" feature just yet. I've added 3 users to my plan, but I have no reservations about dropping it down to just 1 user if the others don't actually use it.
Unlike some software products I've used and reviewed, I don't see the premium tier as a must-have to get enough value from the tool to justify the cost.
Drawbacks of Exploding Topics
I couldn't give Exploding Topics a perfect 5 star review due to a couple of minor issues.
The onboarding needs a little bit of polishing (which I'm sure will come sooner rather than later). There is little documentation explaining some FAQs users might have like "what makes a topic exploding" or "How do I change my plan level."
Also adding users required emailing the support team, which seems like it could be built into the software itself like most other programs that have user seats.
Finally, the pricing is a bit confusing. Understanding exactly what you're getting between the Entrepreneur and Investor plans takes a little digging and isn't explained super clearly in the sales page.
So, my final grade for Exploding Topics is...
Exploding Topics is an awesome tool, but it is a "nice to have" for most entrepreneurs rather than a "must have."
The ability to find trending topics quickly and easily and to happen upon exciting new business ideas makes Exploding Topics a tool that I gladly pay for. Yes, even with similar tools like Google Trends being free or costing less.