Capturing the Spirit of Summer

Thanks to the spread of smartphones, even the dog days are now digital days. Over the course of Summer 2015 alone, the rate at which people in 22 countries across the Northern Hemisphere posted to Facebook on mobile jumped by 26%.

What did people share? Everything from love—Summer is a peak time for adding relationships of all kinds—to road trips and running. This year, of course, the Rio Games are also likely to spark plenty of activity as fans reach for their mobile devices to check results and watch replays. Read more

Hot Topics: United States May 2016

With holidays scattered throughout the month, May was a time for Americans to pause and reflect on what matters. From Mother’s Day to Star Wars Day and games played on-court and on-screen, men and women of all ages turned to Facebook and Instagram to discuss the people and things they love.

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Celebrations

There were many reasons to celebrate in May, and younger women on Facebook and older women on Instagram did just that. With Mother’s Day and Día de la Madre popping for English and Spanish speakers alike, moms were at the center of many celebrations.

Women also turned to both platforms to post about Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that marks the Mexican Army’s victory over French troops in 1862 and is a time many people in the US celebrate Mexican food, culture and traditions.

On Instagram, we saw younger women mark and celebrate graduations. And as it did in May 2015, Star Wars Day (May the 4th) captured the attention of both women and men.

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Rivalries

Younger men on Facebook and older men on Instagram cheered the loudest during the playoff games leading up to the NBA Finals. Three of the four playoff teams—the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Toronto Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder—created significant buzz on both platforms. While the fourth playoff team, the Golden State Warriors, was a topic of conversation, it did not see a sufficient enough increase from the month before to qualify as a Hot Topic in May.

Gamers’ realm

Younger men on Instagram posted about two newly launched first-person shooter video games, “Doom” and “Overwatch.” Blizzard Entertainment, the game developer and publisher that launched “Overwatch” also caught people’s eyes, achieving a near-even gender split in conversations among young people on Instagram.

Internet famous

Now known as the “Chewbacca Mom,” Texas-based Candace Payne donned a Chewbacca mask and shared her infectious laugh through a Facebook video on May 19, launching Chewbacca as a May Hot Topic.

What it means for marketers

Whether it’s through holidays, graduations or sports and entertainment, the month of May offers brands a variety of opportunities to join conversations about topics people care about. Take part in the celebrations that happen every year, and understand what matters to your core audience so you can be what matters to them.

 

We present Hot Topics in sets of recurring categories that reflect the types of themes that pop in conversation topics on Facebook and Instagram month over month.

Hot Topics: Australia May 2016

Glitz, glamour and jedis stole the show on Instagram and Facebook in May. Aussies wore their hearts on their feeds this month, honouring mothers everywhere and debating big political issues.

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Celebrations

Mother’s Day was the highest-trending topic in May, as many Australians shared their love and posts across Facebook and Instagram.

Also in May, Sydney’s upcoming light festival had people flocking to Instagram in anticipation of the 2016 Vivid Festival. Men and women of all ages used Facebook and Instagram to mark International Star Wars Day, while women on Facebook swapped lightsabers for spotlights as the Eurovision Song Contest kicked off again, this time in Sweden.

Noise-makers

The 2016 Met Gala in the US captured the attention of young women on Instagram, as celebrities strutted their stuff on the Red Carpet. Fashion icon Jaden Smith had women of all ages talking on Facebook after he teamed up with sister Willow to perform an impromptu dance-off.

Australia had its own gala, as performers from the small screen attended the TV Week Logie Awards. Musician and “The Voice” judge Delta Goodrem was crowned best dressed of the night and was the highest-trending attendee on Instagram.

World leaders

As Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull announced an upcoming national election, Australians turned their attention to politics in May. People used Facebook to show their support for the Australian dairy industry around the price of supermarkets’ own brand milk, with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s stance on the issue drawing attention from older men and women. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton sparked controversy with his remarks regarding migrants, causing morning TV presenter Karl Stefanovic to trend on Facebook after he used his show to denounce the Minister’s comments.

Big wins

Australians turned to Facebook in anticipation of the State of Origin clash between Queensland and New South Wales. On Instagram, Australian Formula One driver Daniel Riccardo received some home crowd support in the lead-up to his first poll position drive at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Other international sport drew the attention of Australians, as many tuned in to watch the NBA playoffs. Oklahoma City Thunder received the most mentions of any team on both Facebook and Instagram after their first round win over the Golden State Warriors. In the English Premier League, the Leicester City Football Club secured an underdog victory to become 2016 champions.

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What it means for marketers

May’s Hot Topics highlight the unique opportunity brands have to connect with multiple audiences from many diverse demographics. From young female fashion fanatics to a more mature audience passionate about sport and politics, Facebook and Instagram connect brands to their ideal target audience on a platform designed for storytelling.

Hot Topics: Canada May 2016

For Canadians on Facebook and Instagram, May was marked by celebrating holidays, supporting favourite sports teams and performers and keeping up with current events.

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Celebrations

Women in Canada celebrated moms on Mother’s Day, sharing photos and engaging in conversations on Facebook and Instagram. Canadian men on Instagram, however, were more interested in Star Wars Day on May 4.

Rivalries

Canadian men took to Facebook and Instagram to cheer on the nation’s only NBA basketball team, the Toronto Raptors. There was chatter around DeMar DeRozan’s exceptional performance for the Raptors, who beat the Miami Heat but succumbed to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the semi-finals.

Noisemakers

Women on Instagram showed their love for popular female musical acts—Selena Gomez, Carrie Underwood and Beyoncé—each of whom passed through parts of Canada on their respective tours.

In commemoration

The tragic news of Gord Downie’s terminal cancer diagnosis was a major source of conversation for Canadians on Facebook and Instagram, with many offering an outpouring of support. The Tragically Hip front man also announced the band’s farewell tour, which sold out in moments.

All together

Canadians on Facebook came together to offer support for those in Fort McMurray, who are still battling an enormous wildfire that prompted an evacuation, even in neighbouring towns. We also saw people come together on Facebook to collect supplies and donations for the Red Cross and WestJet, which flew in supplies and flew out evacuees.

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What it means for marketers

This month proved that people love sharing in good times, such as exciting sporting events, holiday celebrations and larger-than-life musical acts, while also leaning on one another for support in times of sadness. Brands can join the conversation by celebrating these happy events and sharing in the outpouring of support during the unfortunate ones.

Hot Topics: United States April 2016

People in the US turned to Facebook and Instagram during the month of April to discuss topics of personal importance, focusing on everything from celebrating family-focused holidays to enjoying season premieres of TV shows and sports and honoring the life of a fallen American icon.

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Celebrations

Older women on Instagram and women of all ages on Facebook celebrated family in April. Talk of Mother’s Day was common on both platforms as people looked ahead to Mom’s special day in May. Younger women focused on a newer holiday—Siblings Day—established in 1997 in honor of founder Claudia Evert’s late siblings.

Women on Facebook and Instagram acknowledged a different kind of connection—to Mother Earth—in honor of Earth Day. The holiday marks the vernal equinox and encourages a deeper commitment to environmental protection.

In commemoration

Men and women reached out on both platforms to remember actor and musician Prince upon his passing. People mourned the artist in different ways: Older women on Facebook focused on his musical legacy, like rock-opera and album “Purple Rain” and Paisley Park Records, his personal label. And older men and women on Instagram and older women on Facebook led conversations about the man himself.

All together

People across ages and genders joined together on Facebook and Instagram to discuss abolitionist Harriet Tubman after the US Department of the Treasury announced she will replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill.

Intrigue and dragons caught the attention of men and women on both platforms. Young men and women on Facebook and men and women alike on Instagram allied themselves to talk about the hotly anticipated “Game of Thrones” Season 6 premiere. Readers of the “Song of Ice and Fire” book series—on which the show is based—will be joining viewers in feeling the suspense, as the plot of the show has outpaced the books.

Let the games begin

Men and women on Instagram talked about a lighthearted moment of great importance (at least to baseball fans): Opening Day. On Instagram, both men and women cheered for the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. And on Facebook, fans took a broader view of America’s pastime. Young men led talk of Major League Baseball itself and kept the conversation about the Red Sox going. They also chatted about the Chicago Cubs.

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What it means for marketers

Whether it’s teaming up to enjoy sports or coming together in mourning, people engage in and connect around conversations on topics that are important to them. Brands can speak to these meaningful connections by honoring family and international icons in their creative campaigns.


Hot Topics for Australia, Canada, the UK and the US

April’s Hot Topics show people in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US celebrating topics that originated in the US, proving that compelling stories and skilled artists can keep people talking, no matter where they are.

In commemoration

Across all four countries, men and women mourned Prince, an American actor and musician. Remembering the influential artist took unique forms in different countries, a fitting tribute to an artist celebrated for his individuality. In Australia, the UK and the US, older people remembered his iconic movie and album, “Purple Rain.” In the UK and the US, conversation also centered on his music label, Paisley Park Records.

Older men in Australia, Canada and the US also mourned the passing of American country singer/songwriter Merle Haggard, who was known for resonating with listeners by incorporating themes from his own life into his music.

Capturing the voices of young men

US basketball player Kobe Bryant sank his final basket in April, and young men in each country took to the court on both platforms to talk about his retirement. Young men also discussed “Dark Souls” after the release of the newest installment in the action-adventure video game series.

Promising premieres

People in all four countries talked about the return to the Seven Kingdoms, as “Game of Thrones” had its Season 6 premiere on April 24. In Australia and the UK, women led the conversation on both platforms. In Canada, women led the conversations on Instagram, and men guided the discussions on Facebook. In the US, men and women shared their thoughts about the Iron Throne on both platforms.

What it means for marketers

Cultural icons have the power to not just entertain but also bring people together. Whether it’s remembering influential artists who have passed or looking ahead to new releases, people love sharing things they’re passionate about. Brands can capture attention by creating content that fosters such passion and encourages a sense of community among fans.

Hot Topics: Australia April 2016

April’s Hot Topics in Australia showed the power of community. Whether sharing their favourite songs in memory of an artist, observing a national holiday or cheering on their sports team, Aussies sought ways to come together and connect around their experiences on Facebook and Instagram.

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In commemoration

April was a month for reflection in Australia, with people of all ages turning to Facebook and Instagram on Anzac Day. The occasion was the highest-trending topic across both platforms as Aussies acknowledged the nation’s past and present servicemen and shared the “Ode of Remembrance,” an extract from Laurence Binyon’s classic poem “For the Fallen.”

The passing of legendary American musician and actor Prince trended highest amongst an older female audience on Facebook and Instagram. His iconic hit “Purple Rain” was frequently mentioned on both platforms as people paid tribute to his life and career. People also used Facebook to reflect on the life of American performer Merle Haggard, who was honoured at the American Country Countdown Awards after his passing.

Promising premieres

Superheroes remained a popular talking point, as Australians prepared for a slew of new film releases, including Marvel’s latest installment, “Captain America: Civil War.” But it wasn’t just big screen releases that captured attention. “Dark Souls III” got young males talking on Instagram, and Aussies of all ages flocked to Facebook and Instagram to discuss the return of the HBO megahit, “Game of Thrones.”

Let the games begin

Facebook and Instagram provided a forum for basketball fans to say farewell to retiring LA Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Soccer supporters of all ages got excited for the A-League Grand Final and turned to both platforms to cheer on hotly favoured victors, the Adelaide Football Club.

Brand buzz

Skincare company Proactiv reached a younger female audience on Instagram with its #TRUEselfie campaign while Range Rover’s announcement of the new Evogue was popular with an older demographic on Facebook. Marks & Spencer built up hype around its online launch in Australia by announcing two new fashion collections, which were a hit on Instagram with a young female audience. Excitement and speculation also swelled amongst men and women on Facebook in anticipation of the iPhone 7 release.

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What it means for marketers

April shows the strong sense of community that a holiday, a sporting event or the return of a much-loved TV show can create. By being involved in these moments and sharing the experience, brands can become part of the wider event and join their audience in a more meaningful way.

Check out Hot Topics and Facebook IQ every month to gain a deeper understanding of your target audiences, develop more relevant creative and plan media more effectively.

Hot Topics: Canada April 2016

In April, Canadians on Facebook and Instagram got excited about tree-planting in celebration of Earth Day, mourned the loss of two influential musicians and cheered on Toronto sports teams with fresh enthusiasm.

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Celebrations

April’s Earth Day—globally themed “Trees for the Earth”—had women branching out in conversation on Facebook and Instagram. Aiming to improve our planet’s health, global networks of Earth Day organizations pledged to plant a tree for every person on Earth by 2020 (that’s 7.8 billion trees!).*

In commemoration

April marked two sad days for music lovers, as the deaths of Merle Haggard (April 6) and Prince (April 21) played on the nation’s heart strings. The passing of these influential musicians created melancholy and nostalgia among older men and women alike.

Let the games begin

Toronto’s basketball and baseball teams crossed the generational plane on Facebook and Instagram, with younger men talking about the Raptors and Blue Jays on Facebook and older women talking about the Blue Jays on Instagram. We also saw men turn to both platforms to talk about the retirement of American basketball star Kobe Bryant and to Instagram specifically to discuss his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

World leaders

Joking publicly about serious issues brought leading Philippines presidential candidate, Rodrigo Duterte, into conversations with an older audience on Facebook this month.

Screen-stealers

“Ghostbusters,” “The Boss” and the “Gilmore Girls” revival had women sharing their love for Melissa McCarthy on Facebook, as the Comedic Genius Award winner stole the screen and the news spotlight this month.

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What it means for marketers

April’s Hot Topics shows that both anticipated and unanticipated events can effectively capture people’s attention. Brands can participate in these moments and celebrations by planning as well as reacting in real time to reach the people who matter most.

 

* “Earth Day Toolkit” by Earth Day Network, Apr 2016.

Hot Topics: United Kingdom April 2016

Conversations across Facebook and Instagram during April were led by an older-than-usual group of men and women. Rumours of Prime Ministerial indiscretion and the passing of two entertainment icons dominated these discussions, while younger chatter was more concerned with Sports and Entertainment.

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World leaders

Prime Minister David Cameron’s tax affairs in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal were the big topic on Facebook, particularly among older people. And Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday caught the attention of older female Instagrammers.

In commemoration

American musician and actor Prince and British comedienne Victoria Wood joined the roll call of beloved entertainers who passed away in 2016 and were mourned by a predominantly older group of fans.

Let the games begin

The launch of the sixth season of “Game of Thrones” was huge news for younger people on Facebook and Instagram, while a younger male-skewed audience on both platforms got psyched up for WrestleMania 32. The London Marathon also proved a popular topic, particularly for older women on Instagram.

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Delve deeper into the topics of the day in the charts above, and check out Hot Topics from Facebook IQ every month to gain a deeper understanding of your target audiences, develop more relevant creative and plan media more effectively.

Hot Topics: United Kingdom March 2016

Facebook and Instagram chatter during March revealed some interesting contrasts between the sexes. While female conversations centred on themes of celebration and togetherness, male discussions often focused on rivalries and antagonism.

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Capturing the voices of women

The female sex was celebrated across Facebook and Instagram, with Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day each widely discussed, largely by women themselves.

Celebrations

Women led the chatter around seasonal events, including Easter, Saint Patrick’s Day and World Book Day.

Rivalries

Men were transfixed by rivalries, whether in the political arena (the US primaries, Ian Duncan-Smith vs George Osborne), in the MMA cage (Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor) or at the movies (Batman vs Superman).

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What it means for marketers

A comprehensive understanding of gender (and other demographic) differences within brands’ target audiences can help marketers make smart decision about audience segmenting and ensure communications are correctly targeted.

Delve deeper into March’s Hot Topics in the charts above, and check out Hot Topics from Facebook IQ every month to gain a deeper understanding of your target audiences, develop more relevant creative and plan media more effectively.

 

Hot Topics: Australia March 2016

Big-name companies and performers alike stole the show in March, connecting with Australians around a range of key moments, from film releases and festivals to holidays and causes.

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Celebrations

Easter was the highest trending topic on Facebook and Instagram this month, with Good Friday in particular resonating strongly among women of all ages. Both Saint Patrick’s Day and Sydney’s Mardi Gras festival offered men and women alike a chance to let their hair down. Women of all ages rallied together on International Women’s Day to recognise achievements and champion gender equality.

Brand buzz

Holidays in March proved to be the perfect opportunity for brands to connect with people. Guinness went back to its roots on Saint Patrick’s Day, sharing a series of Instagram images celebrating Irish culture. And it was no surprise to see Australians discussing sweet treats over Easter, as both Oreo and Cadbury tantalised tastebuds with their seasonal content.

Noisemakers

Legendary performer Madonna toured the country with her Rebel Heart Tour, making waves among a diverse audience on both Facebook and Instagram. Rapper Kendrick Lamar connected with younger males on Instagram during his Australian tour and performance at the Byron Bay Bluesfest.

Donald Trump continued to be a talking point for older males on Facebook, while Arnold Schwarzenegger got people buzzing on Instagram after attending a body building competition in Melbourne. People took to Facebook to discuss Kim Kardashian West’s selfies on Instagram. The shots created a bit of a buzz online and the images even inspired offline action, with Australian street artist Lushsux creating a series of large murals in the laneways of Sydney and Melbourne.

Rivalries

Following the release of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” young men turned to both Facebook and Instagram to discuss the on-screen battle between DC Comics’ biggest heroes. This group also used both platforms to pick a side in the UFC’s blockbuster clash between Irish fighter Conor McGregor and American challenger Nate Diaz.

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What it means for marketers

This month shows the impact that brands can make when they connect with their audience around big events and holidays. Whether by joining in on a passionate discussion or inviting people to join a celebration, there are many ways that brands can be front of mind at the right time.