I don’t watch hockey and have never been a fan of the NHL, but “skate to where the puck is going” is one of my favorite phrases in life and in business.

One of my old bosses echo’d it to me several times and it stuck with me.

Knowing how to find trends and anticipate where something is headed can be a big competitive advantage – especially when it comes to business, investing, and content creation.

You’ll be able to react first, have more time to think about how to capitalize on it, and in some ways, get a peek into the future before the herd.

So how do you identify trends before everyone else does?

Sometimes it’s just a matter of following a particular space that you’re passionate about closely.

But there are so many things out there that it’s impossible to keep close tabs on everything.

You can only have so many passions before you fall off the wagon.

Fortunately, there are some really useful tools that can help.

Reddit Trends

They call themselves the home page for the Internet, but they are also THE community for the internet. With a gazillion subreddits, you can find a community for almost anything out there.

Tracking the trends within subreddits is one of the most interesting and useful ways to identify the next big thing. Within Reddit, you can dig around a bit and find some cool stuff:

There are also some third party tools that can give you some extremely useful insights into analytics and metrics for subreddits:

Google Trends

It’s hard not to think of Google Trends these days when thinking of how to see what is trending, so this deserves to be at the top of the list.

But don’t forget to check out that various cuts that Google Trends can give you:

You can also go a bit deeper with your analysis through searches by:

  • Geographical location
  • Time frame
  • Category
  • Search type (Web, Images, News, Youtube)

Trends.co

Sam Parr was able to establish a $100M media business through TheHustle.co, a newsletter focused on business and tech that targeted millenials. Trends.co is their paid subscription business that has a lot of great content you can’t get anywhere else.

Trends.co offers upcoming market trends, case studies, a massive database of business research, and a built in community with entrepreneurs, experts, and hustlers from a wide range of industries.

It does come with a rather expensive cost of $299/year, but it can pay for itself with the knowledge you’ll gain from the access. The good news is that they also offer a two week trial for just $1.

Exploding Topics

Created by some of the leading internet marketers, Exploding Topics surfaces the trending topics from around the internet.

They scour the conversations and mentions across a bunch of channels, analyzes the data, and identifies the exploding topics before they go blast off. Check out what’s been going nuts:

Product Hunt

The official launch pad for new products, Product Hunt is a great way to check out the latest tools, apps, and sites that could give you an edge.

The voting system is a nice way to sift through everything and get straight to the cream of the crop. Sometimes the hottest products can drive the next big trend.

Your Stack

An offshoot by the Product Hunt team is a relatively new site called Yourstack.com which is a community where people can share the their favorite products.

This is not only limited to just tech, apps, and tools either. You’ll even find books, drinks, toothbrushes, juicers, chairs and a ton of other stuff.

Still in beta and growing by the day, here’s what experts are sharing on Yourstack.

Twitter Trending Topics

What good is a list of ways to track trends if it doesn’t include Twitter, the mothership of trending topics?

As the world’s premiere source for real-time, breaking news, it’s no surprise that Twitter can give you invaluable insight into what’s catching fire.

But as we all know, the noise on Twitter can be quite ridiculous, so there’s an art to tuning out the noise in order to tune into the good stuff.

Twitter does offer some of that natively:

There’s also a useful Keyworld Tool to identify trending #hashtags on Twitter.

Youtube Trends

As the second largest search engine on the planet, after Google of course, there is a lot of insight that you can gain into what’s hot.

More than 2 billion people watch Youtube ever month, consuming more than 5 billion videos every single day, and this trend continues to grow.

Pinpoint the trends on Youtube and you’ll uncover opportunities to capitalize on.

Instagram Hashtags

At the time, a lot of people scoffed at Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion dollars. Fast forward today, that seems like quite a bargain for the most important mobile social network right now.

Instagram boasts over 1 billion monthly active users on their platform. Just to give you an idea of the scale for this monstrous social platform:

  • 500+ million daily active users for Stories
  • 50+ billion photos shared to date
  • 25+ million businesses on Instagram
  • 4.2 billion likes per day
  • 100 million videos uploaded per day

On Instagram, #hashtags are the key to identifying the trends there, similar to Twitter. For hashtag research, check out these tools:

Amazon

As the world’s biggest store that never closes and squarely at the epicenter of almost everyone’s online shopping experience, the trends on Amazon could expose you a lot of opportunities. Here are some resources that you’ll find useful:

eBay

I personally don’t shop on eBay anymore, but similar to Amazon, a lot of e-commerce still flows through this time-tested marketplace.

There are still a lot of things that you can get on eBay that you can’t get on Amazon so it’s important to look into what are the trends going on within eBay too.

App Store Trends

There’s an app for everything, literally. Both the App Store and Google Play have a combined total of more than 5 million total apps for users to download.

That’s pretty mind-blowing compared to the old school era of Palm Pilots where you could literally track how many apps there were.

If you want to see what the top apps are, rising apps, and the apps that are making the most money, here are some valuable resources: