Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Trend riding

What people search for varies over time. Copying results in large scale swings in search query popularity due to herd behavior.

If you can quickly create content that matches what people have recently started searching for, you can attract a lot of attention. This approach is known as "trend riding" or "trend following".

Trend riding is a very common technique. People frequently promote their own content on the back of news stories, for example.

The picture for this post illustrates the basic approach. It is content linked to a trending topic (the American election) with an attached advertisement, using memetic hitchhiking.

Talking about memetic hitchhiking, trend riding can be regarded as a special case of this where the memetic linkage between the carrier and the payload is linkage in search space. That's an unusual type of memetic linkage - but it can still be effective. All the usual logic associated with memetic hitchhiking applies in this case.

In fact, as the picture illustrates, content doesn't have to contain the search terms to benefit from the effect. Sometimes, association is enough. That means that the memetic linkage involved can be in virtual worlds created inside brains.

Riding trends can sometimes work better than simply hitch-hiking on popular content. The problem with popular content is that others will have the same idea as you - and your message may get lost among the messages of others. If you can get in early on a rising trend, others may not have identified it yet - resulting in more traffic for you.

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