Facebook IQ Analyzed Rising Topics and Trends in 2018 and It Sees a Green 2019

Health and wellness, healthier food and pollution prevention saw conversation spikes

Facebook IQ saw a spike in interest in green consumer and beauty products in 2018 Pogonici/iStock

Blue is Facebook’s primary color, but people on the social network are thinking green for 2019, according to The 2019 Topics and Trends Report from Facebook IQ, the social network’s research arm.

Facebook IQ used findings from first-party Facebook data and third-party data, and it teamed up with PSFK, Stylus and The Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson Intelligence on the report.

Health and wellness and going green popped up throughout the report, as Facebook IQ found an increased focus on more flavorful health food, a spike in interest in green consumer and beauty products and more discussion of experiential purchases, particularly those related to wellness activities.

Following are some highlights from The 2019 Topics and Trends Report, by category:


Facebook users in the U.S. want to be scared. Facebook IQ pointed to the success of horror films in 2018, as well as a 7.4 times leap in discussion about horror comics.

With Wi-Fi enabled smart speakers ending up in more and more homes, discussions about woofers was up 1.6 times in 2018 compared with the previous year, while signal-to-noise ratios saw a 5.4 times jump and talk about wireless routers rose 1.2 times year-over-year.

Generation Z and millennial Facebook users just wanted to get away, with conversation about virtual art up 1.6 times year-over-year, while talk about autonomous sensory meridian response was up two times in 2018 compared with 2017.

Fashion, beauty and commerce

Korean skincare trends have made their way across the Pacific, as Melaleuca alternifolia, exfoliation methods and Asian sunscreens all saw spikes in 2018.

Facebook IQ said 48 percent of women in the U.S. who use facial skin-care products are now seeking those with natural or organic ingredients, driving up conversation about previously obscure terms such as phthalate. As a result, brands in that space are turning to alternative ingredients such as ground nut shells, sugar and salt crystals.

Discussion about plastics pollution was up 4.8 times in 2018 from 2017, spurring a rise in zero-packaging solutions such as a seaweed-encased body wash and bottles made from recycled ocean plastic.

On the fashion side, prints made a comeback in 2018, led by tropical plant monstera deliciosa (up 9.8 times year-over-year), snakeskin (1.7 times) and zebra (5.2 times).

Facebook IQ said Americans are seeking environmentally friendly gifting and fashion options. As a result, discussion about durable goods was up 5.9 times in 2018 versus 2017, and freeganism (an ideology centered around reducing consumption by recovering wasted goods, such as clothing) and sustainable fashion saw similar jumps, of 2.1 times and 3.7 times, respectively.

Searches for reusable metal straws skyrocketed 205 percent from March through August, as discussion on Facebook about eco-friendly straws was up 1.1 times year-over-year.

Finally, talk about carbon dioxide removal was up 18.5 times in 2018 compared with 2017, and discussion about eco-friendly building materials such as bioplastics derived from renewable sources saw a spike of 11.2 times.

Food and beverage

International foods surged in 2018, led by West Indian pumpkin calabaza (up 7.4 times year-over-year), Mexican chicken soup caldo de pollo (9.6 times) and Greek egg-and-cheese dish tiropita (1.5 times).

Facebook IQ said the number of Americans going gluten-free has more than tripled since 2009, and sales of paleo-labeled products are projected to reach $4 billion by 2020.

Healthier versions of soul food drew some attention on the social network in 2018, including the use of jackfruit or smoked turkey in place of fattier meats, using lower amounts of brown sugar and leaner preparations of vegetables like collard greens.

Consumer-packaged-goods have responded to these trends by incorporating ingredients including turmeric, eucalyptus and kimchi.

And bread is making a comeback, with Facebook IQ seeing a 2.6 times year-over-year spike in conversation about alternative flour option einkorn wheat and a three times rise in talk about crust.

Mind and body

Facebook IQ found spikes in 2018 conversation about wellness topics such as intermittent fasting (4.9 times), self-care (1.6 times) and detoxification (7.6 times).

Other related topics that saw big jumps in 2018 included productivity software (1.5 times versus 2017); Wu Wei (2.4 times), the Taoist principle of “non-doing”; and positive affirmations (2.8 times).

Travel and leisure

Americans on Facebook want to explore the wilderness, leading to year-over-year leaps of 3.8 times in conversations about glamping, 7.6 times for via ferrata and 3.7 times for ziplines.

Facebook IQ said California has been a top travel destination for people staying within the country, leading to spikes in talk about beach soccer (1.1 times), paddle boarding (1.6 times) and wake surfing (5.7 times).

People also showed a trend of working out outdoors instead of in gyms, with playgrounds seeing a 2.5 times year-over-year surge in discussion, while talk about parkour was up 1.3 times and the High Line in New York saw a 3.7 times year-over-year bump.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.