What is #RipCity? Top Twitter Trends in 2015

You might be surprised to learn that #RipCity was the top trending topic in Portland for 2015—but not if you’re a Trailblazers fan. We love end of the year reviews on the Research & Insights team and we love data driven-ones even more. With that in mind we decided to hone in again on what trended the longest in U.S. cities.

We used US Twitter trend data from January to mid-December and then aggregated it by topic to see how long each item trended for. For example, if #MondayMotivation trended in Dallas for twenty minutes and then in Los Angeles for ten minutes we’d say that it trended for thirty minutes in total. This allows us to give more weight to those items that trended highly in multiple cities.

Let’s start by comparing how our larger categories compared this year to last.

Top Trending Brands

Last year, Walmart was ranked third by time trending for all brands; this year, by contrast, it was the highest. Walmart was also the 2nd-longest trending item this year behind Valentine’s Day, which trended longer than anything else. Waffle House moved up to third from fifth in 2014. Iheartradio, and Amazon Prime were both new entries this year.

Social TV

Sporting events consistently topped the overall totals for time trending, but must-watch TV shows were just as popular. Scandal had the most talkative following, but was followed closely by the Fox drama Empire. The Walking Dead, which even has an entire show dedicated to discussing the show, come in third with Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta and How To Get Away With Murder rounding out the top five.

Top Trending Sports Figures

Just like last year sports figures spend the most time trending nationally. This year Lebron James slipped from his position at the top of list last year to number two behind Tom Brady, who was ranked 6th last year. Stephen Curry makes his debut based on not only his stellar performance in the 2015 NBA Playoffs, but his mind-bending season start this winter. Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose also made the cut this time around.

Top Trending Household Names

We saw the most turnover with this group. None of the figures who made the list last year were able to find a place again. Pop culture proves to be as fickle as it can sometimes feel.

Drake, who used to call us on the phone, certainly doesn’t have the time to do so now. While musicians were the most popular figures outside of sports, Ted Cruz is the odd man out in this crowd. He may be unpopular among his peers, but he’s found a very devoted following on Twitter. Madonna just cracked the top five, proving that Taylor Swift and Adele can still learn a thing or two from the pop queen.

Top Trends By City

The most popular trends nationally also tended to be the top ranked in each city. Over half our cities fit this mold. This is how they broke down by topic:

And what about those cities that didn’t match the overall national top trends? These trends set them apart:

  • The cities themselves! Portland, St. Louis, and Richmond were among cities that topped their own trend lists most frequently this year.
  • Sports! San Francisco loves the Warriors. Boston loves the Bruins. OKC loves the Thunder. None of these cities could stop talking about the teams they love in 2015.
  • South By Southwest dominated Austin, TX and Disney Land did the same for Los Angeles. In these towns their event-based culture came through the noise.

The Final Word

We can’t predict an earth shattering event like “The Dress”– Gold & White easily beat out Blue & Black, by the way. But when aggregating the year together we can discover the what was most frequently on our collective minds. We’re looking forward to what 2016 will bring us and will be right here to make sense out of all of those conversations.

Hungry for even more insight from the data and analytics team at Spredfast? Download the latest Smart Social Report: Volume 3 for new tips to drive smarter social strategy.

December 21, 2015
10 Can't-Miss Spredfast Highlights from 2015
January 6, 2016
Millennial Social Marketing: 3 Rules of the Road
Jason Smith is a Senior Analyst at Spredfast and works to find the underlying story the data is trying to tell. When he isn’t breaking APIs and making charts he can be found playing music around Austin. Follow him on Twitter for general nonsense and various complaints.