What Were July’s Hottest Topics on Facebook?

Labdanum and monk fruit, among others

Ever heard of labdanum? Monk fruit? White mulberry, perhaps? If not, it might be worth Googling some of July's buzziest Facebook topics.

For the latest installment in an ongoing monthly series with Adweek, Facebook analyzed data on the terms gaining the most traction on the social network.

Even if you do Google any of those terms, you won't find much recent coverage. For instance, Monk fruit, a natural sweetener, received a throwaway mention Tuesday in a Chicago Tribune story about sports drinks for kids. Labdanum, a gum resin found in a European plant, is reportedly useful for making manly candles or infusing gin. But what's more curious is why these obscure items gaining so much attention online.

According to Facebook's analysis, conversation volume for monk fruit—which is often used in association with other fruity words like "grapes," "pomegranates" and "strawberries"—grew more than 12 times since last July. Meanwhile, mentions of labdanum grew sevenfold on a year-over-year basis. Associated words for that term included "cologne," "flowers," "essential oils" and "herbs." 

However, July wasn't only about tastes and smells. Mentions of chicken and waffles increased by 5.7 times, which might be a signal for chefs to try out the savory-sweet combo before the trend gets too sticky. Mentions of computer programming were also up, as was the use of "gloss" (whether that's berry, cappuccino or honey rose).

While the collective list might seem somewhat disparate, marketers probably shouldn't ignore what everyone's talking about—whether they're thinking about ingredients for a new product or tie-ins for a new campaign.

This isn't the first time Facebook's analysis has revealed some odd trends. June's hottest topics included sashiko stitching, primer (for cosmetics), and "do-it-yourself biology. Dialogue in March revolved around wuxia, kalamkari and Buddha's hand.