Food, Health and Beauty Topped Facebook IQ’s Topics to Watch for July 2019

Aglaonema house plants cracked the list, as well

Conversation about New Mexico chile soared 13.8 times year-over-year maxsol7/iStock

Facebook users looked to add some green to their living spaces in July, as aglaonema was one of Facebook IQ’s Topics to Watch for the month.

Discussion about aglaonema and associated topics spathiphyllum, philodendron, dieffenbachia, araceae, alocasia, evergreen, monstera deliciosa, pothos, monstera and terracotta was up 3.9 times compared with July 2018 and 0.7 times versus June, driven largely by women 25 through 49.

Facebook IQ wrote, “The houseplant craze continues as millennials seek to add to their indoor gardens. Aglaonema is a popular option, characterized by its aesthetically pleasing leaves marked with streaks of pink. For city dwellers, aglaonemas are an appealing option, as they require limited light and minimal care. And these plants are now available from online retailers, making it easier than ever for people to jazz up their homes with natural life. For many, the appeal is both aesthetic and health-related—in addition to adding a touch of green to urban spaces, plants are said to purify indoor air. Plants continue to grow in popularity, as people discover monsteras, pothos and aglaonema varieties online and share photos of their green spaces on social media.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Facebook users’ appetites went south last month, as conversation about cuisine of the Southern U.S. and associated topics brown sauce, comfort food, dessert, cooking, grits, fried chicken, food, gravy, shrimp and garlic soared 10.3 times year-over-year and 1.5 times month-over-month.

Women 50 and older dominated the discussion.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “From chicken and dumplings to soul food, Southern dishes have continually trended on Facebook. Now, the broader cuisine is sparking conversations. People are exploring what makes Southern cooking so unique, from its multifaceted roots to the variety of dishes. For some, Southern food is characterized by the use of meat, while others see the flavor profile as distinctive. Chefs have been adapting and spreading this cuisine nationwide, creating vegan interpretations of classic meat-based dishes and adding modern twists to traditional foods. While the cuisine has existed for generations, it’s seeing a surge in popularity as new audiences discover what makes these foods so special.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Getting that hair out of there was also a heavy topic of discussion among women 25 and older in July,

Conversation about intense pulsed light—along with associated topics laser hair removal, hair removal, epilator, melanin, acne, hair follicle, laser, face and hair—was up 3.3 times versus July 2018 and 0.9 times compared with June.

Facebook IQ wrote, “A relatively new technology in the beauty world, intense pulsed light is used to remove hair and improve skin. IPL works by delivering a broad spectrum burst of light that can be programmed to target specific skin issues or hair growth. It’s similar to laser treatments, which use light and heat to affect parts of the skin. But unlike laser treatments, intense pulsed light tools can be calibrated to target a range of conditions, depending on an individual’s needs. Skin-care experts are praising photo facials, a skin treatment that utilizes IPL to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin discoloration. As new technology enters the beauty industry, people are interested in testing out innovative methods for maintaining—and improving—their skin.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Back to the table, conversation about New Mexico chile and associated topics avocados, chile relleno, monterey jack, chile, New Mexico, chili pepper, Colorado, onion, cheese and bacon heated up 13.8 times year-over-year and 1.5 times versus June.

Women 35 and older accounted for a slightly larger portion of the discussion.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “New Mexican chiles are a staple in the state and are incorporated into a range of dishes—from burritos to lasagna. These chiles are known for their subtle, spicy flavor, and they can be eaten either green or red, depending on the desired intensity. Many of these chiles are known as “Hatch chiles,” hailing from Hatch Valley in the state. Now, they’re gaining nationwide popularity: A heated online feud even emerged recently between Colorado and New Mexico residents over which state had the best chiles. And New Mexican chilies are even taking off beyond Earth: A variety was chosen for an expedition to space, as scientists seek to better understand how different foods can be grown outside of our planet. People across the nation are spicing things up with New Mexico chiles, and the buzz seems set to grow.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

Women 35 and older were still careful about their diets, however, as they led a 2.4 times year-over-year gain and a doubling compared with June of conversation about saturated fat.

Associated topics included sodium, dietary fiber, cholesterol, fat, calorie, protein, diet, green bean, sugar and carbohydrate.

Facebook IQ wrote, “Saturated fat: Healthy or unhealthy? This has long been debated by people looking to eat healthier and lose weight. Foods that are high in saturated fat include various cuts of beef, lamb and pork, as well as dairy products like butter and cheese. Some diets encourage people to restrict their consumption of saturated fat, while other newly popularized ones, like the paleo or keto regimes, promote high fat foods and a reduction in carbohydrates. The main risk associated with eating too much saturated fat is an increase in cholesterol, which can lead to heart problems. As people explore the latest diets, they’re also looking to live a more balanced life and understand the factors that make food healthy or unhealthy.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

And with summer came discussion of sunscreen and associated topics makeup, oxybenzone, zinc oxide, skin cancer, ultraviolet, moisturizer, sunburn, lotion, skin and sun.

Conversation volume was up 1.6 times from July 2018 and 1.2 times compared with June, dominated by women 25 and older.

The social network’s research arm wrote, “Sunscreen has long been accepted as a way to prevent sun damage and signs of premature aging. Now, people are considering the ingredients in their sunscreen and how safe they are for their bodies and the environment. Many sunscreens use a mix of ingredients to protect skin from the sun, ranging from minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate. Recent studies have encouraged people to reconsider the types of sunscreen they use, as some of the common chemical ingredients can pose health risks and damage coral reefs. In response to these concerns, many brands have launched mineral-only sunscreens, which protect skin and the environment. Some also now label their products as reef-safe to alleviate concerns. As consumers explore the health implications of their products and the effects on the environment, they increasingly expect brands to be transparent about these issues and to develop products in a safe and conscientious way.”

Facebook IQ
Facebook IQ

We learned these things from Facebook IQ’s latest data chart called Topics to Watch, which is designed to help marketers know what subjects to look out for on the social network. The topics are based on trending data, and Adweek readers get an exclusive look at them each month.


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