Why Facebook Marketers Should Consider Targeting Science Brainiacs

Modern physics trends upward

With the help of Facebook IQ on Tuesday, we took a look at which topics on Facebook and Instagram were unusually buzzy in April—the ninth installment in a series from the social media company and Adweek.

Today, we're taking a glimpse of what subjects will likely create the most chatter on Facebook in the coming weeks, with a data visualization called Topics to Watch that should both help brands plan for contextual marketing efforts and inspire product developers.

For instance, "modern physics" stands out as a growing conversation piece on Facebook. It appears to be a part of a larger trend in the "educational entertainment" category, which was also a burgeoning topic in March. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau's buzzy explanation of quantum computing in mid-April probably helped drive such Facebook chatter. 

It begs the question: Has science gone pop? In a world where Neil deGrasse Tyson is a mainstream celebrity, the answer is probably yes. 

Here's a better question: Has there been enough ad creative centering on modern physics and other scientific topics? Maybe not. 

Check out the six Topics to Watch below and scroll down for more on how these items of social conversation could interest the advertising community. 


Wow, cowboys are making a comeback. It's hard to know why this topic is popping, but ad creatives may want to take note.

Global cuisine is another interesting one, and it's probably something certain restaurant brands that offer international flavors can tap into. 

What's probably most intriguing is the growing chatter around large-format photography. In a selfie-driven, smartphone-crazed, small-screen world, that development seems counterintuitive. But perhaps good ole photography is like a sister outlier to vinyl records, which continues to experience a renaissance.

And maybe that's where cowboys fit in as well. Human culture has become so digital in relatively such little time, there's bound to be a notable recoil at some point. The digital-detox hype in recent years has seemed just that—hype—but maybe it's very real or at least becoming very real. 

Here's how Facebook IQ's methodology for Topics to Watch works: Its predictive tools analyze the long-term consistent growth of a topic on Facebook. Using data from hundreds of thousands of conversations, the social network said it's able to forecast what discussions will continue to escalate—based on how other topics normally trend upward in volume, variance and rates of consistent growth.

When predicting whether chatter around specific topics will increase, Facebook stated that in early tests it has been 80 percent accurate so far.