Is Exploding Topics better than Google Trends? A full review
I discovered Exploding Topics when they first launched on Product Hunt. I love tools like this so I had to try it.
Since finding Exploding Topics I’ve been a subscriber to their weekly newsletter (free to join) and have paid for their pro version.
Exploding Topics was created by Josh Howarth and later acquired by SEO expert Brian Dean. Since Brian joined the company its grown considerably and the business now does $3.2 million in recurring revenue.
What is Exploding Topics
A newsletter and paid tool that shows you popular topics people are searching for online. It’s useful for people who want to understand what is trending in their industry or niche.
Is it the same as Google Trends?
First, let’s discuss the elephant in the room. Is Exploding Topics just a paid version of Google Trends?
On the surface, both tools seem to offer the same thing.
But there is one simple difference: With Google Trends you have to dig for the data, with Exploding Topics it’s served to you on a plate.
Digging for data may sound like hard work but I actually enjoy it. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Google Trends. In fact, I wrote a guide on google trends.
But digging takes time and you don’t always know what to look for. This is where Exploding Topics comes in
Let’s look at a specific example.
If I were a travel business I could enter keywords such as “flights” or “hotels” into Google Trends. This would give me the trend graph for these words. But it would be difficult to get a broader view of everything currently trending in Travel.
With Exploding Topics I can choose the Travel category and see that topics such as “sustainable aviation fuel”, “nomad visa” and “safetywing” are all trending topics.
How to use it
There are two ways to use Exploding Topics:
I think signing up to the exploding topics newsletter is a no brainer.
The pro service gives you access to a database of trending topics. Exploding Topics offers a $1 trial for 7 days which is a great way to use the service yourself.
Plans start at $39 p/mo. Here is a picture of all the pricing options for Exploding Topics (As of September 2023)
A tour of Exploding Topics pro
After signing up you will be asked to choose a handful of categories that you are interested in.
These categories help exploding topics show you related trends in the “Recommended Trends” section of the dashboard.
The dashboard is your starting point. It shows you any projects you have saved as well as trending products and recommended trends. I didn’t make use of the project feature so the dashboard wasn’t of much use but I guess you need to start somewhere.
The trends database is the core of the product. It’s probably the #1 reason you sign up for Exploding Topics. The database lists current and past trending topics. You can filter the topics by date range, category and status.
There are 3 different statuses:
This is handy if you want to only see the exploding topics that have seen a more aggressive rise in popularity.
There is an ability to search for topics but it is limited to approximately 10 results. To fully search the database you need to pay extra for an “investor” account.
In my opinion, this feature should be included in all standard accounts as it does make finding more specific topics harder.
My only other criticism is that topics are very loosely categorized. I did find topics appearing in categories I didn’t think were relevant.
Something that Exploding Topics doesn’t heavily promote is its trending products database.
The feature lets you quickly see products that are currently trending. I love that you can see a picture of the products. The filters are also really useful as you can filter products by Price, estimated Monthly sales and estimated revenue.
Perfect use cases for Exploding Topics
Ecommerce business owners
Between the trends and trending products database, I think direct-to-consumer entrepreneurs and businesses have a lot to love about Exploding Topics. Trending products make it a great source of information if a business is looking for new products or categories to invest in.
Whether you write blog posts or create video content, Exploding Topics is a useful tool to come up with new content ideas.
The website clearly has VCs and investors using the service. I’m not a VC so I can’t comment on how useful it is but I imagine it can serve as a reasonable data point for markets, industries and niches that are growing.
In my day to day, I don’t have a specific use case for Exploding Topics pro but I stay signed up to the newsletter because I find the information really interesting. I think a lot of people who try the service are curious about what’s trending.
Can it be used as a keyword research tool?
No, it’s not a keyword research tool. Sure, you can use Exploding Topics as part of a keyword research process but it isn’t going to replace tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush.
But that’s okay, it isn’t designed to be a keyword research tool per se. As part of your SEO strategy you could definitely use Exploding Topics as a way of finding new content ideas.
What are the alternatives
- Google Trends (free alternative)
This is the most obvious alternative to Exploding Topics. It’s Google’s free service that lets you see how searches are trending over time. It does require a little more digging for the information you need but it’s a fantastic tool and completely free.
- Pinterest Trends Tool (free alternative)
A hugely underrated tool is the pinterest trends. It’s fantastic for anyone in the DTC space looking for trending product ideas or content ideas. I rarely see this one talked about so make sure you have a look.
- Glimpse (free/paid alternative)
Glimpse actually started before Exploding Topics and has quietly evolved into a slightly different product. Both have a free newsletter but Glimpse has doubled down on their chrome extension which works with Google Trends. The service is slightly more aimed at the SEO market as it offers keyword and search volume data. It’s worth installing the chrome extension and having a play with it.
- TrendHunter (free/paid alternative)
TrendHunter is an established website that collects popular trends from every industry around the world. The data comes from a large team of “hunters” who are supposedly tastemakers in their fields. I can’t vouch for the reliability of the trends but I do enjoy visiting the website from time to time.
- Treendly (paid alternative)
I haven’t used Treendly but it is often mentioned as an alternative. From the homepage the product looks very similar to Exploding Topics and also comes with a similar price point.
- Thieve (free/paid alternative)
If the product database in Exploding Topics is something you are interested in then I recommend also trying Theive. This tool specializes in trending products and is aimed at dropshippers.
 How I Run a $3.2M Business With 0 Employees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4u8kQlIzFk