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Trending Reels on Instagram: How to Find Them + 9 of the Best From 2024

How to find Instagram reel trends while they're still hot enough to make an impact, along with some of the best we’ve seen on the platform this year. 

May 29, 2024 8 min readInstagram
Photo of Kirsti Lang
Kirsti Lang

Content Writer @ Buffer

It’s no secret that Instagram Reels might be your golden ticket to building a following on the platform. 

“The most effective way to grow on Instagram is to consistently create engaging reels, as reels are the best way to reach new audiences,” Instagram Creator Partnerships at Meta Carly Lynn said in a video shared by the social platform’s Creator account.

It doesn’t get much clearer than that — and Buffer data supports this. 

After analyzing more than 5 million Instagram posts sent through Buffer, our data scientists pinpointed reels as the best type of content to post on Instagram for engagement (one of the strongest signals in the Instagram algorithm). 

Great! But it's easier said than done. Regularly creating engaging reels to grow your Instagram account is no mean feat — which is why tapping into Instagram Reel trends should be an essential part of your marketing strategy as a brand or creator.   

Trending reels on Instagram offer a low-lift way to create content you know Instagram users are already enjoying (and put your own special spin on things, of course.)

In this guide, we’ll unpack exactly how to discover those reels trends while they’re still hot enough to make an impact, along with some of the best Instagram reels trends we’ve seen on the platform this year. 

We’ll go beyond simple trending reels songs here and examine the full video package — the formats, the edits, the memes, and more. While the trending audio is important and can help expand brand visibility, it’s only one piece of the reels content puzzle. 

Hear that? The Explore page is calling.

Just looking for trending audio? We have a guide to help you there, too. Here’s how to find trending sounds on Instagram →

If you’re based in the U.S., there’s a really quick and easy way to find all the new trends currently making waves on the platform. (If you’re not, no sweat — plenty of other routes exist. Scroll on.)

Here’s how to do it. 

  • Head over to your Instagram profile on the app by tapping your profile picture on the bottom right of your screen. 
  • Tap the three horizontal lines on the top right to open the Settings and activity menu.
  • Tap Reels Trends. Here, you can see what sounds and hashtags are trending on Instagram Reels right now. 

Do some digging when you find one that feels like it might be a good fit for your target audience or content pillars. How are other creators tapping into the trend? Is there a specific format that matches the audio? Is there a reels template from another creator you can use to create your own reel faster? (You’ll see a little button that says “Template by…” on the bottom left of the reel if that’s the case.)

If you’re not based in the U.S. and don’t have access to this nifty guide, there are other routes to finding trending reels you can use (and ones that might work a little better for your niche, too).

2. Create a reel 

Did you know Instagram recommends trending reels for your region right in the reel creation screen? Even if you’re not based in the U.S., this method should be available for you. Here’s how: 

  • Tap on the + create button on the bottom middle of the app, then choose Reel.
  • At the top of the screen, tap Templates.
A way to find trending reels on Instagram

Here, you’ll find two categories of templates you can tap into — Recommended for you and Trending. Both will have a host of great options you can choose from. 

The best part? The templates are premade, so you’ll be able to add your own clips and recreate the effect within a few minutes. No muss, no fuss. 

3. The Instagram Creators account

Instagram’s @Creators account is a must-follow for handy tips and tricks from influencers, creators, and other platform experts. 

They regularly share Instagram tips and tricks, current reel trends, filming, editing, and transition tutorials, along with new Instagram features to try out. 

For extra content creation help, you can join the Creators broadcast channel to have news of Instagram’s latest features and trends sent straight to your Instagram inbox. Sign up here

4. TikTok’s Creative Center

As a video-first platform, TikTok is often the place where social media trends are planted and bloom, sprawling over onto other platforms as they grow. You’ll find plenty of current Instagram Reels trends originated on TikTok. 

This doesn’t mean switching allegiance to the platform if you’re a die-hard Instagrammer. TikTok has a helpful resource for creators on the hunt for the latest and greatest video trends: their Creative Center

Here, you’ll find access to a trends chart for everything from trending TikTok sounds and songs to hashtags, and the short-form videos themselves. The trending TikTok Videos tab can be particularly helpful in identifying viral moments early. 

Be sure to filter your search by your target audience’s region for best results.

TikTok's creative center is a great source of trending reels
Be more consistent on Instagram by planning and scheduling your content in advance. You can schedule posts, carousels, stories, and reels with Buffer! Here's how →

Let’s scroll through some of this year's top Instagram Reels trends. 

1. “Looking for a man in…”

Speaking of TikTok trends that spill over onto Instagram — this one might just be the biggest of 2024. In fact, I’d only just managed to get this earworm out of my head when I sat down to write this article, but this list would not be complete without it. 

Creator Megan Boni went viral after announcing she was looking for a man in finance (6”5, blue eyes, etc., etc.), which producers then picked up and turned into a trending sound (as producers are wont to do).

The trend can be used in a host of ways. The most obvious is showcasing clips or photos applicable to the original audio, as @realm.of.rae has done below. 

As a business or brand account, though, this trend offers a great way to showcase the benefits you can offer clients by replacing the original lyrics with your own, as @stanforcreators has done here:

2. “All that work”

This is another versatile lipsync trend that has been dominating feeds in 2024. The track, from an episode of Glee, contains the lyrics, “All that work and what did it get me?”

The trend is best used along with text over your reel to showcase a moment of irony or frustration — usually in a tongue-in-cheek way. 

3. Me and my friends when…

This trend is one with no specific audio attached but a video meme (can videos be memes?) from the 2011 movie Crazy Stupid Love. 

The clip, best overlaid over your own photos or videos, shows Ryan Gosling snickering next to a despondent Steve Carrell, then panning to a beat-up Kevin Bacon and John Carroll Lynch after a brawl that ends in them almost being arrested. (Here’s the moment for the movie, if you fancy a chuckle.)

The simplest way to create this video is with a template via the video editing app, CapCut (it’s a must-use tool if you’re looking to tap into trends like this one). 

To do so, download the CapCut app, then head over to this link to access the template. The template features an overlay of the Crazy Stupid Love scene, allowing you to add in your clips below. 

4. Millennial vs. Gen Z

This broad trend is great if you count Gen Zs and millennials among your target audience or customer base. It’s a slightly higher lift, but high-impact format that will have your followers rolling their eyes at the opposing generation. 

It’s straightforward to create: Ask a member of each cohort to mime actions like answering a phone or taking a photo (surprisingly different in just one generation). I’ve seen this slow-burn trend used by lifestyle creators and businesses alike. 

The clip below by @muzungusisters is a brilliant example of how brands can tap into the format and showcase their products at the same time. (Give this social media manager a raise, please.)

5. Cillian Murphy moments

For an actor, Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy is not great at hiding his annoyance and boredom during interviews — which has become another goofy meme trend in 2024.

The clips of Cillian (there are several options) are best overlaid over your own photos or clips to show a moment of frustration, along with some text on the video for context. CapCut has another handy template that will help you whip this up in a few minutes. 

6. “There would be signs”

This trend involves overlaying the simple text “If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t tell anyone, but there would be signs,” over clips or photos of things you love. 

It’s a great opportunity for travel creators to show off their adventures, or decor creators their latest projects. 

It’s also a simple way for brands to show off their products, in the simple way @jdsports has done below. 

7. Squeak around

This goofy skit might just be my favorite trend on the list. The remix version of the 90s hip-hop classic Jump Around has been overlaid with a weird squeak — which lends itself to reluctantly dragging yourself somewhere you don’t want to go. 

It’s most often used by fitness creators to show themselves crawling to their workouts, as @fitsportsmom has done below.

Aesthetician @beautyby_cici put her own spin on the trend showing the realities of running a small business.

8. The stacked horizontal collage

Let’s face it — the portrait aspect ratio can sometimes be limiting — so it’s little wonder that travel creators and others who have some epic landscape shots to show off have jumped on this stacked horizontal collage trend. 

Thanks to their Layouts feature, it’s really easy to do with Instagram. Creator @theangelbarclay shows you exactly how to do it in the reel below. 

9. “The asylum where they raised me”

What would a social media trends list be without a Taylor Swift track? Her latest album, The Tortured Poets Society, has spawned a whole subset of trending clips, but the track, Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me might be the most popular. 

The lyrics from the trending song go, “You wouldn’t last an hour in the asylum where they raised me,” which is being used by creators and businesses to show having overcome a particular struggle, or just something bizarre from their childhood. 

Artist @figisisters nails the latter in this clip:

Reel ‘em in

If you’ve created a reel with one of the trending videos in this guide, we’d love to see it! Tag @buffer on Instagram so we can find it. 

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