It's the time of year again that analysts report yet another bumper year for ecommerce trading, and commentators try to predict digital trends for the forthcoming year.

But it's also the time when we gain access to data to help understand what was most talked about online. 

So until the credit card bills arrive from all of that extra online shopping over Christmas 2013, 2013 might seem to be long forgotten. 

The year on Twitter insight is however not forgotten, giving a round up of the most popular trending topics.

What were the top 10 tweet topics? 

It seems us Brits keenly take to Twitter to discuss sporting events, as only two of the top 10 trends aren't sports related.

The top 10 events that created the biggest spikes in UK Twitter traffic in 2013 were:

  1. 5th March: Real Madrid beat Manchester United 2-1, knocking them out of the Champions League.
  2. 1st January: New Year 2013 arrives.
  3. 13th July: British male, Andy Murray wins Wimbledon for the first time since 1936.
  4. 2nd June: England draw 2-2 with Brazil ahead of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
  5. 30th April: Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the Champions League semi-final second leg.
  6. 11th May: Wigan win the FA Cup Final, their first major trophy.
  7. 14th August: England beat Scotland 3-2 in an international friendly at Wembley.
  8. 23rd April: Bayern Munich beat FC Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
  9. 30th June: Mumford and Sons close the Glastonbury Festival, featuring The Vaccines and Vampire Weekend.
  10. 15th October: England beat Poland 2-0 to qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

But the UK top trends weren't all about sport.

What else was talked about?

Major talked-about topics, favourited and retweeted messages showed how Twitter allows fans closer access to their idols and their news, both to celebrate and congratulate but also to offer support and condolences.

Top Twitter themes include the unfortunate deaths of well-loved celebrities (Baroness Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, Cory Monteth and Paul Walker to name a few), breaking One Direction news of engagments, birthdays and pictures of Harry Styles sleeping, and of course the arrival of the royal baby, Prince George.

 Royal Baby tweet

And of course, television, with Twitter supporting 'second-screen' behaviour.  The below example shows live tweeting during the show. 

Made In Chelsea tweets

What about everything else?

There were of course a lot more events, news, and people tweeted about in 2013.

The below lists show topics trending most frequently in the UK in 2013 - whether positive or negative!

Twitter topics UK 2013

So what?

This insight shows is that more than ever, both new and existing audiences are increasingly using Twitter to research, discuss and offer opinions on almost every kind of topic, sharing in the buzz of major events around the globe.

In an ever-changing digital landscape where the role of social media faces greater challenges but also opportunities, Twitter remains one of the fastest channels to gain access to real-time news as it breaks, but also exclusive content from celebrities. 

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Published 20 January, 2014 by Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Simms is a Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult&C Digital and a contributor to Econsultancy. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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Comments (4)

John Waghorn

John Waghorn, Content Marketer at Koozai Ltd

Interesting post and stats here, I’m quite surprised that sport dominates the top ten tweet topics, although there are a lot of teams/events and fans and Murray winning Wimbledon was obviously going to be a big one online. I thought the royal baby would have made an appearance in the top ten though.

It just shows you how prominent social has become in our lives and that second screen behaviour has increased as a result of our habits. It will be interesting to see how these trends adapt over a longer period of time – say in five or ten years.

over 4 years ago

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Harris (was Simms), Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult & C Limited

Hi John -

Me too - I was expecting the baby to to be a top trend.

The only reason I can think of why it wasn't is in the way Twitter has defined it as a 'top trend'. For example, high frequency of tweets in a shorter space of time, and locally (UK) rather than something like the royal baby that was a worldwide topic over at least a couple of days.

Definitely interesting to watch, as the behaviour is almost unrecognisable from say, just 5 years ago.

Thanks for the comment :-)


over 4 years ago

David Buxton

David Buxton, Social Media Manager at Simply Business

Really surprised to see Iain Banks (bloody brilliant author) topping the UK news chart. Sadly he passed away last year, which will be the reason he's included.

Still some solid stats here. Thanks.

over 4 years ago


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over 4 years ago

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