Welcome to the April 2021 edition of Top Conversations in Technology, where we break down which topics are leading, rising and falling each month to help technology marketers maximize relevance and adapt to changing market dynamics. In this month’s analysis, we focus on variations in news and blog citation volumes month-over-month (versus March 2021) and year-over-year (versus April 2020).
Trending: So, it’s interesting to see how tech conversations are shifting now that COVID is fading in the U.S. (fingers crossed). Availability of vaccines has pushed people into post-pandemic life (or at least post-pandemic thinking) that has brought about a renewed focus on technology discussions like Artificial Intelligence (#8, its highest ranking in a year), Drones (#10, second time in the top 10 this year, third time in 12 months) and Autonomous Vehicles (#45, up from #70 in April 2020 and the highest–ranking term with an increase over 40%).
#1 Bitcoin and #2 Cryptocurrencies are still at the center of, well, everything, right now. And the real winner of 2021 so far: Blockchain. The topic registered roughly 75K stories in April 2019 but dropped to 39K stories in April 2020. Now, in the crazy, meme-stock filled days of April 2021, Blockchain is up to #4 (compared to #20 a year earlier). It registered an average of 110K stories per month in 2021 thus far. This compares to an average of about 46K stories per month in 2020. So, as we say in media measurement, line goes up.
Top 10 Analysis: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies maintained the top two spots in April, with marginal gains (up 1% and 9%) over March but impressive gains (up 141% and 142%) from a year earlier. Smartphones held firm at #3 despite a 7% drop in story volume. Bitcoin ranked #4, pushing Supply Chain down to #5 and E-commerce down to #6. Of the others, 5G (#7, up from #8), Artificial Intelligence (#8, up from #10), and Drones (#10, up from #12) all showed rank gains despite volume drops. Video Conferencing (#9, down from #7) fell in both rank and volume. Misinformation slipped to its lowest ranking since the U.S. presidential election (#14, down from #9).
What’s Climbing: Overall, there were fewer gains from March to April – only 61 topics showed volume increases, versus 152 that grew volume from February to March. Five low-ranking topics showed gains of 100% or more in April including #136 Enterprise Video (up 153%), #188 Business Services Management (up 150%), #162 Location Tracking/Privacy (up 123%), #180 Thermal Monitoring (up 113%) and #174 Humane Technology (up 103%). Only one other topic, #121 Conversational AI (up 50%), showed a gain of 50% or more. The highest–ranking topic with the biggest gain was #45 Autonomous Vehicle(s), up 44% from March in part due to the ongoing crypto boom and Tesla’s comments about payment options.
What’s Falling: Asynchronous Video, which had posted a sizable gain from February to March (up 218%), registered the biggest drop from March to April (down 78%), demonstrating the “line goes down” principle in media measurement. Other big drops included #96 Election Security (down 55%), #148 Supply Chain Security/Cybersecurity (down 49%), #165 Function as a Service/FaaS (down 48%), #152 Encryption Keys (down 47%), #176 Decentralized Trials (down 42%) and Identity Protection (down 40%). Perhaps the best news this month, however, is that the highest–ranking term with the largest decline was #18 Layoffs/Furloughs, which lost ground in both rankings (down from #11) and in story volume (down 39%) compared to March.
With May on deck, and more of life heading toward the new-new normal, it will be interesting to see if optimism remains about emerging technologies and economic trends. Come back in a few weeks to see what the May numbers say!
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.