Welcome to the August 2023 edition of Top Conversations in Technology, where we break down which topics are leading, rising and falling each month. Our monthly analysis is designed to help technology marketers maximize their 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 July 2023) and year-over-year (versus August 2022).
August’s Top Conversations: I’m guessing, given this month’s data shifts, that at least some of you are reading this post on the most ubiquitous accessory the world has ever known. Seriously, has there ever been a thing that crossed gender, age or socioeconomic boundaries in the same way as this month’s #1 topic – Smartphones? I think not. Without your smartphone, how would you order dinner for tonight, flowers for your mother, or an outfit for your cousin’s wedding, while waiting for the subway and texting your partner that you’re on your way. By doing so, you’ve contributed to the buzz registered by August’s #2 topic, E-commerce, because the two go hand in hand. Fear not, if you were concerned, as #3 Artificial Intelligence continued to show gains in volume (up 4%), but fell out of the #1 spot after three months by not matching the conversational surges of the top two topics. So what happened to drive the shift? Swipe down to continue reading.
The Top 10: August, normally a quieter month, registered surges throughout our analysis, with a few standouts in the Top 10. Smartphones shot up to #1 (up 38%), fueled by lead-up stories to September’s iPhone 15 launch and Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy updates, as well as a bazillion ongoing discussions from teen usage to concert disruptions, and from TikTok bans on government phones to debate about the superiority of blue bubbles versus green (See: Star-Bellied Sneetches). E-commerce ranked #2 (up 100%) linked to media coverage of the UPS strike and resolution, followed by record job applicants. How else will we get all those orders from back-to-school season straight into the holidays? Artificial Intelligence slid to #3 but still grew in volume (up 4%) because like smartphones, AI is also ubiquitous in today’s society. Drones (up 6%) ranked #4 because there’s still a war taking place, and sadly it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. #5 Supply Chain (up 33%) moved back into the top five as supply chains stabilized but fears (and memories) of disruptions remained.
From there, #6 Cryptocurrencies (down from #3, but up 7%) and #8 Bitcoin (down from #4, but up 5%) each reversed four months of losses, but did not post big enough gains to stay in the top five. Wi-Fi climbed from #10 to #7 (up 50%), due in part to the Smartphone surge as the two topics have trended together for a few months. Cybersecurity held position at #9 (up 25%), garnering interest with news from the Black Hat conference in Vegas. Compliance (and its intersection with technology) jumped into the top 10 (up from #12) with a 53% gain in conversation volume linked in part to activation of the EU Digital Services Act on August 25.
What’s Climbing: Outside of the top 10, August had several topic surges in less prominent discussions. Overall, 67% of topics posted gains (161 of 247), with 17 posting triple-digit gains. #206 Cybersecurity Staffing/Burnout topped the climbers, growing 636% from July due to ongoing discussions about staffing shortages as well as blog posts mentioning the IronNet Navy contract (cybersecurity staffing scarcity issues). #90 Passkey (up 338%) posted gains tied to WhatsApp’s passkey plans, along with chatter that both LinkedIn and X are moving in that direction. #222 Asynchronous Video posted a 301% gain as Zoom added an asynchronous video tool and Loom launched AI upgrades to its product line.
Others in the top 100 had impressive gains, including:
- #65 Security Automation (up 259%) grew in part from interest in an IBM study that showed how AI and automation help protect organizations against data breaches;
- #85 ERP (up 201%) grew on discussion about how back-end systems are embracing AI to enhance digital transformation efforts;
- #15 Application Development (up 175%) was linked to development opportunities in both the smartphone and AI discussions;
- #63 Customer Relationship Management (up 111%), #79 Contact Center (up 106%) and #17 Customer Experience (up 76%) were tied together in stories on streamlining customer interactions; and
- #17 Malware (up 93%) increased with mentions of the Biden administration searching for Chinese malware thought to be able to disrupt U.S. military communications.
What’s Falling: Roughly one-third of topics posted declines in August (81 of 247), and only five topics shed more than 50%: #178 Video Messaging (down 82%), #228 Embedded Payments (down 68%), #194 Voice Remote (down 65%), #244 Thermal Monitoring (down 59%) and #219 Surveillance Capitalism (down 53%). Of note, Video Messaging and Embedded Payments were the top gainers in July, demonstrating how reactionary some of these discussions are.
Of the higher-ranking topics that lost ground, #47 Disinformation fell the most (down 24%), followed by #22 Semiconductors (down 19%), #64 NFT (down 14%), #59 Big Data (down 13%) and #48 Metaverse (down 12%). While most of these topics reversed July gains, Metaverse posted its second month of declines and its second lowest point this year.
So What, Now What? We’ve seen quite a bit more movement in our top 10 than usual this year, with three different #1 topics in just six months. Now it’s time to place bets on what will be #1 in September, and how will the top 10 shift along with it. Will Smartphone hold the top spot with more iPhone 15 hype? Is E-Commerce queued for a run-up with holiday shopping around the corner? Or will AI take back #1 as it drives change across a wide swath of topics? And will Crypto and Bitcoin, the darlings of 2022, move back into the top five? All of this, along with rising gas prices and economic uncertainty, will give people plenty to talk about this fall. So what will we read about on our smartphones next?
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.