Welcome to the October 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 September 2021) and year-over-year (versus October 2020).
Big Picture: Are you sick of the phrase “supply chain” yet? Because it was EVERYWHERE in October (with more to come). We saw #supplychaincrisis trending alongside #bareshelvesbiden, and there was nearly infinite media coverage talking about looming port crises, backlogged deliveries and mounting fears of empty shelves heading into the holidays. Supply Chain maintained the #3 spot in our October rankings, registering yet another exponential gain of 137K+ mentions (up 57%) and once again hitting a high point in the history of this 34-month analysis. It was outpaced by only #1 Cryptocurrencies and #2 Bitcoin. And in raw citation volume, Supply Chain ranked closer to these two topics than any other topic we’ve seen.
Fast forward to late November, and stores reportedly have stocked up to avoid a holiday crisis, though there’s ongoing discussions about the shortage of truck drivers to make deliveries. Still, when the Walmart CEO credits President Biden with jumpstarting the supply chain back to life, it feels like a turning point. Fingers crossed, and toilet paper stocked…
Leading Topics: The top 5 was stagnant in October. No changes other than Supply Chain’s continued growth, with modest volume shifts for the other four top topics. #1 Cryptocurrencies and #5 Blockchain each gained 2%, #2 Bitcoin was up 5%. #4 Smartphone lost ground, but it was only down 8%, likely tied to a drop-off after Apple’s “California Streaming” news and its iPhone 13 debut in September.
There was more movement in #6 to #10 rankings. #6 Misinformation was up from #8, posting a 4% increase in coverage volume (about 6K+ mentions). #8 Cybersecurity and # 9 Artificial Intelligence also moved up in the rankings (from #11 and #10, respectively). For Cybersecurity that represented a gain of 9% in citation volume, while for Artificial Intelligence it was a 5% drop. Meanwhile, #7 E-commerce dropped one spot (down 9%). #10 Drones fell the most, down from #7 in the rankings and down 27% in volume from September. 5G was the only topic to drop out of the top 10, shedding 17% of its September coverage volume and falling from #9 to #12.
What’s Climbing: In the “thanks Captain Obvious” category, the term with the biggest volume increase and ranking jump was Metaverse. The topic grew over 200% (from about 15K to about 46K mentions) and moved from #50 to #25 as Facebook, aka Meta, foisted its most recent agenda on the masses. Other top gainers included:
- #85 Domain Name System – up 135%
- #174 Humane Technology – up 79%
- #171 Process Mining – up 79%
- #196 Business Services Management – up 200%
The highest-ranking topic with a substantial gain was #3 Supply Chain. Others in the top 50 with substantial gains included #29 Virtual Reality (up 67%), #46 Domain Name (Up 43%), and #36 Augmented Reality (up 33%). So, no surprises there either, thanks to Facebook, or rather Meta.
What’s Falling: More than half of the topics analyzed (55%, 108 of 196) decreased in citation volume from September to October. Only five of these topics registered drops of 50% or greater. This included:
- #142 Voice Remote – down 96%
- #176 Everything-as-a-Service/XaaS – down 57%
- #112 3D Design – down 53%
- #195 Utility Computing – down 52%
- #186 Emotional AI – down 50%
The average loss in October was 15%, but only seven top 50 terms registered losses at or above that level, including:
- #38 Educational Technology – down 37%
- #39 Big Data – down 30%
- #10 Drone(s) – down 27%
- #49 Call Center(s) – down 24%
- #50 Facial Recognition – down 21%
- #34 Remote Work – down 18%
- #12 5G – down 17%
Looking Ahead: The holiday season is officially upon us. Fingers and toes crossed that the supply chain – and gas prices – will get under control as the year winds down. We’ll be watching to see what topics are trending as we ring out the old and ring in the new. In the meantime, we wish you happy everything and merry all of it.
Questions? Comments? See a topic we are not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.