Welcome to the September 2020 edition of Top Conversations in Tech, 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 August 2020) and year-over-year (versus September 2019).
In the top 10, we saw modest shifts month to month with no changes to the top 10 – and only one topic moving more than three spots (drones from #7 to #10). In fact, only two topics in the top 10 registered coverage volume gains: #1 Layoffs/Furloughs (+1%) and #9 Artificial Intelligence (+8%). Ranking shifts were driven more by which topics lost ground than which showed the most growth.
At the top, Layoffs/Furloughs retook the #1 spot after ranking #3 in August. Contact Tracing slipped to #2 and dropped to its lowest article volume since March, after peaking in May with nearly 240,000 stories. Similarly, Videoconferencing slid to #4 with a decline of 21% versus August, and a decline of roughly two-thirds from its April 2020 peak. Those two declines helped E-commerce move up to #3 and helped Supply Chain break into the top five for the first time (despite both topics experiencing a 10% decline month over month).
Educational Technology, which had been steadily climbing since mid-summer, dropped to #6, followed by 5G (#7), Wi-Fi (#8) and Artificial Intelligence (#9), each of which climbed one spot in September.
Beyond the top 10, some of the “biggest gains” were new additions to our list, including Humane Technology (+297%), Attention Model (+233%) and Surveillance Capitalism (+90%). Other high–growth topics in September were Software–Defined Storage (+96%), Voice Remote (73%), Financial Software (54%) and Data Warehousing (+50%). The latter rose to #67 thanks in large part to Snowflake’s very successful IPO.
As we’ve seen in previous months, “biggest losses” were less dramatic. There were no declines greater than 70%, and only four topics shed 50% or more of their conversation volume: Domain Name System (-66%), Location Tracking/Privacy (-57%), Smart Home (-53%) and Business Services Management (-50%). Ironically, despite many of us working from home, Smart Home dropped from #22 to #35.
So, heading into fall, what do we see? Educational Technology discussions will likely cool as people settle into school, though Digital Divide may get more attention due to disparities in broadband access across the country. COVID topics will continue to rank high with no end in sight, although the meteoric spikes in conversation volume have subsided. And with an election only days away, we expect Election Security (currently #39) to spike in the October and November rankings, and potentially bump Cybersecurity into the top 10. To that end, we may need to add “disinformation” and “misinformation” to the list…
Questions? Comments? See a topic we’re not tracking? Please share below, and we will address in future installments.