AI and Geopolitics continue to dominate European tech influencers online discourse

With the first quarter of 2024 now in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for the latest quarterly analysis of Tyto’s Relevance Index™ which tracks the most important topics and issues discussed by Europe’s most influential tech experts. How has the online conversation shifted and evolved over the last three months across the UK, Germany and France?

Year over year, the ‘big three’ tech topics continue to dominate 

The Tyto Relevance Index has now been running long enough for us to make year-over-year comparisons of our quarterly data. With this lens, we can see that certain themes remain as relevant and widely discussed as ever. For instance, we see that the top three most dominant tech topics in Q1 2024 remain the same as last year: AI & ML (36%), Data economy (16%) and Cybersecurity (12%). These three tech topics account for close to two thirds (64%) of all the social media posts about the tech topics we analyse published by European tech influencers over the past three months. And compared to last year, this trio have increased their share of the conversation by nearly 7 percentage points (p.p). 

These three topics continue to dominate tech discussions, but there are some regional variations. Over the last three months, AI & ML and Data economy occupy the first and second position in the rankings for all three countries, but the third position is different. In the UK and France it is Cybersecurity, but in Germany it is GreenTech, while Cybersecurity ranks fourth. This trend has continued since the previous quarter. 

Also, even though AI & ML remains the most discussed topic of conversation in the UK (31%), Germany (37%) and France (43%), over the last quarter it has decreased its relevance in both the French (-4 p.p) and German (-2.8 p.p) rankings. 

While the top three spots of our pan-European table continue to be stable, we have seen significant changes elsewhere in the rankings. For example, on a year-on-year comparison, GreenTech and Privacy & Data governance achieved the most significant increases in relevance, moving from 7th and 8th place in last year’s ranking to 4th and 5th this year. Meanwhile, the biggest downward trajectory was Virtualisation, which moved from 4th place in Q1 2023 to 7th in Q1 2024. 

Understanding these regional variations between the UK, France and Germany this quarter is critical when planning pan-European communications programmes. Knowing which tech topics are gaining and losing relevance can help communicators reach their key audiences and decide whether to shift their approach.

Geopolitical conflict & instability remains at the forefront of socio-economic discussions 

The last three months have witnessed significant developments in the war in Ukraine as well as the ongoing conflict in Gaza. As such, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Geopolitical conflict & instability continues to be the most discussed socio-economic topic in Q1 2024 among European tech influencers, accounting for 21% of online conversation. Climate change remains in 2nd place, accounting for 14% of conversation with a drop in relevance of 3.9 p.p, while Transportation maintains its 3rd place with a 9.6% share of the conversation, though it also displays a downward trend of 0.2 p.p. 

Geopolitical conflict & instability remains the leading socio-economic topic of discussion in France (37.9%) and Germany (24.3%). It rises in relevance the most in Germany, in comparison to other countries, by 2.5 p.p. However, in the UK, it is the second most discussed topic and decreased in relevance by 1.3 p.p. The top topic in the UK is Climate change for yet another consecutive quarter, accounting for 17.5% of all conversation in the region. 

Looking back to a year ago, there have been some intriguing developments to our socio-economic index. On a year-on-year basis, Geopolitical conflict & instability and Climate change have swapped 1st and 2nd place, while Health risks has dropped from 3rd place to 5th behind Transportation and Social inequality.  

There are other notable year-over-year comparisons. The topic of Trust saw the highest increase in relevance, moving from 12th in the rankings in Q1 2023 to 8th in Q1 2024. Conversely, Future of work sank from 8th place in 2023 to 13th in 2024.  

How have the regional indexes developed over the year from Q1 2023 to Q1 2024? In France, Social inequality and Climate change switched places from being 5th and 2nd rank respectively in 2023 to 2nd and 5th rank in 2024. Future of work saw a significant decrease in Germany, falling from 5th place in 2023 to 11th place this year. And in the UK, the Brexit topic saw the most significant decrease in relevance, moving from 10th place in 2023 to 15th – last position – in 2024. 

It’s also worth mentioning how the index has become more concentrated year over year. In Q1 2023, there were four topics that each accounted for more than 10% of online conversations: Climate change (17.1%), Geopolitical conflict & instability (16.2%), Health risks (10.4%) and Transportation (10.2%). This quarter, just two topics achieved this: Geopolitical conflict & instability (21%), and Climate change (14.4%). 

In the previous quarterly analysis, we discussed how there appears to be more scope for conversations around a larger number of socio-economic topics compared to tech, due to the greater spread of discussion among those topics.  

While this is still broadly the case (the top five socio-economic topics make up 62.5% of all social posts published by European tech influencers in the last quarter, while the top five tech topics account for 79.4%), it’s worth pointing out that there is a clear outlier in the Geopolitical conflict & instability topic. This theme makes up more than a third of online conversation in France, and nearly a quarter in Germany. Companies may feel uncomfortable about getting too ‘political’, but they may need to consider factoring geopolitics into their communications in the future.

Gain insight to prepare for the months ahead 

As we look ahead to the rest of 2024, Tyto’s Relevance Index™ can offer valuable guidance to communicators and help them shape and adapt their strategies. The index highlights the challenges and opportunities presented by emerging trends in European tech and socio-economic landscapes, and understanding these trends is critical for businesses, policymakers, and individuals. 

To view the data for yourself, you can access the Tyto Relevance Index™ here – it’s free to subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter.