To mark the first year of the Tyto Relevance Index™, we recently looked at the technology and socio-economic trends that emerged across Europe. This time, we delve into country comparisons using the first full year’s worth of data. Understanding the differences, intricacies and nuances between each European region is what makes pan-European campaigns succeed or fail. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to Europe and, with the Tyto Relevance Index™, we are now uniquely able to add data insights to the expertise of our consultants on-the-ground.
Here’s what we can learn from social media conversations among the most influential people in tech across France, Germany and the UK.
Attitudes to AI
Unlike France and Germany, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) was not the hottest topic in town in the UK when the Index first started. It occupied third position in September and November last year with around 14% of the share of conversation, just ahead of GreenTech but behind Cybersecurity and Data economy. For comparison, Cybersecurity held just over 23% and Data economy held just over 16% in November. It was only after the launch of ChatGPT that the AI & ML topic shot to the number one spot, claiming first place and a share of 23.5% the following month. In France and Germany, conversations around AI remained higher than the UK after the launch of ChatGPT at a 32% share in France, and over a quarter (27.4%) in Germany.
All three countries saw huge increases on this topic across the year, reaching peaks of 49.9% share of the conversation in France, 42.3% in Germany, and 34.3% in the UK. Interestingly though, both Germany and the UK saw their highest peaks in May of this year, whereas France saw its highest three months later in August.
The German and UK peaks coincided with Geoffrey Hinton ‘the Godfather of AI’ sensationally leaving Google at the beginning of May and warning of the danger AI poses. This was followed by a statement at the end of the month from Hinton and other experts, including from DeepMind and OpenAI, that ‘mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war’. In France, the driver of its biggest peak is less obvious but there was a great deal of discussion over the future of work, the skills most resilient to AI and the jobs most at risk.
Differing tech priorities
In the UK, the most relevant tech topics outside AI & ML were Cybersecurity, with 19% of all social posts across the last 12 months, and Data economy at 16%. Cybersecurity is a particularly relevant topic in the UK, where it was number one before AI claimed its mantle and is the only market of the three where it features consistently in the top five, and is often in the top two. In France, it tends to sit around the number 6 position (around the 5% SoV mark) although it did rise sharply last quarter to become the fourth most relevant topic with a 6.6% SoV. However, in Germany, Cybersecurity rarely threatens the top positions and was only the ninth most relevant topic across the last 12 months with 4.9% SoV.
Data economy (14% of all social posts) also featured in the top three in France, alongside Virtualisation at 10%. France bucks the trend when it comes to Virtualisation, where it remains highly relevant in comparison to the UK and especially to Germany. In the UK, it consistently ranked sixth for 11 of the last 12 months, but in Germany the topic saw a massive decline, dropping a substantial 13.13 percentage points YoY. It fell consistently each month from second position in September 2022 (15.1% SoV) to tenth in September 2023 (2%).
Germany displayed a much more dynamic debate across the year with 6 topics featuring in the top 3 across the year. These were AI & ML, Virtualisation, Future of connectivity, DLT & Blockchain, GreenTech and Data economy. Overall, across the year the top three most discussed topics in this country were AI & ML (31% of all social posts), Data economy (13%), and DLT & Blockchain (11%).
It’s worth noting that DLT & Blockchain saw the largest spike in relevancy of all tech topics in Germany. It went up in relevancy from 10.2% in May this year, up to 32.8% in June. It was driven by issues ranging from the perceived increased commitment by the EU in Blockchain, Canadian lawmakers publishing a comprehensive report supporting blockchain technology, and some discussion of Santander publishing an article on the benefits of the Bitcoin Lightning Network – although the bank pointed out it was an educational piece and did not reflect its own strategy or opinion.
Climate and instability dominate socio-economic conversations
Climate change was the most dominant socio-economic issue in the online conversations of the most influential tech experts in the UK and Germany over the past 12 months. It accounted for 20% of all social posts in the UK and 23% in Germany.
Despite similar levels of activity, this topic appears to be growing in relevance in the UK, where it climbed from a 17.3% share in May to its peak of 27.1% in September 2023. This could represent a long term rise in relevancy in the UK but as the peak was driven largely by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s controversial net zero ‘U-turn’ it may return to more normal levels in the coming months. Either way, we can expect Climate change to remain the biggest socio-economic issue in the UK.
Germany maintained a consistently higher level of conversation on Climate change than the UK, but also competed with Health risks and Geopolitical conflict & instability for the top spot at various points in the year. In the UK its dominance never came under threat.
Climate change is a relevant issue in France but last year was overshadowed by Geopolitical conflict & instability, as was every other socio-economic issue we tracked in the country. Unlike the UK where it is gaining in relevance, and Germany where it is consistently high, Climate change lost relevance over the course of the year in France. It reached its peak in November 2022 with a 14.2% share and fell gradually to 8.5% by September 2023.
Geopolitical conflict & instability was by far the most relevant topic in France, representing 29% of all social posts across the last 12 months and maintained first position every month, demonstrating the importance of what is happening in the international sphere for French tech influencers. The gap to second was closest in October 2022, at 6.54 percentage points, and at its highest in July 2023, at 26.61 percentage points.
A shifting landscape of priorities
The most notable shift in the tech landscape concerns AI & ML where it grew 15.81 pp year-on-year in the UK, +15.36 pp in Germany and +9.76 pp in France.
Outside of this, the most significant shift in the UK concerned Cybersecurity, where it fell 6.65 pp year-on-year. Germany saw three major shifts regarding the rise in GreenTech (+10.19 pp), and the fall of Virtualisation (-13.13 pp) and DLT & blockchain (-8.18 pp). While in France, the only major shift was also on Virtualisation where it too fell quite substantially by 7 pp year-on year.
In the UK, Climate change (+9.77 pp YoY), Transportation (+2.86 pp) and Health risks (+2.23 pp) demonstrated the biggest year-on-year increases among the socio-economic topics, whereas Germany saw Transportation (+6.38 pp), Climate change (+3.79 pp) and Trust (+3.04%) increase most in relevance year-on year, while in France it was Trust (+3.43 pp), Supply chain (+3.11 pp) and Funding/Capital raising (+2.93 pp).
The socio-economic categories that saw the sharpest declines in relevancy in the UK were recession (-5.55 pp) and Geopolitical conflict & instability (-5.34 pp). In Germany, Crypto fell a substantial 10.69 pp followed by Health risks (-6 pp). France also saw a steep drop in relevance for Crypto (-9.13 pp) while other topics saw only modest drops.
Data from the Tyto Relevance Index™ highlights the differences between European markets, while also identifying where the similarities can be found. The data, combined with expert local insight, can be a powerful additional tool in shaping communications plans and making sure resources are put into the areas where most impact can be made. It is an ever-changing landscape and having data like this at your disposal can help businesses to stay relevant in the markets they operate in.
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