According to mobile and web analytics company Similarweb the website formerly called Twitter has not grown under Elon Musk. Rather than growing, X has shrunk, with web traffic worldwide down 14% on a year-over-year basis in September, and mobile app usage globally down 17.8% for Android and 14.8% for Android in the U.S.
One thing is growing massively, however: traffic to Elon Musk’s personal profile and posts.
“On the plus side, traffic to Elon Musk’s profile and posts was up 96% year-over-year in September,” the company said in a blog post.
Metrics which aren’t growing include:
- Twitter’s global web traffic is down 14%
- Global traffic to Twitter’s advertising portal: down 16.5%
- Australia traffic down 17.5%
- German traffic down 17.9%
Musk and X CEO Linda Yaccarino claim that the property’s value is increasing. In July, for instance, Yaccarino told staffers in a memo that “our usage is at an all time high.” On July 28, Elon Musk tweeted that “X monthly users reach new high in 2023.” That doesn’t easily accord with SimilarWeb’s data, which shows slight increases in iOS and Android app users in June, but an overall downward trend through 2023. SimilarWeb data shows that web visits have dropped over the year with a few spikes occurring in March and may, but the overall trend is down.
It’s important to note that in statistics it’s fairly easy to cherry-pick data to tell stories that, strictly speaking, aren’t accurate.
As an example, the number of users may be lower, but usage might increase if users continue to use services more. Monthly average sessions can be higher than daily average sessions if users who were once passionate about a platform are now less active. If the overall trend of usage is down, an executive can report one positive statistic per month.
Similarweb states that other social media networks have also seen a downward trend. Facebook’s share of the top 100 social media networks is down by 10%. Others are growing like TikTok which is up by 23% and Pinterest (up about 8%).
The total decline since September of 2022 means that X has received 955 million fewer visits over the course of a year, something that won’t be good for a platform that receives most of its income from advertising.
Although there are many positives to the report, some of them stand out.
Twitter has remained a leading social network for mobile and web usage globally, surpassing Reddit and LinkedIn. In the U.S. however, Twitter’s usage is behind platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
The company claims that Similarweb’s numbers are based on a mix of digital signals. That includes “millions of websites and apps” that share analytics with the company, plus “a collection of consumer products” that share anonymous traffic data. The company says it also has partnerships with a global network of organizations that collect intelligence on digital traffic, and it captures and indexes publicly-available data by spidering millions of websites — just like Google and other search engines — and running apps, presumably in an emulated mobile device on a server.
Its data is indicative of what is actually happened, but will not be as accurate as a company’s own internal data.
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