It seems like X’s reported numbers could be flawed, or that it may be losing audience as more changes are implemented by Elon Musk and his team.
According to a new analysis by Apptopia, which tracks the usage habits of more than 100,000 mobile app users, X currently has around 121 million daily active users, which is significantly lower than the 253 million reported by X itself.
As reported by Big Technology:
“Since Musk bought the company in October 2022, it’s lost approximately 13% of its daily active users. And its rebrand from Twitter to X accelerated the decline.”
Apptopia’s analysis also suggests that those who are using the app are using it just as much as always, with no significant negative impact on average time spent, while the arrival of Threads hasn’t had a direct correlating impact on X’s decline thus far.
But the figures do suggest that X is not doing as well as Musk and CEO Linda Yaccarino have been suggesting in their various presentations to the public.
There have been many questions about X’s user metrics, and in particular, the accuracy of Musk’s claims that the platform has reached various “record highs” in usage since he took ownership.
And it’s not just the metrics themselves, it’s the detail within.
For example, X claimed the platform reached a new record high of 250 million monetizable daily active users (mDAU) just weeks after Musk took over at the platform. Yet Elon, in his efforts to wriggle out of his $44 billion takeover offer, also claimed that 20% of the platform’s users were actually bots.
So if Elon, as he also claims, has eradicated bots (or at least significantly reduced their presence), that would mean that X had somehow added not only an extra 12 million users from its Q2 2022 report, it’s last performance update before Elon acquired that app, but that it had also replaced some 47.6 million fake profiles with real people within that same period.
Or that Elon was lying about that 20% stat just to get out of having to pay for the app (in which case, can you trust what he’s saying now?) Or that bots are still present, and prevalent in its figures.
I don’t know where the truth lies, but for a platform that has historically struggled to add any more than 20 million new users per year, adding almost 60 million in just a few months seems like a lot.
Which is why X’s user counts seem questionable, while X’s claim that it now has 550 million monthly active users would also be suspect, based on these new figures.
On average, daily versus monthly user stats reported by social platforms are multiplied by around 1.8x. Snapchat, for example, has 397 million daily actives, and 700 million monthly users, as per its official reports.
Going by this logic, and using these newly reported numbers as an indicator, X more likely has around 223 million monthly actives, which is a significant variance in actual usage.
Reinforcing this further, Apptopia’s analysis also suggests that there’s “a widening gap between people who check the app daily vs. monthly”.
So it may even be less than the average, which would put X’s actual audience behind Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest in terms of active users.
Of course, this is all relative from a marketing analysis perspective. If your audience is active on X, then that’s where you should be active as well, regardless of overall usage. 121 million daily actives is also still a lot of attention, while X’s influence has always been more significant than its audience count, so there’s reason, beyond the raw figures, to use the app.
But it does present an interesting alternative vision on X’s performance, which is also still down 60% year-over-year in ad revenue, while its subscription offerings, which it had hoped would offset ad revenue losses, are also still struggling to gain significant take-up.
But then again, Elon and Co. are focused on other stats anyway, with the X owner regularly touting new metrics like ‘unregretted user minutes’ and ‘cumulative user seconds’, which he claims are now regularly hitting new highs.
Maybe, these alternative stats show that X is actually improving its user experience, even if it does have a smaller audience overall, and maybe that’s the reset that it needs in order to get the platform re-aligned around Elon’s ‘everything app’ vision.
Time will tell, but with Threads seemingly gaining traction more recently, it does seem like there is a growing opportunity for an X competitor, as usage dips lower than the company itself is reporting.