A report by Similarweb, a web ranking platform, has revealed that traffic on X, formerly Twitter, has declined by 14% year-on-year in September 2023, marking one year of Elon Musk’s ownership of the company.
The report is contrary to Elon Musk’s and X CEO, Linda Yaccarino’s recent claims that traffic has increased significantly on the platform. Indeed, Similarweb said traffic had only increased on Musk’s X profile as it was up 96% year-over-year in September.
It added that in the US, where about a quarter of Twitter.com’s web traffic originates, September traffic was down 19%. The trend was similar, if not quite as pronounced in other countries: -11.6% in the UK, -13.4% in France, -17.9% in Germany, and -17.5% in Australia.
Not only X
Similiarweb in the report, however, noted that the decline in traffic over the period was not unique to X as other social networks also had negative traffic.
- “In aggregate, traffic to the top 100 social networks and communities that Similarweb tracks was down -3.7% year-over-year in September. But nothing Musk has done seems to have translated into lasting improvements to compete better against the social networks that are continuing to grow strongly, such as TikTok, for which global web traffic was up 22.8% in September,” the report stated.
- “If Elon Musk wanted to build traffic to his social media profile, surely there must have been a cheaper and easier way. Coming up on a year after his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, recently rebranded as X, traffic to twitter.com/elonmusk/ is just about the only positive metric of success we can find,” it added.
Musk’s feud with media
The web ranking platform noted that Musk’s ongoing feud with the media could cause further deterioration in the utility of X as a news source. It added that this has certainly reduced the significance of Twitter as a traffic source for publishers.
- “For example, three years ago the New York Times website nytimes.com was getting 3% to 4% or more of its total traffic from twitter.com referrals, but that’s dropped to less than 1% in recent months. Recently, Musk has championed removing the headlines from the preview of news articles users post to the service as a way of keeping users from clicking away,” it said.
Despite the criticisms that had trailed some of the decisions of Elon Musk on the operations of X since he acquired the company as Twitter, the recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of X, Linda Yaccarino had expressed confidence that the company would become profitable in early 2024.
Her confidence in profitability was hinged on the disclosure that “90% of the top 100 advertisers have returned to the platform in the last twelve weeks alone.”
Several advertisers were reported to have left the platform formerly known as Twitter as Elon Musk took over last year but Yaccarino claimed many of them have returned.
She added that the time users spend on X has gone up since June, apparently as a result of the ad revenue sharing program which has more users posting on the platform to drive views and engagements in order to have a share of the ad revenue.