In contrast to X CEO Linda Yaccarino’s claims of record-high social network usage this summer, a new report suggests that X’s popularity has actually waned across web and mobile platforms. According to data from market research firm Similarweb, X’s global website traffic dropped by 14% year-over-year in September, with U.S. traffic seeing a 19% decline. Mobile performance in the U.S. was also down 17.8% year-over-year.
Other countries also witnessed declines in web traffic, including the U.K. (-11.6%), France (-13.4%), Germany (-17.9%), and Australia (-17.5%). These trends weren’t limited to a single month; long-term data showed that X’s website traffic in the U.S. was down 11.6% year-over-year in the first nine months of 2023.
However, there’s a silver lining for Elon Musk, the owner of X. Traffic to Musk’s profile on the platform increased by 96% year-over-year as of last month.
Similarweb’s estimates are based on machine learning algorithms using data from various websites and apps. It’s noteworthy that Apple’s tighter restrictions on the App Store and data privacy heavily influence its methodology on mobile devices. Still, the data provides insight into X’s performance, showing a 14.8% drop in mobile app usage worldwide on Android.
The report also indicates that X’s decline is part of a broader trend in the social network landscape, as traffic to the top 100 social networks and online communities decreased by 3.7% in September. TikTok was the exception, experiencing a 22.8% global growth. Facebook’s web traffic, for instance, was down by 10.4%.
On mobile, X’s monthly active users decreased by 17.8% in September, while Facebook and Instagram saw declines of 8% and 3.7%, respectively.
The analysis also suggests a diminishing role for X in the news ecosystem, as it receives less traffic from news publishers compared to three years ago. NPR, for example, left the platform six months ago, with minimal traffic loss.
Despite the report’s findings, X has touted traffic increases, sharing impressive figures, including 500 million daily posts, 100 billion daily impressions, and increased user engagement. X has not responded to requests for comment.
While X’s audience has eroded, it hasn’t disappeared entirely, indicating some staying power for the platform, especially as it faces growing competition from new rivals like Bluesky, Post, Pebble, Spill, Mastodon, and Threads.