October 28th 2023 will mark a year since Elon Musk closed his $44bn deal to buy Twitter. Following a turbulent year that saw the company rebrand to X, real-life mobile app engagement data from GWS Magnify, reveals:

Users taking flight

  • X (formally Twitter) has seen its daily active user (DAU) numbers fall by 16% in the UK from 6.1m in July 2023 to 5.1m today – a decline of 1m users since the company rebranded to X.
  • However, other social media companies have also seen declines during this timeframe. During the same period (July 23 – October 23) Facebook’s DAU numbers decreased 6% from 25.4m to 24m. Snapchat saw its DAU numbers decline 10% from 6.3m to 5.7m. The exception was TikTok’s, which held steady with 8.4m DAU across the period.

But Twitter (X) loyalists remain loyal

  • Despite losing a significant number of users, those who remain continue to engage with X. Over the past quarter, the company has seen the average amount of time each user spends on the platform each day increase from 16.6 minutes to 17.8 minutes, which is an increase of 7%.
  • This comes as Twitter’s social media rivals have seen their minutes per user rates decrease. Tik Tok saw its minutes per user decline from 76.3 minutes to 72.5 minutes – a decrease of 5%. Similarly, Facebook’s rate of decline was 4%, from 55.9 minutes per user to 53.9 minutes.

New social media apps on the block

  • Hive Social is the fastest growing rival to X. The platform has seen its daily active user numbers rise by 350% from around 123k at the beginning of September to around 434k as of October 20th, 2023. The company now has more DAU than Meta’s Threads.
  • Despite a loud launch and initial buzz, Threads has not seen its user numbers recover to the initial heights it first reached after launch. Threads saw its DAU numbers plummet below 1 million in mid-July, and now the company has just 322k active users in the UK. At present, 79% of the daily users on Threads also used Instagram on the same day suggesting that Threads is reliant on Instagram for its users.
  • It is also unclear that Threads is capturing users from Twitter. As of July 2023, 67.5% of Threads users were also using X on same day. That number fell to just 56.0% by mid-October. But those on X who are also active on Threads in the US has shrunk from 16.7% in early July to just 3.5% by mid-October.

Commenting on the data, Dr Paul Carter, CEO, GWS, said: 

The jury is still out on whether Musk’s takeover of Twitter, now X, has been a success. Though the company has experienced some user flight, the same is true for a number of the major social media platforms in the United Kingdom and may also represent a broader clean-up of the platform in general. While user figures are down, Musk has been able to hold off the rise of a “Twitter killer” some predicted would arrive, especially with big hitters like Threads launching in recent months.

 Perhaps most importantly for X, our data shows that those who remain are still highly engaged with what the platform has to offer – these loyal users seem to be just as happy to spend their time on X as they were prior to his takeover. The recent announcement that X will begin to offer two subscription tiers is targeted precisely at these loyal users, who’s ongoing engagement is thought to point to their receptivity to premium features. However, the broader challenge Musk faces is maintaining the loyalty of a wide user base, continuing to ensure the platform reflects the desires of an increasingly demanding mobile audience. Engagement is everything when it comes to social media, and providing users with numerous reasons to log on to a platform is key to enduring success.”

Methodology

App engagement data was generated using Magnify, GWS’s mobile intelligence data platform. Magnify is comprised of key insights collected nationwide from consumers participating in our market research program.

These real-life consumers use their phones and tablet devices as normal throughout the day, so the mobile analytics data GWS gathers provides the most accurate picture of the nation’s mobile connectivity experience. GWS collects consumer data anonymously from Android smartphones 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whenever and wherever the consumers use their devices. Data is anonymously collected and reported in aggregate for market research purposes only. All information collected is weighted to a user’s demographic representation of the U.K. adult population. In addition, GWS can survey participating consumers to understand sentiment and perception.

About GWS

For most consumers today, their mobile device is their life’s remote control. As an independent mobile insights consulting firm, GWS measures every aspect of how people live, work and play via their mobile devices – as well as how mobile network performance affects them.

Combining our market-leading network benchmarking technology and methodology with deep behavioural data, we help businesses and organizations to drive innovation and deliver better customer experiences through mobile insights, anywhere in the world. Championing the needs of mobile users by understanding and testing the things that matter to them, we’ve evolved our technology and services in step with the needs of industry and consumers for over 27 years.

For more information visit https://www.gwsolutions.com/

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