New data confirms Musk's claim that Twitter activity is up

New data confirms Musk’s claim that Twitter activity is up

Elon Musk has sparked new interest in Twitter, and you don’t have to take his word for it.

Data from two independent research firms, Apptopia and Sensor Tower, indicate that Twitter downloads and activity are up in the weeks since Musk’s purchase and compared to a year ago, appearing to confirm the recent boasts of the tech billionaire he invigorated. social media app.

But the situation is more complicated than a simple increase in downloads and activity.

According to Apptopia, Twitter downloads in the US averaged around 125,000 per day over a recent 31-day period, a figure 23% higher than the previous month and 42% higher than last month. that of a similar period a year earlier.

Growth was slower outside the US, however, growing 14% month-on-month and 4% year-on-year, according to data from Apptopia.

Carolina Milanesi, a consumer technology analyst, said slowing growth outside the United States could indicate people abroad are less interested in the drama around Musk as a public figure.

“If you’re in Italy, maybe it’s not a priority for you,” she said.

Milanesi, president of Creative Strategies, a consulting firm, said the amount of users may matter less than their demographics.

“Especially if they want to upgrade to a paid service, not everyone is willing or able to pay $8 a month,” she said, referring to the $7.99-a-month Twitter Blue service.

Elon Musk at the SATELLITE 2020 conference
Elon Musk in Washington on March 9, 2020. Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images File

Sensor Tower’s data on user growth was mixed, showing installs jumped 16% in Musk’s first month from the previous month, but fell 3% on a year-over-year basis. Both research firms use their own sources and proprietary methods to arrive at their estimates, resulting in some variation.

Sensor Tower also saw a slight increase in overall activity. According to his research, the number of daily active users worldwide on Twitter was 2% higher in the month after Musk’s purchase compared to the previous month, and 4% higher compared to the same period a year earlier. early.

Social media pundits said the spark of interest may only be temporary, tied in part to the suspense surrounding Twitter’s future.

“People slow down to watch an accident scene in real life, so I think there’s a lot of bumpiness,” said Matt Navarra, an industry analyst.

Musk, the richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has repeatedly cited internal metrics as evidence of record new user signups and record activity on Twitter in general. But those numbers don’t appear to have been third-party audited, and Twitter is no longer a public company subject to government reporting requirements.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday for further details. Musk bought the company in October for $44 billion, and as CEO he made sweeping changes, including laying off more than half of its employees, re-welcoming some previously suspended accounts, and easing restrictions. rules relating to speech allowed on the platform.

Mazdak Hashemi, former vice president of engineering at Twitter, said in a tweet on Sunday that the platform felt more “alive” with Musk in charge, but with a big caveat.

“Increased engagement isn’t always a good thing, especially if the overall quality, safety, and health of the echo system is affected,” he wrote. He did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

Musk, who already had a huge following when he bought Twitter, continued to add followers at a rapid pace. He has the second highest number of followers with 119.5 million on Tuesday, behind former President Barack Obama with 133.2 million. Musk is on course to overtake Obama in January, experts have told the BBC.

Navarra said people might eventually tire of Musk’s tweets, and that Twitter faces a tough challenge if it wants to achieve the mainstream popularity of Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. These apps number their users in the billions, while Twitter has about 259 million daily users, according to Musk.

“Twitter is an acquired taste,” Navarra said. “It’s always been for a very narrow set of use cases, journalism being one of them, and a lightning rod for everything going on in the world.”

Amid the chaotic time for Twitter, some other platforms are booming.

Substack, an app and website for publishing and distributing email newsletters, saw its downloads increase by 84% during the Musk era of Twitter, rising to 9,836 per day on average from 5,332 per day on average the previous month, according to Apptopia.

The spike could be due to journalists leaving Twitter and telling their followers that their newsletter would be their main channel, said Apptopia spokeswoman Tara Kirkpatrick. But that may already be over, with Substack downloads peaking on November 6, according to company data.

Substack did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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