X, formerly known as Twitter, has experienced its fair share of ups and downs over the past year. Acquired by Elon Musk in late 2022, the platform has seen stalled growth, dropping engagement, and other challenges during this transitionary period.
As an entrepreneur who leverages social media for marketing and business growth, I wanted to dig deeper into the data and trends around X’s usage. How are key metrics for the platform changing over time? What do the insights reveal about current user behavior and preferences? How might the shifts impact marketing and growth strategies?
In this article, I’ll highlight 15 need-to-know statistics that shed light on X’s past, present, and future landscape. I’ll also share analysis on the business implications from my perspective as a startup founder. Let’s dive in!
Monthly Active Users Down 14% from 2021 Peak
X hit an all-time high of nearly 400 million monthly active users (MAUs) worldwide in Q2 2021. Since then, the platform has been on a downward trajectory across this key metric:
- Q4 2022: 450 million MAUs, down 14% from 2021 peak
- U.S. MAUs down from 80 million to 73 million (-13%) between Q2 2021 and Q4 2022
These usage declines signal that X is struggling to retain and grow its user base compared to competitors. As an entrepreneur, stagnating user numbers make it harder for brands to expand reach and exposure on the platform when marketing. Targeting a shrinking pool of users leads to diminishing returns on investment over time.
Turning user growth around will require major innovations and differentiators to bring people back to X at scale.
Just 41.5 Million Daily U.S. Users in Q4 2022
Beyond monthly figures, daily active users provide a pulse on those who frequent X and engage most regularly. As of Q4 2022, X had just 41.5 million monetizable daily active users in the U.S.
Moreover, this number has remained relatively unchanged over the past year, pointing to minimal growth. With fewer eyes on the platform each day, opportunities to connect with new audiences and drive conversions decrease for brands.
Boosting daily active user metrics will require re-engaging lapsed users and incentivizing the most loyal ones to keep opening the app. Features like X Spaces have so far been unable to move the needle.
2022 Ad Revenue Projected to Plunge Nearly 30% in 2023
X generated the vast majority of its $4.4 billion revenue in 2022 from advertising. But with usage metrics falling, the platform is projected to see a massive hit to ad revenues this year:
- 2022 ad revenue: $4.14 billion
- 2023 forecasted ad revenue: $2.9 billion (~30% decline)
This sharp pullback in spending shows advertisers’ decreasing confidence in X amidst the usage challenges. As an entrepreneur, I’d be wary of allocating significant ad budget to X given inferior returns compared to rivals. Leaner ad revenues also impact X’s investment in the user experience.
Turning ad revenue around requires showing marketers that users are engaged. New targeting and measurement tools could also help attract ad spend. But without underlying usage growth, the platform’s dominance as an advertising vehicle may continue eroding.
U.S. Mobile Visits Down Nearly 18% Year-Over-Year
In January 2022, X garnered over 1.1 billion mobile visits from U.S. users according to third-party data from SimilarWeb. One year later, U.S. mobile visits had shrunk dramatically to just over 900 million (-17.8% year-over-year).
As a business owner, this rapid loss of mobile users in X’s most valuable market is concerning. Given that mobile usage now dominates social media, retaining and growing mobile visitation is imperative for the platform’s future.
These third-party figures confirm X’s struggle to maintain its U.S. stronghold as users shift time towards competitors on mobile devices.
Global Desktop Traffic Shows X‘s Dependence on U.S.
Analyzing X’s desktop traffic paints a clear picture of where its user base and visitation is concentrated. Five countries make up nearly 80% of global desktop traffic:
- United States: 40.17%
- Japan: 14.75%
- United Kingdom: 13.01%
- Canada: 6.5%
- Brazil: 4.73%
With 4 out of the top 5 countries hailing from North America, this highlights X’s heavy dependence on western markets to drive usage. As a business operator, I’d tailor marketing efforts for those regions. However, the concentration also leaves X vulnerable if engagement drops further in those core countries.
Growing its user base and traffic in Asia and other emerging markets could help diversify X’s footprint. But that may prove challenging given entrenched local players.
Engagement Down Across Core Metrics
Analyzing engagement levels for continuing users reveals how compelling X’s product experience remains. And the trends show erosion across two vital behavioral metrics:
- Time spent per user down 2% year-over-year
- Number of sessions per user decreased 4%
With even loyal users spending less time per visit and opening the app less frequently, X is at risk of losing relevancy compared to rivals offering richer experiences. As a marketer, these declining engagement metrics would give me pause about investing budget into the platform.
Boosting engagement requires doubling down on innovative features tailored to habits of key demographics. But major product innovations remain elusive so far under new leadership.
Market Value Slashed 24% Since Acquisition
At the time of Musk’s acquisition in late 2022, X was valued at approximately $54 billion. But Wall Street has since slashed valuations amid the usage declines:
- Current market cap as of Feb 2023: $41 billion
- Loss of value since acquisition: -24%
This steep drop shows investors are hitting the brakes when it comes to optimism in X’s future. The platform likely needs to demonstrate improving traction to regain market confidence.
As an entrepreneur, I’d be wary of building a growth strategy highly reliant on X without signs of a usage turnaround. The platform needs to recapture positive momentum to be seen as a smart long-term investment again.
The Road Ahead
While challenges abound, X retains enviable scale and remains woven into the fabric of public discourse. For all its current issues, entrepreneurs cannot ignore an audience of over 450 million people.
Keys to regaining growth trajectory include:
- Major product innovation tailored to habitual user needs
- Monetization beyond ads to diversify revenue
- Data safety and transparency to restore advertiser trust
- Regaining market confidence by demonstrating a viable path forward
There’s still time for savvy entrepreneurs to cost-effectively tap into X’s reach. But betting business growth on the platform long-term is an increasingly risky gamble without fundamental changes.
How X navigates 2023 under Musk’s stewardship will determine whether it bounces back or continues fading into social media obscurity. But by tracking usage metrics and market response, entrepreneurs can adapt brand strategies to the platform‘s evolving role.