An exciting contradiction has emerged in the world of social media. Despite assertions from the CEO of a prominent social network, Linda Yaccarino, that user engagement was peaking this summer, a fresh report paints a different picture. The report, released by market intelligence firm Similarweb, indicates that usage of this network has been decreasing on all fronts, spanning both web and mobile platforms.
“In the dynamic landscape of social media, user trends can fluctuate. A recent report suggests a significant shift might be occurring.”
In the United States, which accounts for approximately a quarter of the network’s web traffic, there was a decline of 19% in traffic and a 17.8% decrease in performance on mobile devices, based on the number of monthly active users on iOS and Android. This is not an isolated occurrence, as the report also documented declines in web traffic in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia.
Not Just a Temporary Dip
Similarweb’s report indicates that this isn’t merely a temporary dip in usage. The data shows declines in use are part of a more long-term trend. Comparing the first nine months of 2023 with the same period in 2022, Similarweb found the network’s website traffic was down 11.6% year-over-year in the U.S. and down by 7% worldwide. Mobile app usage in the U.S. declined by 12.8% during that period.
An Unexpected Upswing
However, amidst the general decline, there was one surprising upswing. Traffic to Elon Musk’s profile page on the site saw a massive increase, up 96% year-over-year as of last month. This suggests that while overall interest in the network may be waning, the appeal of specific influential individuals remains strong.
Declining Importance in News Ecosystem
The report also highlights the network’s diminishing role in the news ecosystem. Once The New York Times received 3-4% of its traffic from this social network, that figure has now dwindled to less than 1%. This decline has occurred despite the network’s executives promoting increased traffic. The company recently claimed that it sees 500 million posts daily, including original content, replies, and reposts, and generates 100 billion impressions daily.
Loading the Balance
The report also points to a broader shift in social media trends. Web traffic to the top 100 networks and online communities tracked by the firm was also down by 3.7% in September. However, TikTok was a notable exception, growing 22.8% globally. Other major platforms, like Facebook, saw a decline in web traffic by 10.4%.
Despite these findings, the report does acknowledge that the network appears to have a specific staying power. Similarweb’s Senior Insights Manager David Carr noted: “Somehow, the audience has eroded but not evaporated.” This is a significant observation, considering the increased competition from new platforms like Bluesky, Post, Pebble, Spill, Mastodon, and Threads.