A year has passed since billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter, now rebranded as “X,” for a whopping $44 billion. Despite initial hesitations, the deal eventually went through, much to the surprise of the tech world. Since then, a series of major changes have unfolded – a significant reduction in staff, a revamped verification system, and an experimental user fee, to name a few. Yet, not all changes have been well-received, leading to a substantial drop in user activity and ad revenue.
Within the past 12 months, X’s monthly active user base has dwindled by 15% globally and 18% in the U.S., as reported by web analytics firm SimilarWeb. Meanwhile, mobile daily active users saw a 16% year-over-year decrease, settling at 183 million in September 2023, as per Sensor Tower’s data. Even though Musk claims X now boasts 550 million monthly users sharing up to 200 million posts daily, the accuracy of these figures, in comparison to previous Twitter metrics, remains questionable.
Advertiser confidence seems to have been shaken. According to ad-analytics firm Guideline, U.S. ad spending on X saw a sharp 54% decline between September 2022 and August 2023. Musk’s unpredictable decisions, such as reinstating banned accounts and his occasional affinity for controversial posts, have made marketers hesitant. Tensions also arose when activist groups accused X of permitting hate speech, further discouraging advertisers.
Despite the challenges, Musk remains steadfast in his dedication to X, envisioning it as a holistic platform that even handles financial transactions. “You won’t need a bank account… It will blow my mind if we don’t have that rolled out by the end of next year,” he said during a recent virtual meeting. As the man behind other giants like Tesla and SpaceX, Musk’s commitment to revamping X is clear, even if it means making bold moves.
While Musk remains deeply involved in X’s tech and product spheres, this summer saw Linda Yaccarino, previously with NBCUniversal, stepping in as X’s CEO. Though Yaccarino champions Musk’s vision for X, there have been moments where communication lapses were evident, raising eyebrows about the dynamics of their collaboration.
Despite the challenges, Yaccarino remains optimistic. In a recent blog post, she highlighted a series of achievements under Musk’s leadership, emphasizing X’s commitment to free speech and plans for a global payment system. She also mentioned that X is seeing a resurgence in advertiser interest, with many returning to the platform. A year into its transformation, X’s path remains uncertain. While Musk’s aspirations are grand, only time will tell if his ambitious vision can rejuvenate the platform’s dwindling fortunes.