Twitter has grown under Elon Musk — mostly in the U.S., data shows

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

Data from two independent research firms, Apptopia and Sensor Tower, show that downloads and activity on Twitter are up in the weeks since Musk bought it and over the past year, backing up the tech billionaire’s revitalization boast. social media app.

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

According to Apptopia, Twitter downloads in the U.S. averaged nearly 125,000 per day over the past 31 days, up 23% from the previous month and up 42% from the same period a year ago.

Apptopia data showed that growth was slower outside the US, though up 14% from a month ago and 4% from a year ago.

Consumer tech analyst Carolina Milanesi said the slower growth outside the U.S. may be an indication that people abroad are less interested in the drama surrounding Musk as a public figure.

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

Milanesi, president of consulting firm Creative Strategies, said the number of users may be less important than their demographics.

“Not everyone is willing or able to pay $8 a month, especially if they want to switch to a paid service,” he said, referring to the $7.99-a-month Twitter Blue service.

Elon Musk on March 9, 2020 in Washington. Yasin Öztürk / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images file

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

Sensor Tower also reported a modest increase in overall activity. According to the study, the number of daily active users on Twitter worldwide increased by 2% in the month after Musk’s purchase compared to the previous month, and by 4% compared to the same period a year ago.

Social media experts said the spark of interest may only be temporary, partly due to uncertainty about Twitter’s future.

“People slow down to watch a real-life crash scene, so I think there’s a lot of rubber-stamping going on,” industry analyst Matt Navarra said.

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

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday for further details. Musk bought the company in October for $44 billion and as CEO has made sweeping changes, including firing more than half of its employees, bringing back previously suspended accounts and loosening rules about what speech is allowed on the platform.

Mazdak Hashemi, Twitter’s former vice president of engineering, tweeted on Sunday that while the platform has great quality, it feels more “alive” with Musk at the helm.

“Increased connectivity is not always a good thing, especially if it affects the overall quality, safety and health of the echo system,” he said. He did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Musk, who already had a large following when he bought Twitter, continued to grow at a rapid clip. With 119.5 million viewers on Tuesday, he is second only to former President Barack Obama with 133.2 million. Experts told the BBC that Musk will overtake Obama in January.

Navarre said people could get sick of Musk’s tweets, and Twitter will have a serious problem if it wants to catch up to the widespread popularity of Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. According to Mask, these apps count their users in the billions, while Twitter has about 259 million daily users.

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

In a chaotic moment for Twitter, some other platforms are thriving.

Substack, an app and website for publishing and distributing email newsletters, has seen its downloads increase 84% during Musk’s tenure at Twitter, according to Apptopia, from an average of 5,332 per day the previous month to 9,836. rose to

Apptopia spokeswoman Tara Kirkpatrick said the increase may be due to journalists leaving Twitter and letting their followers know their newsletter will be their primary channel. The firm’s data showed that it was already over, with Substack downloads peaking on November 6.

Substack did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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