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The Elon inspired decline of X reportedly continues

X, formerly known as Twitter, continues to slump in engagement under the management of Elon Musk. Is there a way to stem the continuous decline, or is the platform living on borrowed time?

On reflection, surely L would have been a more appropriate title for Elon Musk’s Twitter rebrand.

Since the tech tycoon acquired the rights to the blue bird in October 2022, the platform has lost approximately 13% of its daily active users, according to new research analytics from Apptopia.

Under the 52-year-old’s tumultuous stewardship, an estimated 140 million monthly userbase has reportedly nosedived to 121 million with 5% slumps occurring consecutively over August and September. That’s no coincidence, either.

It was during this period that Musk pushed through the ambiguous rebrand to ‘X’ reportedly igniting a 2,000% spike in negative daily app reviews.

‘The keywords “logo” and “blue bird” appeared as top 10 keywords left in user reviews, each with negative sentiments attached to them,’ revealed Apptopia content director Adam Blacker. I personally recall seeing the term ‘vanity project’ a whole lot too.

Twitter's rebrand failed

Calling shenanigans on Linda Yaccarino’s (X CEO) boast that audience usage was at an all-time high in July, Apptopia’s data tells a very different story. Musk’s assertions about record user growth in November seem to match up at least, though those users didn’t stick around for long.

Those who continue to use X, by and large, are legacy users. In-fact, the top 10% of returning visitors account for 72% of all screen time on X – categorically not a continuous flow of new users excited about possibilities brought on by the rebrand.

It’s even rumoured within the industry that Musk’s status as the most followed account with the highest viewing metrics are purely down to an engineer writing a piece of shady code for the app.

Having taken on billions in loans from banks and private investors to acquire Twitter in the first place, it’s believed that the platform’s value has since sunk by around two thirds. Still, Musk’s unwavering (or blind, if you prefer) optimism saw him assure investors that the company could be worth $250bn in the not-too-distant future. Hmm.

It would seem advertisers aren’t quite so keen on grandiose claims, however, with Musk revealing last month that advertising revenue was down 60% since he made the leap. Many large agency executives are yet to see a significant return from X, and though brands are starting to return, many are spending much less on campaigns.

Add to this substantial knock-back the probability of numerous trademark lawsuits for the coveted X licence – of which there are 900 US trademark registrations – and the whole enterprise starts to seem increasingly pie in the sky. Even for Musk.

Advertising remains X’s primary money maker, but with question marks over the long-term projections you can expect the onus to return to subscribers once again. Exactly how they plan to make a buck out of those remaining this time, though, no one knows.

Nonetheless, I’m going out on a limb and predicting it won’t be worth it.