A report released yesterday by research service Insider Intelligence is predicting that Twitter will experience a significant exodus over the next two years that, worldwide, will total upwards of 32.7 million users by the end of 2024.
The base assumption for the forecast, it stated, is that with new owner Elon Musk making fundamental changes to the platform, technical issues, and offensive content will drive away users.
Insider Intelligence, which began tracking Twitter in 2008, is projecting “flat growth” this year, which will amount to 368.4 million monthly active users worldwide. That number will decline to 353.9 million users in 2023 – a 3.9 per cent drop – and then drop a further 5.1 per cent in 2024 to 335.7 million users.
Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said that “there will not be one catastrophic event that ends Twitter. Instead, users will start to leave the platform next year as they grow frustrated with technical issues and the proliferation of hateful or unsavory content.
“Twitter’s skeleton staff, working around the clock, won’t be able to counteract the platform’s infrastructure and content moderation problems.”
The usage projections come following a forecast last month of a 39.1 per cent reduction in Twitter’s ad revenues during the next two years.
Enberg said at the time that “before the takeover, Twitter’s ad business was already taking a beating from the economic uncertainty.
“Tack on Musk’s erratic behavior, his lack of a clear plan for Twitter’s ad business, as well as fears about misinformation and a user exodus, and many advertisers are suspending their advertising on a platform that already isn’t essential to many companies’ media plans.”
That is already happening in the U.S., the survey found. While specific stats for Canada were not available at press time, Twitter will lose more users in the U.S. than in any of the other countries Insider Intelligence tracks.
It could lose upwards of 3.6 million U.S. users next year, a decline of 6.3 per cent over this year and will fall by an additional 8.3 per cent in 2024 and total 50.5 million, which the report points out is the “lowest level the platform has reached since 2014.”
“Revenue and staffing losses have made it more difficult for Musk to ship new products that could increase usage and engagement,” Enberg said. “His primary focus in 2023 will be kickstarting Twitter’s revenue engine, after losing many of its biggest advertisers and a long tail of other advertisers who have been quietly quitting the platform.
“Musk can’t achieve his goal of overhauling Twitter’s monetization model to make it less reliant on advertising if he can’t generate revenue in the short term, and he is in the unenviable position of convincing advertisers to spend on a platform that has long been mired with monetization problems and isn’t essential to their media plans.”
The decline in U.S. users is expected to take place across all age groups, but concentrated on the under-25 and over-45 age groups, where Insider Intelligence said, “many current users of the platform are more marginal users that are not as loyal and are less willing to tolerate a degrading experience.”
There also will be a drop-off in the core user groups of those aged 25-34 and 35-44, the results found, but less severe, as a greater number of those users are what Insider Intelligence described as more dedicated daily users.
Enberg noted that “nothing is certain in terms of the future of Twitter, except that everything is uncertain. If Musk manages to stave off service issues and potential outages, fix the platform’s content moderation problems, and integrate new services into the app to drive revenue, he may still be able to reverse the course of the user drain.”