X saw weekly active users and rankings drop post rebrand, but Twitter Lite installs grew

Reports that X's (formerly Twitter) downloads decreased after Elon Musk's rebranding of the microblogging social network only tell part of the story. Twitter's renaming also saw its weekly active users drop 4% over the following weeks after the rebrand (August 6-20), while the X app fell four spots in the Overall category rankings to No. 36, according to a new analysis from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

This analysis follows the controversial rebranding of Twitter to X, which saw some forecasts estimating the company was destroying billions in brand equity.

That seemed to be true, as initial reports, including one by Eric Seufert of Mobile Dev Memo, indicated Twitter saw a dramatic decrease in its Top Downloaded chart position across both iOS and Android, following the app's renaming to X.

But there is one notable bright spot for the app previously known as Twitter: revenue surprisingly increased post-rebrand. From August 6 through August 20, revenue substantially jumped by ~25%, primarily driven by revenue from iOS (up 24%), Sensor Tower found.

Still, the rebrand appears to have led to consumer confusion on the app stores. Although many tech-savvy users were aware of the name change, a number of mainstream consumers looking for Twitter in the app stores were not. So when they typed "Twitter" into the app store's search bar, they would only find the app Twitter Lite, designed for emerging markets, returned.

This experience seems to have driven a large spike in Twitter Lite installs in the first week of the rebranding (July 23-August 5). During this time, Twitter Lite downloads jumped up by around 350%, said Sensor Tower. Combined with X, the Twitter ecosystem of apps saw downloads grow by 11%, driven by installs in India, the U.S. and Indonesia.

X revenue also fell during this first week (July 23-August 5) by 3% overall, primarily due to an 8% decrease on iOS.

The X rebrand additionally impacted other apps, like rivals Bluesky, Instagram Threads and Mastodon.

In the first week (July 23-August 5) of the rebrand, Threads downloads dropped 70%, leaving the app ranked 16th Overall. But Bluesky and Mastodon saw downloads increase by 180% and 15%, respectively -- an indication that those fleeing the new X largely turned to Bluesky instead.

However, in the weeks that followed (August 8-20), Threads saw an uptick in downloads with growth up by roughly 50% while also moving up one spot to 12th Overall in the category rankings. By this time, Threads had also rolled out a number of new features, including a chronological feed. Bluesky and Mastodon, on the other hand, saw downloads decline after the rebranding of X subdued, with installs dropping 25% and 40%, respectively.

The "X-odus," in other words, has not settled on a new platform.

X, meanwhile, fell 4 spots to 36 at this time as its own installs decreased by 8%. That includes a decline across both iOS and Android, down 22% and 18% respectively, Sensor Tower noted.

But one X-owned app continued to do well -- Twitter Lite downloads increased, up 50% from the previous time frame. It seems the brand name "Twitter" still holds some clout on the app stores, and is stealing away potential installs from the newly renamed X.