LinkedIn is the Twitter/X rival no one is talking about

Since Elon Musk acquired Twitter in the fall of 2022, the market for Twitter alternatives has been saturated with would-be competitors ranging from smaller startups to open source apps to well-funded efforts like Threads from Instagram. But there's one overlooked Twitter/X alternative that's been growing right under our collective noses: LinkedIn. As of March, LinkedIn's web traffic was up 10.6% year-over-year compared with a decline of 15.2% for X, according to traffic analytics data from digital intelligence platform Similarweb.

Compared with November 2022 -- or right after Musk took over Twitter -- X's web traffic has declined by 10%, while LinkedIn's has grown 18%.

In March, Twitter/X saw 727.6 million (deduplicated) unique visitors worldwide, a decline of 7.5% year-over-year. LinkedIn had a much smaller total -- 269.2 million -- but that figure was up 11.1% year-over-year, Similarweb said.

In addition, the firm found that worldwide Android app usage of LinkedIn was up 14% since November 2022 as of March, while X had dropped by 20%.

Another source for app data, Appfigures, doesn't see the same trend playing out across mobile, however. Its data indicates that LinkedIn's monthly downloads were up 10% year-over-year, while X's were down by 24% -- but Appfigures attributes this decline to the rebranding of Twitter to X, not other consumer behavior. LinkedIn's average downloads have stayed consistent before and after the Musk Twitter takeover, the firm said.

Still, given that people work at their desktops and laptops during the day, it makes sense that some business professionals could have shifted a portion of their web usage of X over to LinkedIn as a result of Twitter's transition.

Now, with features like games (launched today) and short-form videos coming to LinkedIn, it's clear that the social network's owner, Microsoft, is hoping to capture the attention and interest of those users who used to network via Twitter -- and particularly the younger Gen Z crowd.

The strategy appears to be working. As Appfigures also points out, LinkedIn's mobile app is earning more than X and Snapchat combined across both iOS and Android.

That's not an apples-to-apples comparison, given that LinkedIn's subscriptions are higher-priced, starting at $29.99/month and going up to as much as $69.99/month on the app stores. X's monthly subscriptions instead range from $4 to $22, though users can opt to pay for higher-priced annual subscriptions, as well. Snapchat Plus, meanwhile, is only $3.99 per month or $29.99 per year.

Image Credits: Appfigures

In other words, LinkedIn doesn't have to sell as many subscriptions to boost its revenue -- and it hasn't had trouble outcompeting X or Snapchat on mobile before.

However, Appfigures notes that LinkedIn's mobile app revenue has been rapidly growing from $20 million in Q1 2021 to $91 million in Q1 2023. It has now hit its biggest quarter ever, at $119 million in app revenue as of Q1 2024.

By comparison, X and Snapchat saw $23 million and $67 million, respectively, in the first quarter, totaling $90 million combined -- or lower than LinkedIn.

LinkedIn declined to comment on the third-party data.

Updated, 1:10 pm et with LinkedIn response.