It is also possible that as users become more familiar with the AI tool, they spend less time exploring its features and go straight to executing specific tasks, accounting for the drop in engagement time.
OpenAI’s popular artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT has recorded a drop in monthly web visits for the third consecutive month in August. According to data recorded by analytics firm Similarweb, worldwide desktop and mobile visits to the ChatGPT website declined by 3.2% to 1.43 billion in August.
This comes after both of the previous two months – June and July – recorded 10% drops each. In addition, the average amount of time visitors spent on the website has also been on a steady decline since March, dropping from 8.7 minutes to 7 minutes in August.
The generative AI tool was launched in November 2022 and went on to grow exponentially. By January, the app had 100 million monthly active users and by February, UBS Research named ChatGPT the “fastest-growing consumer application in history”. In June, however, the site reported its first decline since its launch. Global traffic dropped by 9.7% (10.3% in the US alone). Compared to May, unique visitors to the site fell by 5.7% while user engagement dropped by 8.5%.
On the other hand, unique visitors to the ChatGPT website increased from 180 million to 180.5 million in August. David F. Carr of Similarweb notes that this increase in traffic could be attributed to schools being back in session in the United States.
“Students seeking homework help appears to be part of the story: the percentage of younger users of the website dropped over the summer and is now starting to bounce back,” he stated.
It is also possible that as users become more familiar with the AI tool, they spend less time exploring its features and go straight to executing specific tasks, accounting for the drop in engagement time. The latest models of the chatbot, including GPT-4, are available for API access and are being tailored for specific uses by creators of various apps, products, and services. This, in addition to the launch of the ChatGPT mobile application, could also account for the drop in website traffic seen in the past weeks.
Overall, the decline in ChatGPT web traffic does not signal the fall of the tool or indeed AI chatbots in general. ChatGPT is still one of the top 30 websites worldwide, despite competition from Google’s Bard, which has been experiencing steady growth. It is also worth noting that OpenAI’s revenue is not solely dependent on ChatGPT’s premium subscriptions. The company also sells access to its models to developers and companies hoping to integrate ChatGPT’s features into their systems. The models are available via APIs and Microsoft Azure as part of a partnership with Microsoft, which has invested over $10 billion into OpenAI.
With more changes to come in the constantly evolving world of AI – including the retiring of old models and the ushering in of new ones – the decline could be attributed to any number of factors including market correction or a reflection of the change in user interactions with the platform.