Meta's Threads, the social media app introduced as a potential rival to Twitter, is facing a significant decline in user engagement. According to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the number of daily active users has experienced a staggering 70% drop since its peak on July 7. Additionally, the average time spent on the app has decreased from 19 minutes to just 4 minutes. These statistics raise concerns about the long-term viability of Threads as a major player in the social media landscape.
When Threads launched on July 5, it quickly gained traction, attracting millions of users who were eager for an alternative to Twitter. In just one week, the app boasted an impressive 100 million sign-ups. However, the initial excitement seems to have faded rapidly, as the number of daily active users plummeted from 44 million on July 7 to a mere 13 million. This decline is accompanied by a significant decrease in the average time users spend on the app.
One possible explanation for the declining engagement on Threads is the absence of key features that Twitter users have come to rely on. Unlike Twitter, Threads lacks desktop functionality, limiting its accessibility and convenience. Additionally, the app lacks the ability to search for topics, restricting users to only searching for other users. These limitations may have contributed to users' dissatisfaction and ultimately led to the decline in engagement.
Engagement and interaction are crucial factors for the success of any social media platform. Lia Haberman, a social media marketing lecturer at UCLA, emphasizes that the number of sign-ups is irrelevant compared to the level of engagement. She highlights that Threads is ultimately a for-profit business, not a virtual town square. To thrive in the competitive social media landscape, Threads must prioritize creating an engaging and interactive user experience.
Despite the decline in user engagement, Meta executives remain optimistic and have acknowledged the expected drop in usage. They are actively working on introducing new features to enhance user experience and retain users on the app. The Wall Street Journal reports that Meta's executives are determined to address the current challenges and improve the platform's performance, ranking, and overall functionality.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long expressed his ambition to create a public conversations app with over a billion users. He believes that Twitter has failed to achieve this vision and sees an opportunity for Threads to fill the gap. However, the current decline in user engagement raises questions about whether Threads can truly become the platform that Zuckerberg envisions.
The launch of Threads coincided with a period of turmoil for Twitter, which had been acquired by Elon Musk. Under Musk's leadership, Twitter's value has declined significantly, and the platform has faced various controversies and challenges. Meta saw this as an opportunity to attract disillusioned Twitter users and provide them with a different social media experience.
The similarities between Threads and Twitter led Elon Musk to threaten legal action against Meta, accusing the company of intellectual property theft. Musk claimed that Meta had hired former Twitter employees who had access to trade secrets, constituting a violation. However, Meta has denied these allegations, and the legal battle between the two social media giants remains unresolved.
Despite the decline in user engagement, Meta remains committed to improving Threads and increasing user numbers before pursuing monetization strategies. They aim to refine the platform's features, enhance performance, and optimize the ranking algorithms. The ultimate goal is to create a compelling user experience that attracts and retains a loyal user base.