What Happened To Threads?
The Rise And Fall Of Meta's Answer To Twitter.
On July 5th, 2023, Meta launched a new social media app they hoped would rival Twitter. Threads became the fastest growing social media app of all time, reaching 100 million users in just 5 days. For context, it took ChatGPT 2 months to reach the same milestone, and TikTok 9 months.
Though the initial surge was promising, the platform failed to capitalize on its meteoric rise and pretty soon after its launch it began losing users en masse.
After a single month, the daily active user count fell by almost 80%, and from there the platform drifted into insignificance.
Threads did implement some updates in an attempt to keep users engaged, like being able to share a Thread on Instagram DMs, making a version optimized for desktop and a way to mention other users in posts, but nothing could recapture its previous relevance.
Affiliate Flash’s Take:
This scenario is nothing new. A platform that has a huge initial interest but fails to keep users engaged over time - it’s a bell curve that we see repeating itself regularly across the technology landscape.
Vine and, more recently, BeReal are examples of platforms that enjoyed major success but couldn’t keep the ball rolling. BeReal, for example, went from 920,000 users to 73 million in 2022, but has since declined to 23 million users.
Although Threads’ story looks similar from the outside, the extremely dramatic nature of the platform's rise and subsequent fall is due to a few subtle differences.
So why did so many originally join Threads?
The fact that it had Meta behind it could be seen as the main reason it did so well initially. Most apps start from the ground up, having to earn users through innovation, whereas Threads was launched from a position that almost guaranteed initial notoriety and success.
Like with every platform, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a huge driver that gets users on board. The more people that join a platform, the more will keep joining, in order to avoid feeling excluded or left behind.
But ultimately, after Threads had achieved record breaking numbers, users realized it did not offer anything new. Apps like BeReal, Snapchat and TikTok allow users to express themselves or to interact with other users in a way that is not possible anywhere else. They each have a quirk that makes them unique and relevant.
Threads offered a user experience that was already popular through Twitter. It may have appeared slightly different and had different names for certain functions, but it offered the user nothing new, nothing unique. There was no reason to stick around.
There was nothing new to explore or keep them occupied for even a short period of time. They had seen it all before. As soon as users began to realize this, they bounced quickly, in huge numbers and didn’t return.
It remains to be seen what will become of Threads, but for now, Meta and Mark Zuckerburg don’t appear to be in any rush to resuscitate the platform.