In the ever-evolving world of social media, user engagement is a critical metric that determines the success and longevity of platforms. Recent data from analytics firms SimilarWeb and Sensor Tower reveals a concerning trend for Meta’s latest social media venture, Threads. A week after its highly anticipated launch, the platform experienced a significant decline in user engagement and daily active users (DAUs).
Threads made headlines as it garnered an astounding 100 million users within a week of its launch, earning it the title of the fastest-growing app of all time. However, the initial excitement seems to have waned as user engagement and DAUs plummeted in a short period of time. According to SimilarWeb’s report, Threads witnessed a sharp drop from 49 million daily active users on 7 July 2023 to a mere 23.6 million on 14 July. This decline is further supported by Sensor Tower’s findings, which indicate a double-digit decline in DAUs and user engagement since the platform’s inception.
Several factors could be contributing to the decline in user engagement on Threads. One potential reason is the lack of essential features that users have come to expect from a social media platform. Brent Janse Van Vuuren, MD of SocialMedia101, suggests that the absence of features like hashtags, direct messages, and a chronological feed may have hindered user engagement and led to the drop in daily active users. Additionally, Meta’s content restrictions, which prioritise non-political and non-news content, might have deterred power users from transitioning from platforms like Twitter.
It’s worth considering that Threads, being primarily text-centric, may not align perfectly with the preferences of Instagram users, known for their engagement with image and video content. This misalignment could have further contributed to the decline in daily active users.
While the initial surge in users during the launch phase is not uncommon for new apps, the challenge lies in retaining these users over the long term. Brent Janse Van Vuuren comments that Threads’ drop in daily active users seems more representative of an initial launch cycle rather than an emerging trend. Meta, with its experience and resources in the social media sphere through platforms like Facebook and Instagram, is well-equipped to address this challenge. The company’s current focus lies in stabilising Threads’ performance, enhancing basic functionalities, and improving user retention. Once these foundational aspects are optimised, Meta plans to shift its attention towards further growing the Threads community.
While Threads experiences a decline in user engagement, Twitter, another major player in the social media landscape, is also facing challenges. SimilarWeb’s data reveals a drop in the percentage of new users on Twitter who continue to regularly use the platform after 30 days. The figure decreased from 19% in May 2022 to 16% in May 2023. Controversial decisions by Twitter CEO Elon Musk, along with limitations on the number of posts that users can read, may have contributed to the decreasing user engagement on the platform. This decline in Twitter’s user engagement could have also played a role in users seeking alternatives like Threads.
Threads achieved rapid success due to its integration with Instagram, making it an attractive alternative for users seeking a new social media experience. The seamless connection between Threads and Instagram facilitated a smooth transition for users who were already familiar with the latter platform. This integration allowed users to easily switch from Twitter to Threads, further contributing to the initial surge in daily active users. However, as the decline in user engagement suggests, the initial excitement may not have translated into long-term engagement and retention.
Threads recently released its first major update for iOS to address declining user engagement. This update introduced new features such as text translation, a follow tab within the activity feed, the option to subscribe to unfollowed users, and improvements in activity feed scrolling and loading. These enhancements demonstrate Meta’s commitment to improving the platform and responding swiftly to user feedback. As Meta continues to refine Threads and enhance its functionalities, the company aims to regain daily active users and increase engagement.
With Meta’s experience and resources, Threads has the potential to bounce back and establish itself as a significant player in the social media landscape. As the platform evolves and addresses user concerns, it will be interesting to see how Threads fares in the highly competitive world of social media.