In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, unveiled its answer to Twitter: Threads. Initial fervour was undeniable as Threads quickly garnered over 100 million user sign-ups within its first week. However, the subsequent trajectory hints at the hurdles facing the platform in maintaining sustained engagement.
Threads’ meteoric rise saw daily active users peak at 49 million just two days after its launch, only to subside to 23.6 million by the recent Friday, according to Similarweb. Simultaneously, average usage time dwindled from 21 minutes to a modest 6 minutes. These statistics underscore the challenge of nurturing continued user interest. As Meta endeavours to not only divert users from Twitter but also tap into a larger audience, Threads’ current situation reflects common social media platform issues: user retention, spam, and regulatory scrutiny.
Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg remains positive about the Threads community’s growth, emphasizing the need to enhance user experience and retention. Recognizing the difficulty of maintaining engagement beyond the initial sign-up phase, Meta’s executives acknowledged this early on. This challenge is especially pronounced for Threads, which launched as a minimalistic app exploiting Twitter’s vulnerabilities and utilizing Instagram’s network for smoother sign-ups.
Threads’ recent iOS updates reflect its commitment to constant refinement. These additions include a translation button, a feed tab showing new followers, and the option to subscribe to non-followed accounts for notifications. The vision extends further, encompassing a potential desktop version and specialized feeds. Adam Mosseri, overseeing Threads’ launch and heading Instagram, acknowledges the ambitious nature of these plans.
A recurring issue for social platforms, spam, has found its way into Threads. User complaints about spammy links and unsolicited giveaways disrupting conversations prompted Mosseri’s response. Stricter activity limits are in the works to counter the surge in spam attacks, although these measures might inadvertently impact legitimate users.
This new platform’s impact on Meta’s overall business is a mixed bag. While the platform’s introduction led to a commendable 6% surge in Meta’s shares, analysts are sceptical about its immediate financial contribution. It could extract more engagement from Meta’s existing user base and complement the core advertising business. With the latter facing challenges from an online ad market decline and Apple’s privacy shifts, Threads could inject new life into Meta’s ad endeavours.
Despite Meta’s plan to introduce advertising after achieving critical mass, advertisers might hesitate. Morningstar’s senior equity analyst, Ali Mogharabi, points out potential concerns regarding user retention and engagement, leading to advertiser apprehension.
In conclusion, Threads’ journey from explosive debut to ongoing challenges epitomizes the complexity of social media platforms. While Meta’s enthusiasm for Threads remains unwavering, the path ahead is intricate. Finding an equilibrium between growth, engagement, and user concerns will define Threads’ fate in the fiercely competitive social networking domain.