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Meta’s Threads struggles to gain new users, lounges at bottom of the table

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  • Threads have continued to struggle in its quest to onboard new users to the platform, and ultimately losing the battle against Twitter. In some forecasts, the Meta-owned social media app is seen at the bottom of the list of promising apps.

Threads, the Meta-owned social media app aiming to replace Twitter, has been struggling to draw new users, and currently falling short of replicating its July debut. The app, which is often seen as a Twitter clone, currently ranks towards the bottom among popular social media platforms, ahead of only Tumblr.

According to a forecast by Insider Intelligence for 2023, Threads will have 23.7 million U.S. users, significantly trailing Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, which boast 177.9 million, 135.2 million, and 102.3 million users respectively. Even its closest rival, X, is projected to have 56.1 million U.S. users, leaving Threads with less than half the user base.

In the U.S. market, Threads is anticipated to persist as the second-to-last among social networks until 2025. This forecast aligns with previous estimates by various mobile analytics firms like Sensor Tower and Similarweb, all indicating dwindling usage of Threads.

When newly launched, Threads gained a substantial user base, largely due to its accessible sign-up process for existing Instagram users. However, its popularity has waned, especially as user have found that it is not really that alternative they seek to Twitter.

Insider Intelligence’s principal analyst, Jasmine Enberg, stressed that while Threads initially benefited from Twitter’s missteps, it cannot depend on X defectors for sustained growth. The potential introduction of a monthly subscription fee for X users might provide Threads with a clearer route for monetization. However, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously mentioned they have no immediate plans to monetize Threads until it gains more traction.

“Threads received an initial boost from Twitter’s missteps, but it can’t rely on X defectors to continue to grow. Assuming Musk doesn’t backtrack, the move will likely alienate more X users and potentially increase advertiser interest in Threads,” Enberg said.

Read also: Bluesky sees surge in new users after Musk proposes monthly fee for X users

To bolster Threads’ appeal, Meta has been introducing new features like a desktop version and a search tool. Analysts emphasize that for Threads to make a mark in the social media market, it needs to establish a distinct identity, transcending being an Instagram extension or an alternative to X. It must offer users a unique social experience akin to TikTok’s rise to prominence.

“TikTok was able to break through largely because it offered users a unique new social experience,” Enberg said.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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