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Is Threads Really in Decline? Instagram’s New Twitter Rival Still Holds Promise!

Thread traffic really declining

The Wall Street Journal issued a warning on Friday that Instagram’s new Twitter competitor Threads really in decline? According to third-party data from Sensor Tower, the number of daily active users on Threads decreased to 13 million during the second week, representing a 70% drop since July 7. This figure is significantly lower than Twitter’s 200 million daily active users. Although these numbers may appear to be concerning, it is too early to write off Threads.

The user base and traction in global markets for this app have grown steadily since, and with the improvement of its features, usage is likely to increase even more.

Usage numbers typically drop as users return to their old habits and decide if and how to incorporate the new app into their daily routines. Meta executives plan for an eventual decline and do not consider this usage drop as worrisome. It is too soon to make any determination on Threads’ eventual fate since it is still too new and incomplete.

Could Threads be a record-breaking flop or a Twitter killer? It’s too soon to determine if it will be a mid-level success or a bona fide blockbuster.

On July 5, Threads launched in global markets, except the EU, and quickly surpassed 100 million users, making it the fastest app to achieve this milestone, outpacing Pokémon GO, as reported by app intelligence firm data.ai. Within its initial three days, Threads had 18.3% of Twitter’s daily active users, amounting to 54.4 million compared to Twitter’s 298 million. As of last week, data.ai estimated the app’s weekly active user base to be approximately one-fifth of Twitter’s.

Is Threads Really in Decline
Image Credits: data.ai

Threads reached its peak in app installs on July 9, shortly after its launch, with 24.5 million downloads globally across iOS and Android, according to data.ai. While the initial excitement may be subsiding, the app continues to attract over 1 million new downloads daily in recent days, ranging from 1.76 million on July 16 to 1.06 million on July 20. These impressive figures would be a cause for celebration for any new app, but some may argue Threads should face stricter scrutiny due to the network effects from its parent app Instagram and the extensive resources of Meta.

Image Credit: data.ai

Interestingly, Threads has found significant popularity in emerging mobile markets. Data.ai’s analysis reveals that the United States only ranks as its third-largest market. Instead, India and Brazil lead the way with 60.1 million (32.6%) and 40.2 million (21.8%) downloads, respectively. The U.S. accounts for 27.8 million downloads (15.1%). These statistics indicate that Threads is striking a chord with users in diverse regions.

The initial usage numbers also demonstrated Threads’ potential as a strong Twitter rival. During its early days, Threads users spent an average of 15 minutes on the app daily, engaging in approximately 9.4 app sessions. This exceeded the “microblogging” category averages, which includes Twitter, Truth Social, Mastodon, and Bluesky. Users in the microblogging category spent an average of 12.5 minutes per day across 7.8 app sessions.

However, Threads’ recent usage might have dipped as indicated by Sensor Tower data. The decline might not necessarily be a reflection of disappointment with the app itself but rather a consequence of its current feature set when compared to Twitter.

Threads is still effectively in a beta stage, lacking several features that users expect from a microblogging tool, such as a chronological timeline, following feed, the ability to view likes, a fully functional web version, an edit button, support for multiple accounts, and more. These missing features are reportedly in development, along with Threads’ planned integration with ActivityPub, the protocol empowering the open-source Twitter alternative, Mastodon.

Despite the absence of certain features, Threads has garnered support from its user base. Many users have defended the app, emphasizing its status as a work in progress, and urged others to be patient as new features are added. The app has started to build a community of fans, supported by positive messages from users who view Threads as an opportunity and an exciting alternative to Twitter.

The app’s U.S. App Store rating currently stands at 3.8 stars, based on approximately 20,000 reviews. While it enjoys praise for being less toxic than Twitter, some users have downrated it due to its incomplete nature. They appreciate the promising start but have reduced stars due to the lack of certain essential features. By comparison, Instagram holds a 4.7-star rating, while Facebook trails with a 2.3-star rating.

Despite recent speculation and concerns raised by The Wall Street Journal, it is premature to conclude that Threads is on a decline. With an estimated 116 million users and growing, the app remains far from being considered “dead.”

Moreover, the dynamic nature of the social media landscape, as evident in the resurgence of Mastodon, suggests that apps like Threads have the potential to bounce back and continue their growth trajectory.

Ultimately, Threads’ success does not depend on Twitter’s failure. Users have the freedom to choose between the two platforms or even use both simultaneously. It is not a zero-sum game, and the social media market is open to experimentation and new alternatives.

While Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Threads, has not always succeeded in launching new apps, Threads’ current numbers and potential for further development make it far from an app in danger of being abandoned.

As the team behind Threads continues to refine and update the app with new features, the future looks promising for this rising contender in the world of microblogging and social media.