Meta is still betting Threads can beat Elon Musk’s X — but Zuck faces an uphill battle

Threads was launched a year ago.

Meta’s Threads just celebrated its first anniversary.The social platform broke records when it first launched — and it’s still growing.Meta is still betting Threads can overtake X, but the platform still faces challenges. 

Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter-killer, Threads, celebrated its first birthday.

The platform became the world’s fastest-growing app when it launched after hitting 100 million users in just five days.

A year on, Threads is still growing, albeit not as quickly. Zuck said last week the X rival now has more than 175 million monthly active users.

Threads owes much of its early success to its close links with Instagram.

The ability for users to sign up with their Instagram login made it easy to create an account and find contacts. It also launched when some were seeking an alternative to Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover.

In contrast, X’s growth is stalling. The platform said its number of global daily active users had increased by 1.6% to 251 million in the second quarter of this year, The Financial Times reported Tuesday.

That represents a 1.6% year-on-year increase and contrasts with the double-digit growth the platform then called Twitter generally posted before Musk bought it.

In a recent interview with Platformer, Threads and Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said the aim was still overtaking X. However, Threads was focusing on differentiating itself from X in a bid to win more users.

“Another key focus is how do we double down on one of our differentiators, which is just to be a less angry space,” Mosseri told the outlet, adding that undertaking some “basic content moderation” had helped.

Meta’s Adam Mosseri.

Zuckerberg originally promoted Threads as a “friendlier” alternative to X. But a year on, it does not appear to have yet become a genuine threat to Musk’s platform.

“In the short term at least, Threads does not pose a significant challenge to X,” Paul Carter, CEO of telecommunications firm GWS, told Business Insider.

“Threads needs to do more to set itself apart if it’s going to pose a significant challenge or even look to overtake X in the future.”

Engagement issues

Meta says Threads has 175 million active monthly users. Still, data provided to the FT from analytics company Sensor Tower estimates the platform only has 38 million visitors daily, suggesting that users open the app less often than other platforms.

In April, Sensor Tower estimated Threads had averaged 28 million daily active users in the US, while X averaged 22 million.

However, according to data provided by GWS, Threads still had a problem engaging users.

“Despite recent growth, it is struggling to keep its users on the platform for a sustained period,” Carter said. “As of June 2024, users spent just six minutes on the app each day, compared to X at 23 minutes or Instagram at 36 minutes.”

“New entrants into the social media market can succeed — just look at the rise of TikTok. For Threads, however, the platform simply isn’t sufficiently setting itself apart,” he added.

An Instagram add-on

While Meta still backs Threads to overtake X, the platform still very much exists alongside Instagram.

“Threads remains highly dependent on Instagram — in fact, it is hard to see how Threads would have amassed its audience without Instagram,” Carter said.

Mosseri acknowledged the platform was still “deeply integrated with Instagram,” but said he planned to make it more independent.

“We’re working on things like Threads-only accounts and data separation,” he said. “As we iterate on the product, it’s gonna differentiate more and more.”

But given that it’s so intrinsically linked to Meta’s vastly more popular app, it’s difficult to see Threads fully escaping from Instagram’s shadow in the near future.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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