Meta’s Threads Sees Huge Decline in Use After First Week

The so-called ‘Twitter-killer’ has seen a 71% drop in users’ time spent on the app.

Despite over 100m downloads in its first five days, and a week after its peak usage, a new report has shown that the average time spent on Meta’s Threads has fallen from 21 minutes to just six.

The analysis by digital data firm Similarweb looked at Android users in the US and also reported that the app’s daily active users fell from 49m to 24m between July 7 and 14.

During this period, time on Twitter also fell, with a 4.3% decline on Android. However, the platform's total usage time of 25 minutes still far outweighed Threads. 

This news should come as music to Twitter’s ears, particularly after it seemed to have recently blocked users from linking to its Meta-owned rival.

A Decline Was To Be Expected

A surge of interest and downloads is always to be expected when a shiny new product comes out, particularly when it’s surrounded in so much founder-led controversy

Built on Meta’s existing Instagram platform, Threads was heralded as the most robust rival to Twitter. A theory that was proven correct when it shot to over 100m users and took ChatGPT’s record for becoming the fastest-growing consumer app ever.

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While this decline in time spent on the app seems significant on the surface, Meta are assuring that it’s all par for the course.

“Our focus right now is not engagement, which has been amazing, but getting past the initial peak and trough we see with every new product” Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself has reiterated this point stating that the growth was “way ahead of what we expected” and that “focus for the rest of the year is improving the basics and retention”. 

A “Lack Of Basic Features” Could Be Behind Drop

Meta has been open about its ‘minimum viable product’ approach to release, with Mosseri stating that they wanted to launch Threads “sooner rather than later [to see] if people were even interested” in the platform.

This meant basic features, such as the ability to search via hashtags, were missing – a misstep that has been noted by users and advertisers alike.

The recent decline in users’ time on the app has been attributed to this lack of features, particularly when compared to Twitter. Now that the honeymoon period is wearing off, users need to find a compelling reason to stay on Threads instead of reverting back to Twitter, where their scrolling habits have already been established.

On that note, it appears that users are still figuring out how Threads fits into their social media routine. When should Threads be checked, and should that time and attention be taken from Instagram or Twitter, for example. 

Despite this uncertainty, Meta is pushing forward in innovation having announced a translation function and an easier way for users to see who is following them.

The Rivalry Rumbles On

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has made his thoughts on Threads perfectly clear, having threatened legal action owing to its “misappropriation of trade secrets”.

Zuckerberg’s response has been to tout Threads as a logical and more sanely-run alternative  “I think there should be a public conversations app with 1bn+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this, but hasn’t nailed it” he stated, following Threads’ launch. 

According to Anthony Bartoloacci, managing director at the online analytics firm Sensor Tower, Meta will need a “more compelling value proposition than simply ‘Twitter, but without Elon Musk’”.

Threads also needs to better define itself as a social space, instead of simply replicating or expanding upon existing Twitter features.

New features such as topical search and a follow feed would be handy additions to have, and mark a push towards being a platform for influencer-driven content. The ad-free space of the platform is another notable difference, but how long that will stay remains to be seen.

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Written by:
Ellis Di Cataldo (MA) has over 9 years experience writing about, and for, some of the world’s biggest tech companies. She's been the lead writer across digital campaigns, always-on content and worldwide product launches, for global brands including Sony, Electrolux, Byrd, The Open University and Barclaycard. Her particular areas of interest are business trends, startup stories and product news.
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