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Meta’s Threads sees plummeting user engagement

Lungile Msomi
By Lungile Msomi, ITWeb journalist
Johannesburg, 20 Jul 2023
Threads sees a drop in user engagement and daily active users.
Threads sees a drop in user engagement and daily active users.

Meta’s Threads app has seen a drop in user engagement and daily active users since its meteoric rise, which saw the app reach 100 million users less than a week after its launch.

According to a blog post by digital data and analytics company Similarweb, the app has seen its daily active users drop from 49 million to 23.6 million users.

On 7 July, the app saw its best day, having more than 49 million daily active users on Android worldwide, according to Similarweb estimates. That’s about 45% of the usage of Twitter, which had more than 109 million active Android users that day.

Brent Janse Van Vuuren, MD of SocialMedia101, tells ITWeb the lack of basic features, such as hashtags, direct messages and a chronological feed may have hindered user engagement and led to a drop in daily active users on the app.

“Additionally, the content restrictions set by Meta, which do not to prioritise news or politics, might have deterred Twitter's power users from switching. It's also worth considering that Threads, a text-centric platform, might not align perfectly with Instagram users' preferences, known for their engagement with image and video content. This possible user misalignment could have contributed to the decline in daily active users,” said Janse Van Vuuren.

In over a week since its launch, Threads was down to 23.6 million active daily users, or about 22% of Twitter’s audience.

“Threads’ drop in daily active users seems more representative of an initial launch cycle than an emerging trend. It is quite common for a new app to see an initial surge in users who are curious about the platform but retaining these users over the long-term is often a much bigger challenge,” comments Janse Van Vuuren.

Meanwhile, there hasn’t been much improvement for Elon Musk’s Twitter.

On Android, the percentage of new users on Twitter who are continuing to regularly use the Twitter app after 30 days dropped from 19% in May 2022, to 16% in May 2023, says Similarweb.

Users have lamented the introduction of limitations on how many posts can be read by users on Twitter, and other controversial decisions by Musk may be catalysts for the drop in user engagement on the platform.

Threads became a success story when it reached 100 million users within days of its arrival. The app, which leverages Instagram users, has become the preferred choice for many as it continues to rival Twitter.

Threads had its first major update for iOS yesterday, providing new features, such as capability to translate text, the inclusion of a follow tab within the activity feed, the option to subscribe to unfollowed users, activity feed scrolling and loading improvements.

Janse Van Vuuren believes Meta’s experience in the social media sphere (with Facebook and Instagram) and resources will help it gain back daily active users and increase engagements.

“Currently, Meta's focus lies in stabilising Threads' performance, improving the basic functionalities and enhancing user retention. Once these foundational aspects are optimised, the company plans to shift its attention towards further growing the Threads community.

“The swift response to user feedback and the implementation of new features signal Meta's commitment to improving the platform.”