Threads had it’s fifteen minutes of fame. The Twitter/X killer was leveraged as the fastest-growing platform in the history of apps, hitting 100 million user signups less than a week after launch.
“100 million people signed up for Threads in five days. I’m not sure I can wrap my mind around that fact,” Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri had posted on Threads. “It’s insane; I can’t make sense of it.”
And only a month later since Meta released its Instagram-tied Twitter-killer app, the time users spent on the app has tanked. Now, two separate data analysis firms say that the number of users logging in each day on the app has similarly flatlined just a month after its release.
Threads daily active users hovered around 49 million just two days after launch. By Aug. 1 that number had cratered to just over 9.6 million. Engagement is also way down from early in Thread’s lifespan. Time spent on the app in all available markets peaked on July 6 at about 14 minutes a day, but that time has been cut to just 2.3 minutes by Aug. 1.
So, apart from the fact that this was billed as a fight between the billionaires, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter/X takeover-CEO Elon Musk, what does this mean for the world of Internet business?
For that, let us breakdown the main reasons behind the dismal failure of Threads:
Bad idea to pull in Instagram users to Threads
Twitter/X users are used to mainly text-based posts, occasionally accompanied by images & videos. They can be classed as more intellectually stimulating than other social media apps. Meta was banking on the popularity of Instagram to be the catalyst of success for Threads. Thread needs its own identity and value proposition separate to Instagram. If connecting and communicating with Instagram is an additional benefit to using Threads then that is great, but it can’t be the core value proposition. Instagram users like the image-based content and for video-content, they head to Reels.
It ain’t unique
The 101 of any startup is to have a Unique Value Proposition. No demand no signups. Threads is not unique like Twitter/X was when it launched. It was created solely to compete with Twitter/X. So why should I continue using it? Yes, it signed up 10 million users in its first seven hours of it launching, but that was solely due to a combination of curiosity from Instagram users, and the fact that it was being marketed as an Instagram app. If we were to take Instagram out of the equation would you download Threads?
It’s just an inferior copy of Twitter/X
Threads seems to be a rehashed version of Twitter/X and launched as a Minimum Viable Product. If the product is unique and one is introducing a new concept to the world; the users will accept a MVP. Not when there is a original, superior, popular product out there. Some of Twitter’s top problems include online hate and diversification of revenue. Most of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising. Meta is one of Twitter’s biggest advertisers, so Twitter might lose that account but Meta don’t exactly have advertisers queuing up for Threads either. On the plus side, Instagram has a very successful revenue model but that is driven by its unique value proposition which Threads doesn’t have.
One thing that seems to be true is that if there’s a popular new social-media app, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg will find a way to copy it into at least one of Meta’s apps. The most obvious examples are when the company copied Snapchat with Instagram — and later Facebook — Stories. Or when it added Reels, a direct rip-off of TikTok.
And the story of the “origin” of Facebook is well-known. Mark Zuckerberg was accused of stealing the idea for Facebook from ConnectU.com, which involved three classmates and clients who wanted a social website for Harvard students. There is no denying that Mark Zuckerberg was the one who created Facebook, but the idea came from Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss, and his twin brother Tyler Winklevoss.
And that is not a stamp of approval for Elon Musk either. Tesla and Twitter/X are amazing, life-changing products; but both companies existed before. Though one must say that they have thrived and progressed under Elon Musk’s erratic yet successful leadership.
The world does not need clones of existing concepts. With all the resources that Meta has at it’s disposal, can we please have some groundbreaking new ideas and see them rise in the digital world?