Threads celebrates its 1st anniversary: ​​what is the outcome for X’s competitor?

Threads celebrates its 1st anniversary: ​​what is the outcome for X’s competitor?

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The storyline of the duel between Threads and Twitter was every bit as good as the summer sagas, those mini-series broadcast weekly during the summer period and traditionally centered around family intrigues or rivalries between clans – which usually oppose each other in every way. On July 5, 2023, by deploying its text-based platform, the Meta group kicked off a soap opera full of twists and turns, which would play out on all fronts, both online and offline.

In the virtual world, it was not a given that Meta would win the battle for attention, even against a struggling Twitter, while other, certainly more modest, players had failed before it. Did its project, which had matured for weeks under the name P92, but which was stripped of a series of major features at launch, have enough assets to definitively make the historic player in microblogging obsolete? And this, even if the latter multiplied the decisions altering the experience and risked causing a mass exodus?

In the real world, the competition to attract users quickly turned into a war of egos between the two founders. The duel even took an unexpected turn when Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, who had been at each other’s throats in the media until now, seriously discussed the possibility of settling their interpersonal conflict by engaging in a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight on August 26, “under the eye of the world’s cameras”, tell The world.

The fight ultimately never took place IRL (“In real life”) nor IVL (“In virtual life”). This July 4, 2024, almost exactly one year after the deployment of Threads in English-speaking countries, it seems difficult to designate a winner by knockout: Instagram’s sister application is very far from having achieved the ambitious objectives set by its CEO, while Twitter, which has become X, has not sunk as had often been predicted. But then, what assessment can we make for Threads?

A resounding success

The first indicators gave reason to be optimistic. On July 10, 2023, 4 days and 6 hours after its launch, Threads exceeded 100 million users, becoming the fastest platform in history to reach this threshold ahead of ChatGPT, the other phenomenon of the year. Despite a delayed launch in Europe, due to the integration of elements that did not comply with European regulations on digital markets (DMA), Threads had been successful enough in its launch to hope to move the lines.

Twitter had the opportunity (to reach a billion users) but didn’t succeed. We hope to achieve itMark Zuckerberg aspired to.

Undeniably, Meta’s social network has benefited from the strategic errors of the “volatile” And “unpredictable” Elon Musk, as Adam Mosseri describes it, to appeal to a crowd ofearly adopters. But it has also largely benefited from the audience and the striking force of its sister application. Considered from the design phase as an extension, as evidenced by the tagline “Threads, an Instagram App” appearing in the app stores, the platform was not starting from scratch and even had a fairly solid base. This close relationship with the application with 2 billion users also allowed it to attract many celebrities and opinion leaders at launch, including Gordon Ramsay, Ellie Goulding and later Kylie Jenner, who was nevertheless critical of the photo and video sharing network. A landing of influencers that had been meticulously orchestrated by Meta. Behind the scenes, the Menlo Park group had previously negotiated the presence of several leading personalities on its application, such as the Dalai Lama and Oprah Winfrey, according to the American media The Verge.

For a year, Threads has been stagnating

Despite many positive signals, the success was relatively short-lived. Amputated from a series of features popularized by Twitter (Trending Topics, hashtagsetc.), perhaps to cultivate its difference but above all because the application seemed to have been deployed in a hurry, Threads quickly stagnated, or even regressed. In August, the number of users using the application daily collapsed by 80%, SimilarWeb reported. And the observation was also alarming when examining other indicators: the user spent an average of three minutes on the application in August 2023, eleven minutes less than the previous month. The launch of the application in Europe, in December, temporarily revived activity, but was not enough to compensate for the drop in speed. And above all, prevent Threads from sinking into a form of immobility.

twitter-threads-number-users

Since then, the rare information available on the platform’s activity comes from Meta, the parent company, or from Mark Zuckerberg himself, who recently congratulated himself on having reached the threshold of 175 million monthly users. “What I would like to know is how many users use the app on a daily basis,” tempered Alex Heath, journalist at The Vergesuspecting the Menlo Park group of inflating its statistics by promoting Threads posts in Instagram feeds.

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What does Threads lack to make a name for itself?

After such a meteoric start, it seemed legitimate to expect broader adoption by the general public, even if the figures are far from alarming. “Twitter was initially populated only by early adopterssays Nicolas Guillemot, CEO of Dynvibe, a company specializing in social intelligence, during an interview with BDM.

Even with the power of Meta, it is difficult to predict success. Google struggled for years before abandoning Google +, for example. You can be a behemoth, have substantial financial resources, but there is no guarantee that users will join..

But then, what exactly is Threads missing to generate support? At present, the platform seems to be lagging behind in terms of features. A technical deficit that has however been partially filled, making de facto Threads increasingly similar to X. In recent months, Meta has gradually introduced or tested several new features: a web version, an atypical hashtag system, an interface similar to TweetDeck, the display of “trending” topics (Trending Now) as well as a view counter on the publications.

threads-today-topics

Despite the efforts made, Threads seems to suffer from a lack of interest, and has not been sufficiently invested by public figures, even though it is X’s main strength, giving it a head start during major events. Few journalists, media outlets, politicians or influencers have completely deserted X – which even remains a preferred communication channel for some – in favor of Meta’s application. And this, despite the ambient toxicity, the often surprising decisions of its owner or the presence of many problematic personalities or content. Last January, journalist Andrew Hutchinson, from the specialized site SocialMediaTodayhad already made this observation, by comparing the activity of the 50 most followed accounts on X to their presence on Threads. “It should be noted that half (24) of the most followed profiles on X are not present on Threads”he concluded.

The Californian group, openly wary of promoting certain content (particularly news or politics), is also undoubtedly paying for its smoother and more moderate positioning. This approach, likely to appeal to brands thinking of deserting Twitter, appears as much a strength as a weakness when it comes to conquering multiple types of users. “By hampering the platform’s natural virality based on topics, Threads risks making its content “flat,” supposedly ideal for selling ads but not for engaging these users in discussing what matters to them.”, deciphered the social data science expert Florent Lefebvre, on the Visibrain blog. It is through the commitment of its community that Twitter has a weight of size. Without it, Threads will be nothing more than the “chat” of Instagram”.

The latest analysis from SimilarWebpublished this Tuesday, July 2, 2024, nevertheless paints an optimistic picture for the latest addition to the Meta group. According to the competitive analysis platform, “Threads has been steadily building its audience over the past year” after having aroused a “massive but fleeting interest”The number of monthly active users is said to have increased by 15.8% in the United States and 6.3% in the United Kingdom.

threads-number-daily-users-july-2024

An audience which nevertheless remains distant from X: “X still has about 9x more monthly active users than Threads, based on our estimates for the US. Globally, X generates about 48x more web traffic than Threads.”concludes SimilarWeb. Last summer’s saga has yet to reach its conclusion.