Threads vs Twitter: from rival to retreat in 3 weeks

Anne Freer | August 15, 2023

App Business

Within just three weeks, Threads seems to have gone from formidable Twitter rival to just another social app. Similarweb, the data aggregation and software firm, recorded a drastic decline of nearly 80 percent in daily user numbers, indicating a significant setback for the app. Could this spill the end for Threads?

Capturing attention

Similarweb data recorded a drop in daily active users on Android mobile devices, plummeting from 49 million to 11 million. But this analysis didn’t encompass user figures for Apple’s iOS mobile platform.

The count of global users on Android devices surged from 6 million on July 5, the day of Meta’s app launch, to 41 million the next day. It then reached a peak of nearly 50 million on July 7, equivalent to around 45 percent of Twitter’s usage on that particular day.

Threads vs Twitter change in usage

Source: Similarweb

Threads previously managed to capture more attention than its Twitter rivals such as Mastodon and Bluesky, but the steep decline in user engagement underscores the difficulties in attracting and retaining users in a highly competitive social media landscape.

Quick to rise, quick to fall

Threads quickly amassed 100 million users within just five days, a milestone that took Twitter 5.4 years to accomplish. A crucial factor in this achievement was Instagram, also a Meta-owned entity, which leveraged its existing audience of 1.4 billion to facilitate the recruitment of users for Threads.

However, it’s worth noting that Threads currently lacks a number of fundamental features and still needs to provide a compelling incentive for users to transition from Twitter or adopt Threads as their preferred social media platform.

App engagement on Threads

Source: Similarweb

Consequently, usage of the app has steadily dwindled since its launch, with daily active users on Android devices remaining at around 11 to 12 million over the last seven days.

Interestingly, the launch of Threads has not significantly impacted Twitter’s usage on the same platform. Following Elon Musk’s rebranding, Twitter, now known as X Corp, recorded a daily active user count ranging from 107 to 109 million on Android devices during the week after Meta introduced its text-based rival. In the subsequent week, this count oscillated between 108 and 114 million.

Key takeaways

  • Threads saw an 80% drop in daily users within weeks, indicating challenges in social media competition
  • Instagram’s support boosted Threads to 100M users quickly, a feat Twitter took years to achieve
  • Despite initial attention, Threads faces decline and needs compelling features to rival Twitter’s dominance

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