In a nutshell

  • Threads had a record-breaking launch but has seen a dramatic decline in daily users, raising questions about its long-term success.
  • Threads’ smaller user base compared to other platforms limits its appeal for content creators seeking broader reach.
  • Content creators should carefully consider their target audience, the platform’s current user base size and the potential duplicity of efforts across social media platforms before investing time and resources in Threads.

Between the massive growth that Meta has been driving in recent years and the circus that surrounds Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter, now known as X, it wasn’t really surprising when the Threads app was launched earlier this year. Built by the Instagram, it intends to be direct competition (perhaps with a more sensible approach to community management?) to X/Twitter. 

What was surprising, though, was the record-breaking stats during the Threads launch, followed by a dramatic decline in daily users. Even as 15 million users have dropped off from X, daily activity on Threads is still lackluster. Since then, Threads has slipped away from the limelight. Will Threads regain its relevancy, or is the platform already dead?

What is Threads? 

Threads is a free text-based social media app that was announced on July 5, 2023. It’s available in over 100 countries, although it’s currently banned in Iran and censored in China.

The feed is primarily intended to be text-based, but it also allows photos and up to 5 minutes of video posts. Similar to other social media apps, users can follow profiles and engage by commenting or replying. 

With over 40 million installs on the first day, Threads’ wildly successful launch was due in large part to being fully integrated with Instagram (IG). That made it easy for people logging into their IG account to opt-in to create a Threads account. Creating profiles is not the same as using the app, though, and it seems many people aren’t using it.

Threads is integrated with Instagram under the Meta umbrella. This means it’s super easy for Instagram users to create posts in their Threads account. However, it also means that you can’t create a profile on Threads without an Instagram account and you can’t delete your profile without also deleting your Instagram.

Is Threads really that different from X?

Creating a new social media platform is a pretty hard sell because you’ve really got to provide something new and different enough to create value for the users — not just an alternative to existing platforms. So what’s special about Threads? 

Threads is designed to allow users to do more than X. Although some of the things that Threads is offering more of are just expanded basics (like more text characters, photos and video). However, there are some additional features that can make a big difference. For example, it promises to provide more security and more integration. You’ll also be able to have more personalized experiences and curate small circles for deeper discussions. 

Should content creators use Threads?

The reality is that “more” doesn’t always tip the scale when it comes to deciding where to invest your time and energy. That might be unfortunate news for Threads. Consider these factors alongside your own goals and priorities to determine whether building an audience on Threads is worthwhile.

First, platforms like Threads and X are designed as microblogs and information outlets. It helps you keep in touch with your audience wherever they are, even when they’re not tuning into your channel on other sites regularly. Also, it offers a different type of engagement than your followers get when they watch your videos or streams. Adding layers of touchpoints can foster loyalty as part of a good engagement strategy

Next, what does your target audience actually want? Are they part of the demographics of active Threads users? Given Threads’ smaller user base compared to other social media platforms, content creators may find opportunities to stand out by targeting a specific niche audience. If you prefer to interact on this level, this new platform may be the right place to do it.

On the other hand, Threads currently has a relatively smaller user base compared to more established platforms. This may result in fewer potential followers or reduced reach compared to platforms with larger audiences. If you want to reach a broader audience, Threads may not give you the results you’re looking for.

If you’re not careful about the amount of time, energy and marketing efforts you use, you may end up with duplicity. For example, your target audience may already follow you on multiple platforms. Conversely, you may be reaching different people in different places. Knowing this can help you determine whether putting resources into a new outlet will be useful or not.

Banking on promises? 

While Threads had a notable launch, its growth and long-term success is uncertain. If it shuts down or dramatically changes direction, will your efforts there be wasted? Possibly. Its struggle to maintain momentum raises doubts about its long-term viability. Even with the opportunity to foster a close-knit community, the small base of active users is concerning. For many creators right now, it’s not worth the extra effort. Nevertheless, until more data and success materialize on the platform, consider carefully whether it’s likely to help you reach your goals or become a waste of energy.