Instagram Threads is gaining traction after growth stalled last year, which had some prematurely wondering if the app was already dead. New data indicates that’s not the case — in fact, Threads is continuing to grow, having tripled its downloads month-over-month in December, which gave it a place in the top 10 most downloaded apps for the month across both the App Store and Google Play.
According to data from app intelligence firm Appfigures, Threads saw 12 million new downloads in December 2023, earning it a No. 4 spot in the Top Charts by downloads on Apple’s App Store. It also saw 16 million downloads on Google Play, which gave it the No. 8 spot. On both stores combined, it was the No. 6 app by way of new installs. Not dead yet, in other words.
Threads famously had a record-breaking launch, reaching 100 million registered users within its first five days. However, the app saw its daily downloads decline starting last September through the end of the year. But in December, Threads once again returned to growth, likely due to the push Meta had given the app by displaying ads on Facebook that featured Threads’ viral posts. Today, there are an estimated 160 million Threads users, according to one tracker. Active users have likely grown as well from Meta’s last update on the app during its October earnings when the company said Threads had less than 100 million monthly active users. (Meta reports its next earnings on February 1.)
The app could also be benefiting from its move into the “fediverse” — the social network comprised of interconnected servers that communicate via the ActivityPub protocol, like Mastodon. Though Threads is moving slowly to integrate with ActivityPub, knowing that it will soon be a place where users can engage with another sizable community — and one where many former Twitter users have since landed — could have aided in Threads’ reputation and adoption.
In addition, Threads recently announced the launch of an endpoint, allowing developers of third-party apps and websites to use a dynamic URL to refill text into the Threads composer. For example, there’s now a website where anyone can generate Threads share links and profile badges. Marketing tool provider Shareaholic also just launched Threads Share buttons for websites, including both desktop and mobile sites.
This flurry of activity around Threads is helping to move the app up in the chart rankings, though some inorganic boosts from Meta itself are likely also responsible for the jump in downloads, given the size.
Though Threads was in the top 10 apps by downloads last month, it didn’t quite break into the top 5…but its parent company did.
Instagram became the No. 1 most downloaded app in December with a combined 54 million installs from the App Store and Google Play, overtaking TikTok for first place. That could be an early indication that people are starting to get fed up with TikTok’s push into e-commerce, which has turned the video app into an influencer-powered QVC. TikTok is still a massively popular app but its growth has started to slow amid consumer complaints that TikTok Shop is ruining the app’s experience.
Instagram’s TikTok competitor, Reels, could be now benefiting from the backlash, it seems.
As for Threads’ direct rival, X, the company previously known as Twitter is still feeling the impacts of its rebranding — even though X added “formerly Twitter” to its App Store listing in September to rank at the top of search results for its older name.
In December, the app had only an estimated 8.5 million installs, Appfigures told TechCrunch. That made it the No. 29 app by downloads on the App Store and No. 46 on Google Play. That’s well behind other top social networking apps and even productivity apps like Zoom, the data indicates.