Threads is growing, and engagement within Meta’s Twitter clone is on the rise, according to the latest insight shared by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg as part of the company’s Q4 2023 earnings announcement.
Zuckerberg said that Threads now has 130 million monthly active users, and is growing steadily.
As per Zuckerberg:
“Threads now has more people actively using it today than it did during its initial launch peak, so that one’s I think on track to be a major success.”
Which is not overly surprising.
In Meta’s Q3 earnings call, Zuckerberg announced that Threads was closing in on 100 million active users, just four months after its initial launch, and with the app also being made available to EU users in December, the expectation was that it would increase by around 26 million more actives from that region alone within the period.
I actually thought that Threads would be closer to 200 million at this stage. But again, we are still in the early stages of the app, and while the Threads team is refining its functionality, the fact that it’s been able to build an active community of 130 million is significant.
Though it also, inevitably, leads to a comparison with X, which Threads is trying to usurp as the top real-time discussion app.
X currently claims to have around 500 million monthly actives, so Threads is still only seeing around a quarter of its usage, but X also has years of embedded user behaviors and community building on its side. And while many have been less than impressed by Elon Musk’s changes at the former bird app, most, seemingly, are still attached to the platform for their interactions.
That’s also reflected in the top user engagement stats, comparing X to Threads, with half of the most followed profiles on X not even launching a Threads account. That suggests that Threads still has a way to go to become a more critical consideration, with sports communities, in particular, set to be hard to shift from X.
Unless, of course, they’re forced to.
There have been rumors swirling this week that after Elon lost his $55 billion pay package from Tesla, that he could have difficulty paying X’s bills, which could lead to actual existential issues for the app.
I’d say that’s unlikely, but then again, the operating margins for X are still super tight, even with Musk’s drastic staff cuts and broader cost reduction measures. And with the platform’s ad revenue still down 50%, due to advertisers opting to distance themselves from Musk’s own controversial statements, its prospects are not great, and as such, any further impacts on that could be significant, depending on how its funding is structured.
Indeed, this week, AdWeek reported that X’s ad intake around the Super Bowl is down 55% among top brands.
It’s not overly fair to compare the two platforms, given Threads’ relative age, but it’s also the most logical comparison, given the Threads team’s focus, though Threads is also looking to take a different approach to engagement, which may separate the two platforms further over time.
On that front, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri recently pointed to future features coming to the app, including trending topics, lists, and more. That could help to make it a better facsimile of what Twitter once was, but at the same time, Mosseri has also warned that these types of highly requested updates are unlikely to influence user behavior in a significant way.
We’ll have to wait and see on that front, but essentially, Threads does seem to be building something that will provide value, with a solid base of active users from which it should now be able to expand over time.
Can it expand enough to supersede X? There are still many challenges ahead of it, but the signs are positive at this stage.