Instagram Threads

Threads: Feature updates not enough despite Twitter’s decline

With a few months of Threads under my belt, I want to delve a little deeper into Threads' growth, feature updates, and the concurrent, continued decline of Twitter.
  1. Threads burst onto the scene with huge adoption.
  2. Meta continues to invest with many feature updates and cross-platform promotion.
  3. Engagement is low, growth has slowed, and news is even slower.

If social media was a feeling a little stagnant over the past couple of years, the search for a “Twitter killer” made it a little more interesting.

In July, I enthusiastically (and with great hope) explored why Meta’s Threads was the prime contender. With a few months of Threads under my belt, I want to delve a little deeper into Threads’ astounding growth, the rapid and significant feature updates that have been rolled out, and the concurrent, continued decline of Twitter.

This convergence of factors paints an interesting picture of the evolving landscape, though the elusive concept of a single “Twitter killer” seems increasingly unlikely.

Small businesses need to adapt to this shift, and Threads may soon offer a compelling alternative to Twitter for marketing if it can get engagement up.

Threads: Destroyed previous app adoption records

Threads made a remarkable entrance onto the social media scene. As reported by ZDNet, the app swiftly gained over 100 million users in under a week.

Threads broke the record to become the fastest-growing app ever, gaining over 100 million users in less than a week. The Twitter rival dethrones ChatGPT, the previous record holder, which, though not exactly an app, earned 100 million users in just two months. Before that, TikTok held the record, reaching the mark in nine months.
— ZDNet

This unprecedented growth showcased the app’s appeal—if not a hunger for an alternative to Elon Musk’s hate-filled, misinformation machine— as well as demonstrating some potential for small business marketing.

Another hopeful sign is the number of big brands and high-profile users that have decided to keep on Threading in hopes the community begins to thrive.

Frequent, big updates means Meta is all in

Threads, despite being just under four months old, has evolved quite a lot. Here’s a not-at-all comprehensive list of some of the ways Meta and the Threads team has invested in the app and its potential:

  • July 18 – Translations, follow tab, replies pages, reposter Labels:
    • Translations enhance accessibility for a wider audience, a boon for small businesses seeking global reach.
    • The follow tab simplifies user engagement and content discovery, crucial for businesses to connect with their audience.
    • Replies pages offer a structured view of conversations, enabling better management of customer inquiries and feedback.
    • Reposter labels enhance content sharing transparency, allowing businesses to track virality.
  • July 25  – Following feed by popular demand:
    • This update demonstrates Threads’ responsiveness to user feedback, a key factor for maintaining engagement and relevance for small business marketing.
  • Aug 18  – Reposts becoming more prominent and reposts tab:
    • This change emphasizes user-generated content, which can be leveraged for marketing and brand advocacy.
  • Aug 22 – Web app launched:
    • Expanding Threads to the web broadens the platform’s accessibility, allowing small businesses to engage with a wider audience.
  • Sep 7 – New and improved search in most English and Spanish-speaking countries:
    • Improved search functionality aids small businesses in connecting with potential customers.
  • Sep 22 – Easy profile switching:
    • This feature enhances user experience and is conducive for small businesses managing multiple profiles.
  • Oct 12 – Edit button and voice threads:
    • Enhanced editing capabilities provide more control over content, a valuable tool for small businesses. Voice threads add a new dimension to engagement.
  • Oct 26 – Easy polls and GIFs added:
    • These additions diversify content and engagement opportunities for small businesses.

In addition to Threads updates, there are a few other signs of life and/or life support:

  • July 26 – Linktree adds Threads support
  • Aug 31 – Threads are now featured in a promotional carousel on Instagram
  • Sep 26 – Separate account deletion announced and to be rolled out by December
  • Oct 19 – Threads are now featured in a promotional carousel on Facebook

Twitter’s Decline and Threads’ Stagnation

The decline of Twitter is now backed by some pretty strong evidence, with data from Apptopia revealing a 13% drop in daily active users since Elon Musk’s takeover and rebrand as “X.”

Since Musk bought Twitter in October 2022, it’s lost approximately 13 percent of its app’s daily active users, according to new data from mobile research firm Apptopia . . . and its rebrand as X only accelerated the decline.

While Twitter’s struggles are evident, Threads hasn’t really been able to capitalize on its rival’s woes. Engagement remains low, and meaningful migration from Twitter to Threads is limited.

Meta’s Twitter clone Threads, meanwhile, isn’t taking advantage of its rival’s troubles, with stagnant engagement and little meaningful migration.

Threads has chosen to steer clear of news, which could potentially drive engagement. The app’s algorithm often surfaces older posts, making it less suited for fast-moving news events.

Threads remains the best-bet X alternative

Despite these challenges, Threads remains the most talked-about Twitter alternative. It is remarkably user-friendly, especially when compared to other alternatives like Bluesky or Mastodon. However, for those seeking up-to-the-minute news and real-time updates, Threads might not be the ideal destination.

Small businesses should consider Threads as a valuable tool in their marketing arsenal, embracing its strengths while acknowledging its limitations in the once-again-evolving social media landscape. Secure your username and remember to check in every few days to make sure you aren’t missing anything.

For now though, I wouldn’t budget too much for Threads in your 2024 marketing plan. Need a hand breathing life into that plan? Get in touch. 🙂

More Reading

The TikTok smartphone icon in focus on a home screen with other app icons blurred out of focus. Clear Mode on TikTok is a somewhat recent feature.

What is Clear Mode on TikTok

What is Clear Mode on TikTok? In late May and early June last year, there were rumblings of an upcoming new feature: Clear Mode on