You know what they say: the flame that burns twice as bright only burns half as long. And boy, did Threads burn bright...for a short time.
What happened to Threads?
How did this new app draw in so many users in record time? For one, Threads made it painless to set up your account, allowing you to transfer your Instagram username, profile pic, bio, follower list, and following list to Threads with a single click. The sheer excitement of a new platform also surely drew in users that were eager to be early adopters.
But, as noted, the app has seen a steep decline in daily users since its launch. According to AdWeek, the amount of time spent on the app also dropped from 21 minutes in July to just three minutes per day as of August 7.
Why did the Threads hype die so quickly?
Threads launched with an apparent objective to battle against Twitter amid the Twitter chaos.
In October 2022, Elon Musk officially bought Twitter. In the months that followed, Musk made sweeping changes to the platform, laid off hordes of employees, and eventually scrapped the Twitter logo and name for X.
Threads offered an alternative text-posting platform that focused more on light-hearted conversation and meme-ing as a refuge from the hostile atmosphere that Twitter had become.
It worked for a few weeks; users bought into the hype, excited for a brand new app from Meta to try out. But without the more sophisticated features that Twitter boasts, the functionality of Threads fell short.
You can post, make threads, repost, quote-post, reply, and like, but the search function is still rudimentary.
You can search for other users, but there's no section for trending moments and breaking news“one of Twitter's most appealing features, in our opinion.
The capability for mentions was recently added, but hashtags still aren't implemented on the platform. This reduces the amount of organic discovery users can do on the app, and the amount of reach brands can get on their posts.
A few updates have been made to the platform since launch, including adding a desktop version, allowing posts to be sent in Instagram direct messages, and the ability to add alt text to images.
Another noteworthy event is the unexpected re-branding of Twitter to X soon after Threads launched. It's very possible that the shock of the Twitter bird logo being erased forever contributed to the decrease in Threads' popularity.
Was this abrupt change to X a deliberate move on Elon Musk's part to undermine the launch of Threads? We wouldn't totally put it past him.
How is this affecting brands and marketers?
From the Random team's perspective, brands were eager to be early adopters and add Threads to their social media strategy. However, the hype quickly wore off, and clients were less interested in putting time into the app if they didn't initially see value or high engagements.
Quite a few brands are still finding value in Threads, however. They mainly use the app to express brand personality and ignite conversations rather than push followers to take action or convert.
For example, Ulta Beauty has been posting at least weekly on Threads since it first launched, with almost 350,000 followers and averaging hundreds of likes on each post. They've got a lot of fun content, asking questions to their followers, quote posting other well-known brands, and jumping in on memes and pop culture trends.
Posts promoting or even mentioning their own products are rarely seen. Instead, they work to add personality to their brand image and invite conversation in the replies.
This could be a valuable strategy for brands looking to boost their brand awareness and reach younger audiences. But if you're a brand prioritizing conversions, Threads no longer seems like the platform to try it (if it ever was in the first place).
What's coming next?
Brands and individual users are both experiencing burnout with so many new apps to keep track of. It's human nature to be drawn to the latest, shiniest thing on the market. But the fascination can wear off quickly if our attention isn't held.
The launch and nosedive of Threads is an excellent example of what happens when a company banks on the initial hype but doesn't invest enough forethought and resources into keeping the momentum going.
And along with the abrupt re-branding of Twitter to X, the Threads app didn't stand a chance in retrospect.
Will Threads keep evolving to try to reel users back in? Or has its peak already passed? Only time will tell.
Here at Random, we're experts on strategizing and creating the most effective social media campaigns for your brand. We can't wait to work together! Reach out to us below.