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A Threads retrospective three months on

Written by Amy Shaw

In the world of social media, change is constant, and the recent evolution of Threads, Meta's new app designed to compete with X, has been no exception. In July 2023 we talked about how Threads generated significant buzz with 100 million sign-ups within its first five days. However, it has since experienced an 82% decline in usage. So, what happened?

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Threads' algorithm

One of the primary reasons for Threads' decline is its algorithm. Unlike X, Threads lacks customisation options for your feed, and its algorithm doesn't effectively align with users' interests. This lack of personalisation leads to a less engaging experience for users who seek relevant content.

Threads' content

Social media platforms thrive on user-generated content. Threads, being a newcomer in the field, hasn't had the time to accumulate the vast amount of content available on X. Users are drawn to platforms where they can access a diverse range of content and Threads has struggled to match this expectation.

Integration with Instagram

Threads is not a standalone platform; it's integrated with Instagram. This integration creates frustration for users who don't already have an Instagram account. Standalone platforms, like X, are often easier to brand and promote as they are not tied to another platform.

Marketing and promotion

Threads has fallen short in terms of marketing and promotion. Meta could do more to showcase Threads' unique features, uses, and benefits, as well as to highlight its distinct selling points. Effective marketing can make or break the success of a new social media platform.

A closer look at X

However, X is not without flaws either. Elon Musk's acquisition of X with the intent of establishing a "free speech" platform has come under scrutiny. Despite this intention, X has faced criticism for giving preferential treatment to paying users, blocking external links to competitor websites and suspending journalists who criticize Musk. This raises questions about whether X truly upholds its intended values of free speech and whether it's a suitable platform for businesses.

Amidst these developments, Mastodon has emerged as another alternative to both Threads and X. Mastodon's niche is best suited for businesses looking to connect with specific audiences through its unique "instances." However, its active user count, although gradually increasing, has not reached the peak levels seen in late 2022 when downloads surged by 6380%.

Despite the ever-changing social media landscape, X continues to dominate the text-based conversation app market. Users who were already using and favouring X are likely to remain loyal to the platform, provided they align with Musk's ideals. However, as with any social media platform, user preferences and the competitive landscape can shift, so the future remains uncertain.

We'll keep you posted on any developments.