Meta’s Twitter-like threads are trying to grow amid rivalry with Elon Musk’s ex

Thilina Kaluthotge | Nurfoto | getty images

Meta’s Threads real-time messaging app is struggling to attract new users as it did during its blockbuster July debut.

Based on the number of US users, the Twitter clone now ranks lowest among the most popular social media platforms, ahead of only Tumblr, according to Insider Intelligence’s first Threads forecast published Tuesday.

Insider Intelligence said it expects Threads to have 23.7 million US users in 2023, well behind Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, which have 177.9 million, 135.2 million and 102.3 million users, respectively. The forecast says its closest competitor, X, will have 56.1 million US users in 2023, meaning Threads will have less than half the US user base of the messaging app formerly known as Twitter. .

For the US market, the analyst firm said that Threads will remain in “second-to-last place among social networks” through 2025.

Meta did not respond to a request for comment.

The new forecast joins a growing list of third-party estimates from mobile analytics firms like Sensor Tower and SimilarWeb, which have recently documented declining usage of threads.

When Threads launched, it quickly gained millions of users due to its easy sign-up process for existing Instagram users. The messaging app also benefited from being a mainstream alternative to X, which multiple analyst firms, including Insider Intelligence, have said is losing users due to its ownership by Tesla chief Elon Musk.

“Twitter’s missteps gave an early boost to threads, but it can’t rely on X defectors to move forward,” Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said in a statement.

If Musk decides to charge all “Maybe, Enberg said.

“Assuming Musk doesn’t back down, this move will likely alienate more X users and potentially increase advertiser interest in threads,” Enberg said.

Nevertheless, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously said that the company has no plans to monetize threads until it becomes larger and more established.

The social networking giant is releasing several new features intended to make threads more engaging, like a desktop version and a search tool. Indeed, both advertisers and creators have previously told CNBC that Threads needs some features, like analytics tools, to become a more robust platform in which they will invest time and money.

Enberg said that to become a major player in the social media market, Threads needs to establish an identity that is “more than just an extension of Instagram or an alternative to X.”

“TikTok was able to achieve massive success because it offered users a unique new social experience,” Enberg said, referring to the rise to prominence of the ByteDance-owned short-video app.

Watch: Are the threads unraveling?

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