Meta’s Threads messaging app is struggling to attract new users, ranking near the bottom of the most popular social media platforms in the U.S. As per Insider Intelligence’s first Threads forecast, it is predicted to have only 23.7 million U.S. users by 2023, while Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have significantly larger user bases. Even its closest competitor, X, is expected to have 56.1 million users by 2023, highlighting Threads’ struggle to gain traction. This follows recent reports of declining usage for Threads, as documented by mobile analytics firms such as Sensor Tower and Similarweb.
The initial surge in Threads’ user base was attributed to its easy sign-up process for existing Instagram users and being seen as a mainstream alternative to X, which has been losing users. However, relying solely on X defectors for growth is not sustainable. Meta could potentially monetize Threads if Tesla chief Elon Musk charges X users a monthly subscription fee, likely alienating more users and increasing advertiser interest. Currently, Meta has no plans to monetize Threads until it becomes more established, but the company has been releasing new features to enhance the platform, such as a desktop version and a search tool.
To become a major player in the social media market, Threads needs to establish a unique identity beyond just an extension of Instagram or an alternative to X. The success of TikTok demonstrates the importance of offering users a unique social experience. As of now, Threads continues to struggle and is projected to remain near the bottom among social networks in the U.S. market through 2025.