＠ Threads: Fastest-Growing App in History
The Twitter clone hit 100M users in 5 days, but will they stick around?
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Today at a glance:
Can Threads move the needle for Meta?
How could it impact Twitter?
Twitter sues Meta over stolen trade secrets.
The rise of decentralized protocols.
What to watch moving forward.
Occasionally, a potential 'new Twitter' emerges, making waves in the tech world. However, Twitter has remained resilient, despite predictions of its demise repeatedly in the past few months.
But this time around, things might be different. Meet Threads, the self-described 'Instagram for your thoughts' from Meta. The platform has hit the ground running, attracting 100 million sign-ups in the first five days post-launch.
To put that into perspective, Twitter took five years to reach the same user count. Recently, ChatGPT set a record by reaching 100 million users in under two months. Threads has outpaced them all, achieving this feat in under a week (without launching in Europe due to data-regulation concerns).
Now, you might argue that we're not comparing apples to apples. After all, Meta leveraged its existing Instagram user base to catapult Threads into the limelight. However, it's important to remember that each sign-up represents a conscious decision by a user to download and engage with the new platform. These are genuine users, not bots or inflated numbers.
Sure, the platform benefits from Meta's power to create this type of distribution overnight. But that doesn't make the reach and size of Threads any less impressive. It speaks volumes about the engagement level of Instagram’s existing community.
That said, it's still early days. A sign-up may be a Monthly Active User (MAU) in the first month after launch, but it doesn't guarantee long-term retention or staying power. So while Threads delivered an impressive start, only time will tell if it can sustain this momentum. By the way, I’m happy to report I was in the first million sign-ups to Threads, and you can find me here. 😉
Twitter boasts an estimated 330 million MAUs in 2023. If Threads maintain its trajectory, it could appear in the chart below in no time.
Over the years, Mark Zuckerberg has shown no hesitation in drawing inspiration from other platforms:
Instagram Stories replicated Snapchat Stories.
Instagram Reels mirrors TikTok’s short-form video format.
Now, Threads aims directly at Twitter.
Such imitation is not unusual in tech. The value lies not in the idea itself but in the execution. Threads had a strong start, integrating several features reminiscent of Twitter. However, it still has some way to go to offer the same user experience as its 17-year-old competitor. For example, direct messaging is not available yet.
That said, Threads may already have an advantage that most Twitter competitors have lacked so far: people.
Users flock to Twitter to keep a pulse on 'what’s happening.' Journalists, politicians, and creators are critical in shaping this narrative. Twitter could potentially lose its unique appeal if these influential figures are also active on Threads.
Twitter’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, reacted on Thursday, asserting:
“We’re often imitated– but the Twitter community can never be duplicated.”
But Threads seems to be making headway in this exact task of 'duplication.'
Take ESPN’s Adrian “Woj” Wojnarowski as an example. Wojnarowski, known for covering the NBA with timely news, accumulated more than 6 million followers on Twitter. He appears to have already started cross-posting his Twitter content on Threads, where he has quickly gained hundreds of thousands of followers.
If influential figures like Woj, who attract millions to Twitter, start cross-posting on Threads, there are good reasons for Elon Musk to be concerned. With the right execution, it’s not far-fetched to envision Threads surpassing Twitter in size and influence.
But there is a catch!
Let's dive into the specifics.
1. Can ‘Threads’ move the needle for Meta?
Two fundamental metrics typically determine the success of social platforms:
The number of users.
The average revenue per user (ARPU).
In turn, two factors influence the ARPU:
Ad impressions: The average number of ads users view.
Average price per ad: The amount advertisers pay per impression.
Meta’s Family of Apps (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger) collectively draws 3 billion Daily Active People (without double counting).
But while Meta has the distribution to propel a new app to hundreds of millions of sign-ups in a record time, it’s not what matters most in the long run.
Let me explain.