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The Threads rollercoaster: Peaks, plummets, and resilience

Threads started with a historic launch, boasting 40 million installs on its debut. However, this initial success quickly gave way to significant declines in daily downloads, active users, and engagement.

Threads: A tale of triumph and turmoil in the social media universe

What you should know: Key takeaways

  • Threads' historic 40M installs on launch day quickly gave way to substantial drops in daily downloads, active users, and engagement.

  • Despite Threads' challenges, competitors like X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram remained largely unfazed, underscoring Threads' unique struggles.

  • Threads demonstrated signs of stabilization after an initial decline, offering potential for recovery while demographics and download trends shed light on its future trajectory.

Few platforms have made as big of a splash as Threads. With a historic launch that garnered a staggering 40M installs on July 6, Threads immediately captured the attention of users worldwide. The platform's early success seemed to promise a bright future, but as the dust settled, a different reality began to emerge.

Threads experienced a meteoric rise, but its fate took a turn as daily downloads, active users, and engagement rates witnessed significant declines. Just weeks after its groundbreaking launch, Sensor Tower data revealed the platform saw a sharp drop of over 75 percent in daily active users (DAUs), time spent, and sessions compared to the peak.

So, what led to Threads' unexpected decline after its extraordinary debut? One key factor might be its lack of unique features and content. While the platform added a chronological feed after its launch, it still lacked popular features like direct messaging and a proper explore / discover page. The absence of these elements could have played a role in weak user adoption and retention challenges.

As Threads struggled to find a solid audience, its sister app Instagram, and competitors like X, remained largely unfazed. Similar social media apps’ user engagement and active user metrics showed little to no change since the launch of Threads on July 6. This contrast raised questions about what differentiates Threads from its competitors and why some platforms weathered the storm better than others.

Who’s on Threads?

Despite the setbacks, there was a glimmer of hope as Threads' user engagement and daily time spent began to stabilize after the initial two weeks. The declines, which had been significant in the beginning, gradually slowed down, suggesting that the platform might be finding a steadier path.

Sensor Tower data showing Threads' user demographics included some interesting insights. The platform's user base skewed predominantly male, similar to X and Instagram. However, Threads had a larger percentage of younger users, with almost 37 percent falling into the 18-24 age range. In comparison, X and Instagram had a higher proportion of users aged 25-34. These demographic insights underline the significance of understanding user preferences and targeting specific age groups in the highly competitive social media landscape. Threads' ability to capture a substantial share of the 18-24 age bracket is an important achievement, and it will be interesting to see how this demographic advantage impacts the platform's future growth and engagement strategies.

Threads demographics

What’s the download story?

The download trends also shed light on Threads' journey. After the spectacular launch, the platform has amassed over 100M worldwide installs since launch. However, daily download totals initially showed fluctuations, and more recently, there was a stabilization in the rate of decline.

A cautionary tale for mobile apps

The story of Threads is one of both triumph and turmoil, offering valuable lessons for social media enthusiasts and business strategists alike. Its rise to fame, followed by a challenging decline, highlights the importance of understanding user preferences and the competitive landscape.

As Threads navigates the complexities of the social media ecosystem, the platform's creators must address user feedback and adapt to the ever-changing demands of the digital world. The stabilization phase shows potential for recovery, but the road ahead will require careful consideration of user needs and preferences.

Threads' journey embodies the dynamic nature of the social media industry, where success can be fleeting, and challenges can arise unexpectedly. We’re happy to dive even deeper into these fascinating insights with you. Just send our team an email at reports@sensortower.com, and we'll be thrilled to share the full report with you.

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Ally Beiswanger

Written by: Ally Beiswanger, Content Marketing Strategist

Date: August 2023