Threads Clocks 175 Million Users and Mulls Monetisation One Year After Launch

Dan Meier 04 July, 2024 

One year since its launch, Threads is preparing to introduce advertising to the text-based social media app. Parent company Meta also announced the app has over 175 million monthly active users, up from 150 million in April 2024.

Threads launched on 5th July 2023 as an explicit response to Twitter’s various controversies, aiming to snap up ex-X users frustrated by Elon Musk’s takeover. The service gained 100 million users in its first week, although much of the initial uptake could be attributed to the process of automatically converting Instagram accounts; by the end of July, Threads had lost almost half of its users.

At launch, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Threads would establish “a clear path to one billion people” before introducing ads. Now at 175 million users that target is still a long way off, as is catching up with X’s 550 monthly active users.

But advertisers on X have been keen to jump ship since Musk’s takeover; the company lost around half its ad revenues last year. Meta is looking to snap up those ad dollars, with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri keen to monetise Threads “sooner rather than later.”

Tying up loose threads

The strategy seems sound given Meta’s familiarity with ad sales across Instagram and Facebook. Advertisers are generally positive on Meta’s ad products, often citing the company’s performance and AI capabilities as key drivers for social media spend. Mosseri told Bloomberg that ads on Threads would lean more towards Meta’s direct response campaigns than the brand advertising on X, resulting in “more targeted and hopefully more relevant and interesting ads” than its competitor.

But Threads still needs to prove its worth to advertisers, and arguably to Meta itself. According to research firm Sensor Tower, engagement on the app is still falling. The data suggests users spend seven minutes per day on Threads, down 65 percent from July last year. By way of contrast, TikTok users clock around 95 minutes per day on the app, while Instagram averages 62 minutes. Daily usage on X is approximately 20 minutes, and has reportedly risen since the launch of Threads.

While Meta is hardly struggling for revenues, short-form video offerings from TikTok and YouTube pose a challenge to Instagram, while Facebook has slid down the agenda for marketers. Monetising the text-based app would add another revenue thread to Meta’s business, but this would only be feasible if people were using it. Threads has yet to build much in the way of cultural standing, with reports suggesting the social media app has been slow to surface news stories – though this could be argued a result of its prioritising brand safety over political content.

“We don’t think it’s our place to amplify political news,” Mosseri told Bloomberg. “We think that comes along with too many problems to be worth any potential upside there might be on engagement or revenue.” And the strategy could acually appeal to advertisers, considering X has taken the opposite approach to content, and seen its ad revenues decimated.

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