Earlier this year, Meta launched Threads to be its latest Twitter-like social media platform. The app hit the app store with a bang and grabbed 10 million users within hours of its release, but since then, signups have slowed and user engagement has dropped. Meta hopes to revive the app’s popularity by bringing Threads to the web.
The company will reportedly launch a browser-based version of the app early this week, allowing people to use it on their computers instead of mobile devices. The move comes as part of a series of changes that are aimed at making Threads feel more complete.
In the weeks since the app’s launch, Meta has introduced a number of features including reposts, a new way to filter notifications in the Activity tab and the ability to follow other users (although you still can’t see their posts in a chronological feed). The most recent update brought post translations, which allow you to see a translated version of a message that would otherwise be unavailable.
All of these changes are a response to feedback that the app isn’t as functional as it could be. While they’re a good start, Meta needs to do much more in order to keep the app relevant. At an internal town hall meeting, Reuters reports that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that more than half of the 100 million users who signed up for Threads did not stick around. He noted that it’s normal for a new app to lose some initial users as it establishes itself in the market, but he also promised more retention-driving hooks would be added.
A web-based Threads may help the app retain some of its existing users, but it won’t make it more appealing to those who didn’t get in on the ground floor and already have established habits with other platforms. And a lack of any sort of reach metric means that it will be difficult for marketers and influencers to gauge how well the app is performing.
Meta is a little late to the party with this move, but it’s an important one for its long-term success. It’s a good indicator that the company hasn’t given up on the app, which is a big gamble for a firm that has invested tens of millions of dollars in its virtual reality project, the Metaverse.
Shares of Meta closed up about 3% on Wednesday, outpacing gains for the tech sector as a whole. The gains came despite the fact that the company had warned of lower than expected earnings due to the slowdown in its core Instagram business. But a strong web-based release of Threads might give the company a needed boost as it continues to struggle to turn around its fortunes.