After its buzzy, record-breaking launch, Instagram’s Twitter (er, X) competitor Threads continues to introduce new features despite declining user retention. The firm unveiled many upgrades to its new app today, including one that may entice Instagram users to return to Threads.
Threads users can now utilize the Send button to send a thread to Instagram DMs (direct messages). By doing so, the recipient may be motivated to reopen Threads or sign up if usage had dropped.
Meta is adding the feature to establish retention “hooks” for Threads after half of its 100 million-plus users left the app in the weeks after its launch.
According to Reuters, CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed this strategy in an internal company town hall, calling the retention dip “normal” and explaining how Meta plans to fix it. The report noted that Chief Product Officer Chris Cox said the company would add more “retention-driving hooks” to encourage app usage during the meeting. This included “making sure people who are on the Instagram app can see important Threads,” Cox said.
For those goals, connecting Threads to Instagram DMs makes sense.
Today, Threads also released a button to simply reference someone’s profile in your Thread and a capability to add custom alt-text and amend auto-generated alt-text for photographs and videos before posting. The latter assists blind and low-vision individuals using screen readers to interpret post media. Mastodon, Threads’ competitor, enables users to post alt text.
The enhancements follow recent Threads changes, including the ability to filter your following list by default, latest first, and earliest first and see your “liked” posts. Threads’ largest post-launch improvement was adding a reverse chronological Following feed to its algorithmic timeline last month.
Even bigger developments are coming, including Threads’ integration with ActivityPub, the protocol behind Mastodon, which would make Threads part of a larger network of decentralized social apps.
Threads’ longevity has been debated since its record-breaking debut as the fastest app to 100 million users.
The media’s portrayal of Threads as doomed is overdramatic and not industry-typical. Most apps are lucky to retain 50% in the first weeks. Not even most have high Day 1 retention! According to Localytics, 21% of users launch apps once. Statista showed that 31 app categories had a 25.3% retention rate on installation day. The average drop is 5.7% by day 30.
Comparison, Threads is doing well despite not having a fully functional web app.