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Meta’s Testing a Bonus Program for Threads Creators To Stimulate Growth

Meta’s trying out a new way to boost its Twitter-like Threads app, with a new program that sees some threads creators getting paid for their posts.

As reported by Business Insider, Meta’s currently trialing a “Threads Bonus program”, in order to keep popular users posting to the app.

As per BI:

Eligible creators can earn money from Threads content based on the “performance” of posts or the “number of posts” shared to the app. Threads posts with “less than 2,500 eligible views” are not eligible for payouts.”

So the idea is to keep those who post engaging content sharing more often, by providing cash incentives, which is similar to how Meta also grew Reels in its early stages.

According to Instagram, the Threads Bonus program is currently an invite-only initiative, with a limited number of Threads creators being invited to take part.

If you are invited, you will receive a pop-up notification and an invite that appears in your Professional Dashboard on the Instagram app […] Once the Threads bonus becomes available to you, you’ll need to set up bonuses on Instagram before the eligibility expires. Make sure you set up a public Threads profile.”

IG also notes that the details of the bonus program “may vary by participant”.

In other words, the details are not fully fleshed out as yet, and Meta’s maintaining a level of flexibility as to the incentives it offers to each invitee. But it could be another way to spark more growth, by further aligning top creators to the app.

And right now, Threads probably does need a boost.

While the app has seen rapid growth, rising to 130 million users after its launch last July, that momentum has slowed, while X (formerly Twitter) has seemingly maintained its core user base, which shows that Threads hasn’t really made a dent in the real-time social market, despite early interest.

Indeed, while Threads is up to 130 million monthly actives, it reached 100 million in October, just three months after launch. We’re now 9 months in, and within that time, Threads has become available in more regions, most notably Europe, where my estimates suggest that Threads should have added an extra 25 million users.

So while there are people using the app, it’s not exactly seeing rapid expansion, while piggybacking off of IG has also given Threads a significant leg-up on other new platforms, which dilutes its comparative performance.

Meta’s vision is that Threads will eventually become the next billion-user app, giving Meta yet another major tool in its social media arsenal. But Threads has deviated from its pure Twitter alternative path significantly, by shunning political content, and certain news stories, in the hopes of making it a more positive user experience.

In this sense, Meta’s kind of looking to make Threads the anti-X, as opposed to replicating what Twitter had been, even though the latter is seemingly what most Threads users actually want from the app. Add to this the fact that Meta’s augmenting its Threads algorithm with preferences based on people’s IG activity, and it’s still not a magnetic or intuitive user experience. It’s a good enough Twitter replacement in a lot of applications, but it doesn’t really offer the same value that Twitter once did at peak.

Though again, that’s apparently part of the plan, with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri regularly sharing his musings on what he thinks the app needs to grow, which is normally not what a regular user would think.

Maybe that’s working, and Meta just hasn’t released any further usage data as yet, so it’s not reflected in the numbers that we can see. But it does seem like Threads has failed to shift many embedded X communities, and that it’s not seeing a major migration as yet.

Really, it’s hard to assess exactly where Threads is at based on Meta’s alternative vision, because while, logically, we’re comparing it to X, that, again, is not necessarily what Meta is thinking.

Maybe, Meta’s taking a longer-term view, and building Threads as a replacement for X with the thought in mind being that the eventual major growth of the app will come after Elon’s social media project collapses in on itself at some point.

Which could still happen, or maybe Meta’s just confident that as X gets more angst-ridden, more and more users will just get sick of the constant argument, as they did on Facebook, and looks to move to alternative, less stressful apps.

We don’t know, but it does seem like Meta needs to do something to stimulate Threads growth if it wants to get its momentum rolling once again.  

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