Five years ago Facebook was at the heart of a social media backlash and a user walkout, today the company has turned things around and has the ascendency in a social media battle of the ages which sees Threads growing and what was Twitter somewhat floundering – here, I want to look at how much growth Threads still has ahead of it.

I’ve been a heavy and very active user of Twitter since November 2007. At most, that’s 5821 days. Before you do the numbers, let me help you out, that’s an average of more than 16 tweets per day. So yeah, Active user:)

A couple of weeks ago, I deleted the app.

Now, I log onto the website once a week at best, just to check my DM inbox, because the platform has removed all API access that allowed for third party apps to do things like auto-reply and such.

Best two weeks of my life.

But threads isn’t Twitter. By any measure. However, it’s not meant to be. Threads bosses at Meta will say that over and over, but in reality we all know that’s the measure by which success will be determined.

I thought though, with Mark Zuckerberg gloating about user numbers in the early days, I wondered what the conversation rate was from their Instagram user base across to Threads.

So, like a nerd, I made a spreadsheet.

I looked at some of the most followed people in the world on Instagram, some of Australia’s most followed Instagram users, and just a bunch of people I know or follow on either Instagram or Twitter.

What I did wasn’t to look at their Twitter following and how it differed to Threads, I wanted to see how Instagram users were converting their followers across to Threads.

Here’s what I found. In July when Threads launched, the conversion rate averaged around 11.53%. So, F1 Driver George Russell for example, 4.4 million Instagram followers – 372,000 on Threads.

The Sport of IndyCar – 535,000 Instagram followers, just 57,700 on Threads.

I was doing ok, converting 5,884 followers to 1,013 on Threads, but the big names were the real worry. Of the top 10 or 12 biggest Instagram Accounts globally, only Selena Gomez had created a Threads account, and just 1% of her Insta followers moved to threads.

Today, a few months on, that average conversion is up to nearly 15%. And there are now five of the biggest 13 accounts on Instagram that have a Threads account. Their conversion rate broadly is 2%.

Among Australia’s biggest Instagrammers, just five of the top 10 have a Threads account, with 4% being a constant conversion.

George Russel is up to 12% of his audience on Insta converted, while even Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has only managed a 28% conversion.

A couple of notable exceptions in Australia are some of my favourite “lefties” – Dee Madigan and Dan Illic.

Dee’s Threads following is far in excess of her Instagram at 236%, while Dan has converted 73% – likely thanks to his strong viral content re the Yes campaign over the recent months.

Both are active Twitter users, and any encouragement they might offer to convert people will be strongly received.

But for most people, it’s a tough slog.

And, that’s why (I suspect) many prominent Twitter users are reluctant to “start over”. If you’ve got 10 or 100,000 followers on Twitter, you don’t want to start with nothing or far less on Threads, it feels like it’s a backward step.

But here’s the rub. Twitter engagement is low, very low. Look at the actual views on a Tweet. Elon is blinded by his own numbers because they are in the millions, but even the biggest Elon suckbag and Twitter user with something like 50,000 followers will struggle to crack 1,000 views on a tweet. So where is the audience? Where are those 50,000 people.

They don’t exist, their accounts are dormant, or were bots from the start.

That’s the cold hard truth.

In our own testing here at EFTM, we’re able to get more clicks on links to stories we share on Threads than we did on Twitter. And our following is far lower.

Stop looking at how many people “follow” you and look at who is engaged with you, You’ll find Threads is a booming ecosystem where the only way is up.

Plus, don’t get me started on Meta’s strategy for Channels of broadcast content on Instagram and WhatsApp which are doing very well for them. Social Media is changing, and Twitter isn’t keeping up.

Follow me on Threads here, or join the EFTM WhatsApp channel here.