The new social platform from Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta was ushered to the market as a way to capitalize on the growing unhappiness with Elon Musk’s Twitter. With timing so crucial—there were other community conversation platforms vying for attention, including BlueSky, Spill and Mastadon—the release of the platform without its full features makes business sense for the behemoth that is Meta.
The company’s epic size and user base meant an equally massive debut. Threads beat out ChatGPT as the fastest growing social app, surging to 100 million registered users within the first five days of release.
In this battle for the social town square, things are even more in flux than usual. It’s the reason it’s so important to monitor and review the value of the platforms your brand engages with.
Should your company sign on? Here’s what we think:
Yes if: your brand is active on Twitter and has a distinct identity and purpose there beyond regurgitating posts from other platforms. We think it would be worthwhile to test Threads now.
Hold if: your brand has an Instagram presence but a non-existent or struggling Twitter presence. You don’t have to rush to claim your space, since your Instagram followers (who automatically follow you in Threads) will be there if and when you do decide to open a Threads account. You can hold and watch how it develops before devoting resources to it.
Here’s how major brands are reacting, and what’s in store for marketers:
Paid advertising won’t be possible—yet
According to the Guardian, Meta will not allow ads in the Threads app at least within 2023.
But those branded content tools are coming to Threads in the future, according to Axios, so advertising could still be possible through paid promotion.
In the meantime, brands will need to direct their attention towards creating light-hearted, organic content and paying attention to the conversations in and around Threads as they try to understand what audiences will want there.
It’s in a battle of ups-and-downs against Twitter
Threads initially had a higher average engagement rate than Twitter (.45% vs. .02%), but a couple weeks in, Threads users spend an average of 6 minutes per day on the app, well below Twitter’s 25-minute average.
Many big brands are engaging (and earning more likes and user response on Threads, as well), but just as many are seemingly holding off to see how things develop.
As of July 17, the big retailers are reacting more than brands are. Nine out of the top 10 retailers (deemed so by the National Retail Federation) have all activated their accounts on Threads, with Costco being the only exception.
The top five most popular consumer brands (M&M, Band-Aid, Ziploc, Dawn, Reese’s, according to YouGov.com), only Band-Aid has activated their Threads account. And of the ten most popular fashion brands (Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, and Nike, according to Google), only the American brands, Ralph Lauren and Nike, activated their Threads account.
Some logistical pros and cons to note about the app:
- Users can sign in with their existing Instagram credentials and keep their usernames, followers and verification status.
- Users can choose to follow the same accounts they do on Instagram and find more people who care about the same things they do.
- Users can add up to 10 media files to a single post, and they can add more than one video to the post.
- Soon, a few new features are expected to be added, including improved recommendations in feed, voice notes, photo and video tagging, post reactions, as well as a more robust search function that makes it easier to follow topics and trends in real-time.
- Currently there is no web version.
- Threads isn't yet running in the EU due to regulatory concerns (EU's Digital Markets Act).
- Users can switch accounts, but they need to log out first and then switch.
- Deleting your Threads account will also delete your Instagram account, as the app notes: “You can always delete individual posts. To delete your Threads profile, you’ll need to delete your Instagram account.” This is currently being worked on.