What is Threads and What Does It Mean For Advertisers?

What is Threads and What Does It Mean For Advertisers?

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Meta’s new social app, Threads. Gaining over 100 million new users in the five days since its launch on July 6th, Threads has been making a lot of waves on social media as the place to be. But what is Threads? What does this new app mean for advertisers?

Threading the Needle

Threads is Meta’s answer to Twitter. As the iconic bird app’s users have become disenchanted with the site following its acquisition last fall, new “Twitter-like” sites have begun to crop up everywhere in hopes of taking advantage of users looking for a new home. Sites like Mastodon have claimed to be replacements for Twitter but have struggled to gain the same wide-reaching audience as their biggest competitor. Other sites like Bluesky, from the original team behind Twitter, look promising during their beta tests, but are currently invite only. Threads it seems, may have finally cracked the code.

Threads is built on Instagram’s network, allowing users to carry over their accounts directly to the new platform. That means their account data, bios, and (most importantly) their “following” lists all transfer with them. While this might seem like a minor detail at first, it has massive implications for Threads’ ability to build a user base very quickly. Thanks to this feature, influencers, celebrities, and creators can transfer to the new site with an audience already in place and don’t need to waste time and resources to rebuild their platform. As more influencers make the switch, so to do their followers, bringing even more new users to the already explosive new platform.

Another plus for new users is thread’s structure. The platform’s layout is almost instantly recognizable to Twitter users, as it employs the same Like, Comment, and Repost format. The site also allows for users to share posts outside of Threads to other platforms. Threads’ posts feature a slightly longer character count at 500, over Twitter’s original count at 250, and can include links, photos, and videos up to five minutes in length.

Turbulent Waters

Despite its strong start, Threads has already found itself on unsteady ground with users and its competition.

Unlike Twitter, Threads appears a lot more unorganized at first glance. The app lacks some of the basic functions like direct messaging, hashtags to organize posts, and a follower tab allowing users to filter posts to only by accounts they follow. Instead, Threads features a single timeline organized by its algorithm, which shows viewers posts based on what it thinks they might like, regardless of their following. This system has divided the community, with some saying the new take on Twitter’s tune is refreshing while others complain that they rarely see posts by the people they have chosen to follow. Additionally, should someone choose to leave the site, they can’t just delete their Threads account. Due to the way Meta has linked the two sites, users must delete their Instagram account to delete their Threads data.

On top of their structural issues, Threads has already taken fire from its competitors. Twitter’s current owner, Elon Musk, has already threatened a lawsuit over the app’s similarity to his own site. Threads has also run into the same issues as Facebook with their data collection policies. As of the time of writing, the app has not been approved for launch in the EU and has only rolled out in the United States, UK, and Ireland.

What does Threads mean for Advertisers?

For now, not much. As with Mark Zuckerberg’s other Meta platforms, Threads has launched without paid advertising. Zuckerberg’s usual strategy with new sites is to build the audience first, then open to paid promotion. This hasn’t discouraged most brands, however, as they have quickly joined the tide of new users to capitalize on building their organic social platforms.

The developers at Meta still have a lot of work to do to satisfy Thread’s audience and solidify their positioning as a direct competitor to Twitter. However, with 100 million new users on the platform less than a week after its launch, Threads has had an unprecedented start. Marketers will need to keep a careful eye on the app as it continues to develop and opens its doors to paid promotion. Threads is definitely worth a look for any advertisers looking to build an audience there in the future.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Threads and how it might fit into your marketing plans, let us know. We’d love to discuss it.

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