The Threads App: A Lot Like…Well…
On the evening of July 5th, Meta unveiled its highly anticipated “Twitter Killer” called Threads. Within a mere 24 hours of its launch, the app garnered an impressive 30 million sign-ups. However, by Thursday evening, the numbers surged even higher, with sign-ups reaching a staggering 70 million. Leaked data from Meta revealed that during this period, users generated over 95 million posts and shared an astonishing 190 million likes. This raises the question of what sets Threads apart from Twitter, and how will it effectively cater to its users and potentially benefit advertisers?
Upon logging into the Threads app, one immediately notices its intuitive user experience and sleek design. A prompt then appears, offering the option to connect your Instagram account and username. However, it is important to note that Threads necessitates an existing Instagram account. In fact, signing up for one is a prerequisite in order to establish the connection between both accounts.
This requirement presents an intriguing dynamic that undeniably benefits Meta, as it enables access to a wealth of data and bolsters ad sales for Instagram. Worth noting is the fact that Threads does not currently feature any advertisements, further emphasizing the potential advantages this stipulation offers for the platform—for the time being anyway, as I’m sure this will change eventually.
“Another unique feature—that perhaps should be called the “Meta Kiss Goodbye”—deters users from uninstalling the Threads app because it will also automatically delete their Instagram account.”
Threads Functionality and Features
The Threads user experience is a seamless blend of what feels like Instagram in a redesigned Twitter type of feed, although the feed currently lacks a chronological, following-only feed that is supposed to be addressed in the near future.
Another unique feature—that perhaps should be called the “Meta Kiss Goodbye”—deters users from uninstalling the Threads app because it will also automatically delete their Instagram account. Below are additional key features of the Threads app that were posted on the Meta site:
• Threads posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos and videos up to five minutes in length.
• Meta is working to make Threads compatible with the open, interoperable social networks that we believe can shape the future of the internet.
• You can easily share a Threads post to your Instagram story, or share your post as a link on any other platform you choose.
• Your feed on Threads includes threads posted by people you follow and recommended content from new creators you haven’t discovered yet.
• If you have a public profile on Threads, this means your posts will be accessible from other apps, allowing you to reach new people without added effort.
• You can control who can mention you or reply to you within Threads. Like on Instagram, you can add hidden words to filter out replies to your threads that contain specific words.
• You can unfollow, block, restrict or report a profile on Threads by tapping the three-dot menu, and any accounts you’ve blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads.
CNET reported here that future releases will include:
• Chronological feed
• Following-only feed
• The ability to delete your Threads account without also having to delete your Instagram account
• Improved search
• Graph syncing
• Messaging (maybe)
• Support for ActivityPub (allows Threads to be part of the “fediverse,” a social network of different servers operated by third parties that are connected and can communicate with each other)
• Multi-account options
• Web interface
Privacy Challenges With Threads
Threads’ acceleration globally could be derailed due to privacy concerns—specifically in Europe, where it has yet to be launched—as well as how it will comply with the guidelines set by the European Union (EU). As reported here, Meta is reportedly concerned about the Digital Markets Act that will soon be implemented by the EU. The act imposes numerous legal obligations on Meta and other large “gatekeeper” platforms, including precluding platforms from transferring personal data between products, which seems to be the case with Threads and Instagram.
European regulators have already dinged Meta for transferring data after it acquired the WhatsApp messaging app, and EU consumers tend to be wary of companies with a history of privacy violations.
“Meta only needs roughly one-in-four Instagram users to use Threads monthly to make it as big as Twitter.”
When comparing similar app usage, Instagram has 1.3 billion daily active users; at the end of 2022, Twitter had 259 million daily active users; and Mastodon has 13 million total accounts. In just a few short days, the Threads app has made a remarkable entrance into the social media landscape. With an astounding 70 million sign-ups and counting within its initial release period and as documented here, Meta only needs roughly one-in-four Instagram users to use Threads monthly to make it as big as Twitter. Its intuitive user experience and sleek design are certainly compelling. The requirement to connect to an existing Instagram account presents an interesting dynamic that benefits Meta by providing access to valuable data and by bolstering ad sales for Instagram.
How Will Marketers Embrace Threads?
For those marketer’s who’ve abandoned Twitter, Threads presents a unique opportunity for brands to build an audience quickly because of how Instagram users can migrate their profile to Threads, which will only accelerate the Thread apps growth.
Another benefit that could entice marketers to use Threads is its built-in copyright protection feature. As explained here, “Being built on the back of Instagram means Threads’ content moderation and copyright protection are already built in—something Twitter seems to grapple with.”
“Being built on the back of Instagram means Threads’ content moderation and copyright protection are already built in—something Twitter seems to grapple with.”
The same article highlights an additional approach for marketers to connect with their audiences and expand their Threads community. “Threads could spur brands to have more hyperlocal conversations, fostering communities around individual stores or locations in a way Instagram or Twitter hasn’t.” “For example, Starbucks which has its main page on Instagram, could have a real-time capability to launch different pages on Threads that could support different stores and have conversations relating to that specific location.”
As Threads continues its global expansion, will its current trajectory reshape the social media landscape and solidify Meta’s position as the dominant player in the industry? Or will the privacy concerns that have hindered Meta and deterred marketers in the past continue to be its Achilles heel?
Questions? Please email me here. As always, thank you for reading!