Another day, another social media platform launch….
However, not every new platform launch receives 10 million sign-ups in the first seven hours (!) after launch and is greeted by the same media frenzy that the launch of Meta’s new Twitter rival, Threads, has been today. Pitched by Mark Zuckerberg as the ‘friendly’ rival to Twitter, experts are saying the app could attract Twitter users unhappy with recent changes to the platform. Zuckerberg has been quoted as saying that keeping the app “friendly…. will ultimately be the key to its success.” However, Elon Musk retorted that “it is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”
So what are threads and how do they work? Well, despite Threads being a standalone app, users log in using an existing Instagram account. The app looks almost identical to Twitter – the character limit, the reposting, the feed – it’s all incredibly familiar. Like Twitter, it is essentially a ‘text-based conversation app’ where users are able to publish posts up to 500 characters long and include links, photos and videos.
As with Twitter, the posts can be replied to, liked or shared by others. However, one notable distinction is that Threads operates within Meta’s larger ecosystem. As a result users of the app can keep the same username and follow the same accounts as they do on Instagram, making it easier for the two billion users of the photo-sharing platform to transition away from Twitter. Deemed as a ‘smart move’ by many, making Threads familiar and easy to use means Meta has created a seamless experience for users, even though it closely resembles Twitter in many ways.
So how does this play into content strategy? As the newest kid on the block, Threads will no doubt have brands asking questions about how it can possibly be utilised as part of their platform mix. While it’s still early days, here are a few things to consider:
- The possibility to advertise on the platform – Although it has launched without ads (This is how Meta tends to work. Make sure the audience is there first and then introduce ads), Twitter advertisers like Netflix, MLB and Bravo have already been invited to trial the new platform’s advertising features. For clients with existing Meta advertising relationships and accounts, setting up ads on the platform will be an easy test and learn in Q3, if and when ad features become available.
- Another culturally influential app – with trending thread topics, Threads will offer another opportunity for brands to get involved in culturally relevant and trending and/or viral conversations.
- Threads delivers what Instagram’s feed doesn’t – linking out to further content. Instagram has always kept links only for stories and ads, so it will be interesting to see how this evolves as part of Instagram’s ecommerce offer.
The predicted future for this new addition to the Meta empire? Well from Mr Zuckerberg’s point of view, Threads is the public conversation app that Twitter was meant to be – “It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversation app that has 1BN+ people on it. Twitter had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully, we will.” Fighting talk; we’ll be watching this space and coming back with more updates.