Meta’s release of Threads, a new social media platform, has garnered significant attention across the web, 30 million users in 24 hours, and spawned a few cheeky memes itself.
A fresh take on the short-post social media platform, Threads has been lauded as a welcome addition and a return to thought-initiating conversations online. While much of the media coverage has spoken about its take, head on, with rivals like Twitter, it’s yet to be seen how the platform will help marketers speak to their consumer base in a new way.
Let’s discuss how Meta’s diversification impacts the social media scene:
What is Threads?
A new social media platform and an extension of Meta’s social media network beyond Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram, Meta founder Mark Zuckerburg has looked at Threads to be a text-based extension of Instagram:
“Our vision is to take the best parts of Instagram, and create a new experience for text, ideas, and discussing what’s on your mind.”
At release, posts will be limited to 500 words (more than Twitter’s 280 words), and will allow a picture carousel of up to ten pictures, or video of up to five minutes. You will also be able to crosspost to your Instagram, Facebook, Stories, and Reels.
What are the benefits of Threads?
Much in the name itself, Meta’s new platform threads users together to actively participate in discussions, leading to increased engagement and a sense of community. Where Facebook is largely limited to building a network based on your human interactions (or keeping in contact with your parents or family members overseas), and Instagram focuses much on the visual self-promotion medium, Threads encourages topic based discussion, including threads posted by people you follow, and recommended content from new creators you haven’t discovered yet, but can engage with.
For anyone who has downloaded Threads, it’s main benefit lays in the ease of integrating your user name, profiles, and followers in one fell swoop.
Bench Senior Account Manager Nate Vella has become an early convert, finding the onboarding process fairly seamless, and a hark back to Facebook’s early roll out:
“It’s clear that Meta has thought through the impact of launching a new Social network into an already crowded marketplace. With the familiar ‘Sign in with Instagram’ CTA on launch, users are swept right into the madness of a platform reminiscent of the early Facebook days – organic reach at 100%.”
When can I get my ads onto Threads?
For now, it’s a wait and see. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, has stated that the current focus of Threads is to ensure people enjoy and keep coming to the app rather than making money. For this year at least, Threads is focused on building the customer base and making the platform sticky for return visits.
No doubt this will spell an introduction into the advertising space in due course. And as part of Meta’s universe, we can expect Threads to feature as a placement on Meta Business Manager, so that ads can easily be integrated and managed across platforms Facebook and Instagram.
This will then open up opportunities to use Meta’s already existing audience targeting capabilities, across Thread placements. Upon sign up of the platform, you may have realised the the app may collect key signals from you including your location, your contacts, and even your fitness watches.
Much like your experience in Facebook, you can expect a more targeted user experience, meaning you will more likely to see content that aligns with your interests, increasing engagement and overall user satisfaction. Marketers will eventually benefit from this feature by delivering targeted advertisements to specific demographics, enhancing the effectiveness of their campaigns.
More to this, Threads has been flagged as working with other ‘fediverse platforms’. In short, the fediverse (a portmanteau of the words federation and universe), means that social networks on different servers operated by third parties can communicate and share data with each other. In practice, this means you can interact with someone through your Instagram account on other non-Meta platforms. Think of it as, for example, commenting on someone’s Tiktok, even though you only have Instagram. The more you think about it, we already do that via email – as an Outlook user can communicate with a Gmail user freely without having an account with the other.
While that makes a one-stop login easier for users, this also means data, behaviour, preferences and what Meta knows about you, will keep increasing – meaning more targeted advertising.
Where does Threads leave Twitter?
It goes without saying that Twitter – who has the monopoly on text-based social media, would be concerned of an erosion in market share.
While Threads has the potential to impact the marketing industry significantly, it is important to consider that Twitter has an established user base and a unique position in the social media landscape. Twitter’s real-time, text-based nature fosters fast-paced discussions, breaking news dissemination, and influencer interactions, which have become integral to its appeal.
While Threads may offer this in concept, initial usage indicates it as an extension of Instagram. For the meantime, Twitter’s distinct characteristics might continue to attract users and retain its relevance.
Not to mention – Twitter allows ads on their platform. In the meantime, this benefits advertisers wishing to capture users who prefer to social media through a text-based platform.
What’s next for Threads?
Meta’s release of Threads has introduced several features and advancements that hold promise for the marketing industry. Simply as part of Meta, Threads could pose a formidable challenge to Twitter’s dominance and become a natural extension of a user’s social media habits.
Nate has considered himself a convert to the platform:
“Two days in my money is on longevity for Threads – you could say it seams they’re Threading in the right direction. However short-lived this could be, if you’re a brand and you’re not on Threads, you’re missing out on peak, multi-generational, consumer engagement – so get to it!”
The ultimate impact of Threads on the marketing industry (and on direct competitors like Twitter) remain to be seen, but it certainly signifies an exciting development that marketers should monitor closely.