Meta launched Threads last week – allowing users to share updates (up to 500 characters long) and join in public conversations.
Pitched by Mark Zuckerberg as a rival to Twitter designed to be ‘friendly’, conversation has naturally turned to how the two apps might fare in competition, not least because Twitter is reportedly threatening to sue Meta.
So, what can we expect from brands and creators on Threads? We ask some experts working in media…
A separate app and ring-fenced team will allow community to blossom
Aaron Goldman, CMO, Mediaocean:
“With roughly 4 billion people already using Meta platforms, the introduction of Threads holds tremendous promise as part of the portfolio. It provides a distinct opportunity for users, brands, and creators to engage in ways that are different than Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
“By releasing Threads as a separate app, and not just a tab on Instagram, it allows a new community to blossom. And by ring-fencing the team working on it, Meta can ensure that investment is commensurate with adoption.”
Brands and creators have long-since learned to adapt
Pierre-Loïc Assayag, CEO and Co-founder at Traackr:
“Twitter’s most formidable foe over the past few months has been itself. The controversy surrounding it has been showing us that it’s important not to over-index on any single platform. Both creators and brands should avoid putting all of their eggs in one basket.
“This mindset towards diversity and experimentation applies to how we think about content creation, too. The savviest creators tailor their content to each platform – what performs well on Twitter doesn’t necessarily perform well on Instagram. Although Thread’s ability to import Instagram followers is tempting, it is likely not all that useful in practice. The types of folks that will be drawn to the content style on Threads will be different from the folks that were drawn to Instagram content. Besides, creators have shown that they are capable of moving their audiences over to new platforms when there is interest, and it fits their community’s needs.”
Aaron Goldman Mediaocean:
Advertisers and creators always follow eyeballs and Threads attracted a ton of those in its first week of launch, owing to its built-in install base from Instagram. We’re already seeing brands and creators of all sizes begin using Threads and experimenting with different approaches.
Threads doesn’t need to be a phenomenon to make sense for Meta
Jonathan Trimble, CEO and Co-Founder at And Rising:
“Will Threads replace Twitter as a go-to source? Of course not. But can Meta bundle a new Threads format onto its existing ads manager and switch on an additional billion or ten in ad revenue – absolutely.
“It doesn’t need Threads to be a social media phenomenon to do that. Look at how Instagram reels has gained ad dollars, simply by throwing its hat into TikTok’s ring.”
Twitter’s recent UX woes mean it’s too early to write off Threads
Pierre-Loïc Assayag, Traackr:
“While I’m sure we’ll see both brands and creators experiment with Threads, it likely won’t last beyond the initial hype unless Meta announces a solid plan for monetization.
“Even though Meta doesn’t have a strong track record of launching brand new products (vs. acquisitions or platform enhancements), they tend to do better in markets that have been primed by other platforms. Besides, Meta’s strength resides in its ability to instantly reach critical mass. So, despite the early rumours of the shortcomings of Threads, it would be a mistake to dismiss this newcomer too early.
“Threads won’t threaten Twitter’s business any time soon if at all. However, Twitter has seen a 73% decrease in its staff since Musk took over in October 2022. Since, Twitter users and the tech community had been waiting for the other shoe to drop by way of a worsened user experience. Until recently, the platform had been surprisingly resilient. The more recent issues, such as rate limits, are most likely the signs that we’re likely to see the user experience be degraded with a limited ability by the shrunk Twitter team to fix (let alone anticipate) issues quickly.”
Social advertisers could eventually see Meta as a one-stop shop
Kelsey Chickering, Principal Analyst, Forrester:
“Twitter’s reach and growth trajectory aren’t notable, and advertisers haven’t seen great performance with their lower-funnel advertising. Meta’s advertising backbone will position Threads as a strong Twitter alternative because it will be set up to slip into Meta’s dynamic actions and deliver results across the customer lifecycle.”
Aaron Goldman Mediaocean:
“Just based on the initial growth of Threads, brands are expressing a lot of interest in the platform. There aren’t many other places where you can find an engaged userbase of 100 million people to reach.
“From an advertising standpoint, the platform holds a lot of potential. Beyond the number of people on Threads, there is all the data that Meta has from Instagram and Facebook that can presumably be used for ad targeting. As soon as ads are introduced on Threads, we expect there to be strong uptake from brands.”
Mark DiMassimo, Founder & Creative Chief of DiGo:
“Musk and Twitter faced a lot of social media platform competition before, but it wasn’t conversation led, personality-following, news and entertaintment-centered, at compulsive speed. Threads could be all of those things, and it couldn’t have launched at a better time…”
“Brands are worried about a Meta Monopoly, but also like the ease of buying in bulk from one platform. This reduces the friction and complexity and lowers the barriers to trial. Their attitude right now is, “Why the heck not?”
The timing is impeccable
Julie Lock, UK and Ireland Marketing Director at HubSpot:
“[W]hat is increasingly clear is that Twitter’s recent headaches with brand verification and community moderation are a microcosm of the wider challenges facing social media.
“If Threads can provide a long-term answer to these issues, then it could form the blueprint for social platforms going forward. So far, signs are good: Threads’ pledge towards sturdy verification is impressive, and users are clearly pleased to see such an intentional right step towards trust and authenticity in the digital universe.”
Drew Benvie, Founder and CEO at Battenhall:
“[Twitter has been] the only mainstream option for people who prefer to post in words and sentences. Facebook is too private, Bluesky and Mastodon are too complicated, and everything else has been too successful in being different, whether that’s Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat or TikTok.
“But the time is right for Meta to step in, and its timing is impeccable. By offering an Instagram-based social network, Meta will be propelling Threads to a two billion user base…”