Meta launched Threads in July 2023 as a challenger network to Twitter. Method Social Media jumped on the news and started getting familiar with the new platform as soon as it was available so we could advise any clients considering activating it for their brands.
We used those insights to publish an article with PR Daily on July 31, 2023, but a lot has happened since then. In just four months:
- Threads’ daily active user count fell 80% from its peak
- Meta started showing Threads content on Instagram and Facebook in an attempt to increase engagement
- Meta announced that Threads would not amplify news on the platform in an attempt to facilitate “friendly, positive discussion”
- Upcoming features continue to be vague, with rumors about new capabilities emerging almost weekly
Threads is still a waiting game. Whether or not the platform has staying power remains to be seen, but it will take a lot of work to get it on the right track (if that’s even possible at this point).
The original article follows.
First published in PR Daily, a news site that delivers news, advice, and opinions on the public relations, marketing, social media, and media worlds. Reprinted here with permission.
Threads is a mixed bag for marketers right now. Here’s why.
Things are still in flux — for better and worse.
Threads of fate — is this new platform part of your B2B marketing destiny? Signs point to “not yet.” Meta recently launched Threads as a challenger network to Twitter, with a focus on creating a positive community. Some current differentiators include zero paid tiers and zero ads on the app. Thankfully, your verification mark from Instagram carries over — even if you haven’t paid for Meta Verified. Users can also take advantage of their Instagram network to easily find people they already follow.
Threads signed up more than 150 million users in the first few weeks since its launch, and has already achieved one-fifth of the weekly active user base of Twitter worldwide, so clearly they’re disrupting the social media space.
The decision to join Threads will vary by brand and by client if you’re managing comms and social in an agency — our mind map is a fun tool to help you find your path. Improved engagement is the primary brand benefit — individuals, celebs and brands are loving the huge jump in engagement they are seeing on the app. Despite limited features, Threads is still the fastest-growing app, growing users even faster than popular platforms like ChatGPT, signifying its potential to be a true competitor in the space.
The birth of Threads was surely a catalyst for change with Elon Musk’s recent announcement and introduction of “X” – the next evolution of Twitter. This rebrand promises to be more than just a name change, incorporating Musk’s vision to create an “everything” app. Although Twitter’s been slowly evolving over the last six months, the rebrand itself is rooted in controversy as Meta appears to own the “X” trademark, according to Insider. This identity crisis across the social landscape surely leaves the door open for Threads to continue growth as users vacate other platforms.
This is something communicators are paying attention to. But what is the status of Threads for marketers? Has anything changed in the weeks since the platform’s launch?
Platform improvements since launching
Discoverability is improving with the introduction of separate “following” and “recommended” tabs. The accounts you follow are no longer consolidated alongside recommendations into one super feed with no filtering options. But the lack of hashtags and searchable keywords still has us bewildered -– you can only search account names (for now). These design decisions mean you won’t have an easy time finding the content you’re looking for, even if you’ve ported your following list over from Instagram.
The clock is ticking
While some consumer brands, like Discord, Spotify, Williams Sonoma and Netflix, found success at launch, Threads’ lack of discoverability makes finding fast success among its 150 million users more difficult as each day passes by without a solution – especially as daily active users fall. This is likely to change in future iterations of Threads, but we caution marketers not to expect success by virtue of signing up “early” at this point.
A cross-network approach
Threads’ Instagram integration is a clear win for any businesses that are already thriving on Instagram due to ported followers. Threads can also be a natural option for executives looking to build their thought leadership and presence across social platforms because the platform is innately people-focused. It allows creators to speak directly to their followers, similar to Twitter.
That being said, Threads’ reliance on Instagram creates an interesting bottleneck for marketers looking to take advantage of the new platform: Instagram is essentially required. Because discoverability on the platform is in its infancy, it’s far easier for brands to build a large following on Instagram, then move that following to Threads. Weeks after launch, this still appears to be the best way to build a stable following on Threads: start with Instagram.
More marketing cons
The Threads interface is minimal and easy to use, and users are drawn to the simplicity. While that’s great for users, the lack of functionality makes strategic marketing difficult. The platform still lacks features to compete with those enjoyed on other platforms (such as long-form videos, direct messages, polls, “Stories,” “Reels,” and live audio rooms). This may be contributing to less activity on the platform – and gives marketers less room to explore content variety.
For metrics-driven marketers, analytics are currently not available, so tracking KPIs is difficult. There are also several unknowns. For example, a clear monetization and advertising rollout plan hasn’t been revealed. As of now, Threads is mobile-only. A lack of desktop mode could create difficulties for future API integrations and stifle community managers who like to schedule their content using a third-party platform like Hootsuite or SproutSocial.
While Threads is available in 100 countries and in more than 30 languages, global marketers should know that the platform is currently not available in the European Union, allegedly due to local regulations and the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).
For forward-thinking marketers, Threads comes with a bevy of content-moderation options and places an emphasis on positivity. However, it still remains to be seen if this will work as intended.