In recent years, we have lived through various "flash in the pan" new social app introductions. From Clubhouse to BeReal, there have been numerous attempts to innovate how fans and followers consume social media. Meta, on the other hand, has positioned Threads less about innovation and more about simple and proven utility.
Perhaps that’s why, within just 5 days, Threads gained over 100 million sign-ups, making it the fastest-growing app launch in history. Threads users can share text updates and participate in public discussions. They can post messages up to 500 characters long and also share images, videos, and links.
The app offers a unique platform for quick updates and open discussions, making it a great space for content creators and casual social media users. Brands like Nike, Starbucks, and Disney have already signed up.
Of course, Threads is still in its infancy and does not have all the features of Twitter, such as direct messaging, a chronological home feed, a feed of only individuals a user follows, a desktop version, or hashtags. However, many of these functions are currently being developed. Threads has no ads and follows the same content rules as Instagram, with controls for muting and blocking harassment.
When released, Threads was introduced as a new app "built by the Instagram team." The direct connection between Threads and Instagram is very intentional. This enabled users to share Threads directly to Instagram, a fluid onboarding process that is the rocket to fuel initial growth.
However, growth with disregard for innovation has experts wondering if using Instagram as a springboard could result in short-term gain for long-term pain.
When comparing Threads to Twitter, it offers greater access and function for free accounts. For instance, unverified (unpaid) accounts on Twitter are limited to a maximum character count of 280, while Threads allows up to 500 characters. Additionally, Threads permits all users to post videos up to five minutes in length, whereas Twitter restricts unpaid accounts to videos under 2:20 long.
Currently, Threads is 100% ad-free with no clear direction for advertisers. Given Meta is first and foremost an advertising company, the expectation is that ads will be brought to the platform near-term.
Here’s what brand and agencies need to know:
Secure Your Account – Act Quickly To Avoid Losing Your Brand Handle
For Threads, Instagram has already taken most of the legwork out of this step, but whenever a new platform is introduced, you must ensure you have secured your brand's handles (even if the intent is to park them until the dust settles).
Discover Brand Content – Use The Platform And Engage With Brands
It's crucial to understand the culture of new platforms. Take time to browse and evaluate how brands are using the platform now. Ensure your brand voice and tone can be featured in a way to create high-quality, platform-specific content.
Test Content – You Don’t Need To Reinvent The Wheel
When a new platform launches, there's often a lot of demand and very little content. To take advantage of this, try re-purposing some of your best content from Twitter and Instagram to kickstart some new virality.
Be Patient - Influencers Are Coming
There is an expectation that there will be a push by Meta to establish a new home for creators. The Instagram integration may make this process more seamless. If we consider the launch of Instagram’s Channels, the assumption is that influencer engagement may occur in tighter circles, also similar to the growth seen on platforms like Discord and Reddit.
Evaluate - Build An Optimistic But Careful Approach
Not all platforms survive the launch period and despite incredible success in the first week of Threads, time will tell how impactful a platform it will be for brand marketing. With Meta’s support and advertising engine, it is likely to become a powerful tool, but track with user utility, not ahead of it.