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Threads has become the fastest-growing social media platform in history since it launched on July 5.
Within the first hour alone, it received a whopping five million sign-ups — just three months after Meta confirmed it was working on an alternative to Twitter.
The buzz around Threads is huge news for marketers as many have been taking a step back from Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover last year, resulting in a 59% drop in ad spend in the US. Marketers are now understandably exploring new platforms to host their campaigns without compromising reach or quality.
Dig deeper: Why we care about social media marketing: A guide for brands
Is Threads the best alternative for advertisers? Here’s everything you need to know…
Threads is a new social networking app, operated by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platforms, which is closely integrated with Instagram and currently only available on iOS or Android devices. Meta has described Threads as “Instagram’s text-based conversation app”.
It gives its users the opportunity to post updates, share text, images, and videos, and interact with other users’ posts via likes, reposts and replies. On the app store, Threads is described as:
Although the app is very similar to Twitter in several ways, Zuckerberg has stressed that one of the key differences is the focus on “kindness” and being “friendly”. He wrote on his Threads account:
It’s worth noting that Threads is very closely integrated with Instagram. So much so, users can’t sign up for Threads without an Instagram account.
More than 100 million people have signed up for Threads since its launch.
Taking to his own Threads account, Zuckerberg commented on the success of his app so far, writing:
To give some context into how significant this number is, when Instagram launched back in 2010 as an independent platform, it took a week to just reach 100,000.
Nine of the top ten retailers, including Walmart and Kroger, have now activated their accounts on Threads, according to the National Retail Federation. The only chain not to so far is Costco
When it comes to the top five biggest consumer brands, only Reese’s has activated their account. And of the top ten most popular fashion brands, only Nike has signed up. It’s believed this is because advertisers are being cautious and want to see how Threads develops before making any commitments.
However, other huge names have been quicker with signing up and already have active accounts, such as Calvin Klein, Kith, Allbirds, Shein and Uniqlo.
Dig deeper: Microsoft ad platforms end support of Twitter
Marketers don’t currently have the option to purchase ad space on Threads. However, a source told Axios that the Instagram team are working on making their branded content tools available in the not-too-distant future, with ads expected to be introduced when Threads reaches a critical mass. Until then, marketers are advised to clearly disclose paid partnerships by using hashtags or text.
It’s worth noting that Meta’s other brands, such as Instagram, launched without ads. Now, advertising is one of Instagram’s biggest sources of revenue.
Threads is available in more than 100 countries – however, it’s not currently available in the European Union. This is due to concerns its data privacy operations don’t comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act.
Carissa Veliz, an associate professor at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford, told the Guardian:
Currently, there are no plans to roll out Threads in EU countries. However, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Meta is awaiting further guidance regarding the Digital Marketing Act to see if an EU launch will be possible at a later stage.
The European Commission is expected to provide more details but not until September. So a Threads launch date in EU countries is yet to be confirmed.
Threads will collect a vast amount of information about its users, in the same way Meta’s other platforms Facebook and Instagram do. Meta’s apps gather and store all the details users enter, including sensitive information such as:
In addition to the above, Threads also stores data on how its users interact with posts and who they are following. This in-depth level of detail Threads stores about its user is why EU officials are concerned about data privacy.
Threads is enforcing Instagram’s Community Guidelines on content and interactions. Under these terms, users must be at least 13 years or older, and users under 16 years (or 18 in some countries) will automatically get a private account by default. However, parents are still advised to monitor their children’s activities online.
Users will have the option to filter their settings, meaning they have control over who can reply to them in texts. In addition, users will be able to block unwanted accounts and any accounts that they may have blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads too.
Meta has invested more than $16 billion into protecting people that use its platforms since 2016, and has stated that safety remains a top priority on Threads.
Threads is different from Twitter in the sense you currently cannot search for hashtags or topics. At the moment, users can only use the search tool to look up other users – both those they already follow and those they don’t follow.
When profiles are presented in the Threads search results that a user doesn’t already follow, they will have the option to instantly follow them or to view their full profile.
Meta announced on its Instagram blog that Threads would be linked to people’s Instagram accounts. Explaining the reasoning behind this decision, it said:
As your Threads profile is connected to your Instagram account, certain details are transferred between the two including your name and username. So in order to change your username on Threads, you need to change your Instagram username. To do this, you need to take the following steps:
There are limitations on posts and videos:
Threads is a pretty straight-forward app to use that operates in a similar way to Twitter. Here’s how you get started:
Meta CEO Zuckerberg said he believes Threads will be bigger than Twitter but it will take time.
Since its launch, Threads has certainly been a success so far. During its first two days of operation, Twitter traffic was down 5% in comparison to the same period a week earlier. It was also 11% down compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the web analytics company SimilarWeb.
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