In the ever-evolving world of social media, platforms are constantly fighting for users’ attention. So it should come as no surprise that Meta recently introduced a new (potentially game-changing) app known as Threads. Considered one of Twitter’s primary rivals, Threads elevates the concept of instantaneous sharing by providing users with a more intimate platform for communication and connection.
With over a million users in more than 100 countries, this innovative app took the world by storm when first announced. But as time has gone on, its active traffic has dipped. So what does that mean for the app? Is its future over before it even begins? We’re breaking down what Threads is, some of its key features, and whether or not we think it’s here to stay.
What is Threads?
With Instagram’s popularity growing and the rise–and some would argue fall–of Twitter (now known as X), it became evident that there was a growing demand for a more intimate means of sharing content and communicating with others. Users craved a space that enabled them to share their everyday thoughts without the pressure of maintaining a perfectly curated, aesthetically pleasing feed–thus, Threads was born.
Created by Meta Platforms, which also includes Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, Threads is an app designed to encourage close interactions between users, their selected inner circle, and new friends they hope to create relationships with. Its interface looks very similar to Twitter, allowing users to share thoughts, photos, and videos directly in real-time.
Key Features and Functionality
Threads, although very similar to Twitter/X in its appearance, is designed to let users effortlessly share what they’re up to at any given moment–think BeReal meets Twitter/X. The hope was for Threads to capture the spontaneous and authentic moments of life, creating inviting yet somewhat “messy” interactions. In fact, when it began, many users talked about how “unhinged” they wanted to be on the platform. It was a place where they felt they could truly be themselves–especially influencers who often feel the need to be “on” when sharing their life on social media.
One of the most notable features of Threads is the ability to post updates in the form of “threads.” These threads are strung together to form an easy-to-follow story. Each thread can be up to 500 characters of text compared to Twitter’s 280 characters (which was upped in February 2023 from 140). This gives users ample space to share their thoughts and feelings without running out of space. And if you do? You simply create a cohesive thread that followers can see in one easy-to-access place.
The Difference Between Twitter/X and Threads
If we’re going to break down the need-to-know information about Threads, it’s important to do a side-by-side comparison of the platforms. These are just a few of the differences between the two as of August 2023:
- Allows Instagram users to sign up easily
- Endless scrolling possibilities
- Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram and Threads, said the goal is to steer clear from news and politics (though it’s impossible to avoid)
- Allows you to share up to 10 images at a time
- Doesn’t have hashtag capabilities (yet)
- No direct message option
- An account can’t be deleted unless you delete your entire Instagram account; but you can deactivate your Threads profile which will hide your content and profile from view by other users (however, it will remain on the Threads servers)
Twitter / X
- Has been known to impose temporary sign-up limits on users
- Must pay for Twitter Blue to see unlimited Tweets, or else you’re limited to 600
- Text-based search
- Very much wrapped in politics and news
- Allows you to share up to four images at a time
- Ability to direct message users
As you can see, Threads and Twitter/X are very similar, so whether or not it will be the “Twitter killer” is still to be determined. Unfortunately, Threads’ active users have dramatically decreased since its launch in July, so it’s hard to predict the future. Only time will tell.
Threads’ Rise (and Drop)
Speaking of active users, the launch of Threads was a huge success, given Instagram’s massive user base. Within five days of being launched, the app garnered 100 million sign-ups and established a presence in over 100 countries. While that may not seem like a lot compared to Instagram’s 1.21 billion active users, it took Instagram 2.5 years to reach 100 million users. Before Threads, the fastest-growing platform was ChatGPT, which hit 100 million users in 5 months.
Unfortunately, this initial success was short-lived, with active users plummeting 82% from its peak. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t seem too worried about the loss, however, acknowledging it and sharing that he’s still “quite optimistic” about the platform. Instagram CEO Mosseri shares the same optimism, noting that while the platform is useful, it’s missing a lot of the features that its competitors have.
The Future of Threads
It’s hard to say what’s next for Threads. Like any other “next big thing,” it’s one giant waiting game. However, in an update on the Meta site posted on August 9th, Zuckerberg announced that Threads was going to be getting three new features it was missing: the ability to share a thread to Instagram DMs, a mention button to easily mention other users, and the ability to edit the automatically generated alt-text description of photos and videos before posting. While these features are helpful, they’re a far cry from the features users really want — like hashtags or text-based search.
You may be wondering, as a business, should you be focusing on Threads as part of your marketing strategy? For the time being, it appears that a lot of the app’s users are influencers and celebrities. And the other “regular” users seem to be currently enjoying the platform because it’s not pushing products or services onto them —yet.
If you are going to add Threads to your marketing strategy, consider keeping your content lighthearted, relatable, and personable. Big-name retailers have already been known to use it to share memes and jokes, capturing their audience’s attention in a manner they did not before. Foster a community with your brand and audience, and you’re sure to create brand loyalty in an entirely new way. Since the app is in its infancy, it’s all about experimenting.
New social media platforms will come and go, and despite its initial success, it’s hard to say whether or not Threads is here to stay. Thanks to its focus on creating close relationships among its users and brands, it has the potential to be the next big thing if done correctly. As it continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how it influences the trajectory of social media as a whole.
We understand that adding yet another social media platform to your marketing strategy can feel incredibly overwhelming. That’s why Sway Group wants to make it as easy as possible for you. We can help you create a perfectly tailored marketing plan to ensure your success. Plus, our influencers are specially vetted and will bring life to your platforms–including Threads. Ready to get started? Contact us today!