By Vinay Babani
A new player has entered the social media landscape, and it’s already shaking things up. Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has officially launched Threads, a rival to Twitter. Unveiled just three months ago, Threads has already gained significant momentum, signing up 30 million users, which includes a bevy of brands, celebrities, journalists, and other influential accounts.
The launch was met with anticipation and excitement, reminiscent of the first day of school, with early adopters rushing to explore and post their inaugural content. The question in the air is: could Threads end up being the “Twitter killer?” Considering Twitter’s recent backlash following Elon Musk’s acquisition and subsequent management style, the introduction of Threads could further extend Meta’s empire of popular apps and provide a new platform for ad placement.
What is Threads?
Threads is a social media app from Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Bearing a strong resemblance to Twitter, Threads primarily hosts text-based posts, although photos and videos can be shared. Meta has set a 500-character limit for messages posted to Threads, striking a balance between brevity and depth.
Threads borrows elements from Instagram’s aesthetics and navigation system and offers the ability to share posts directly to Instagram Stories. Accounts on Threads can be either public or private, and verified Instagram accounts automatically receive verification on Threads.
How Do You Sign Up?
Signing up for Threads is an easy process that involves using existing Instagram credentials. Users retain the same username, password, and account name but have the option to modify their bio to be unique to Threads. A feature allows users to import their followed accounts from Instagram, simplifying the transition to the new app.
Where is Threads Available?
Currently, Threads is available in 100 countries and supports more than 30 languages via Apple’s iOS and Android.
Could Threads Be the ‘Twitter Killer’?
In the wake of recent Twitter controversies and management changes under Elon Musk, many users have expressed a desire for an alternative platform. Meta’s existing user base, boasting over 2 billion global active Instagram users, gives Threads a considerable advantage over Twitter, which has around 250 million active users.
Meta’s existing infrastructure facilitates a smooth transition for users, making it remarkably easy to get started on Threads. However, the real challenge lies not in getting users to sign up but in keeping them engaged long-term.
What’s in it for Meta? The Advertisers’ Viewpoint
Threads could potentially unlock additional opportunities for Meta to engage its vast user base more effectively. While there are no ads on the platform at the moment, it could eventually supplement Meta’s core advertising business. The connectivity of Threads with Instagram and the well-optimized and mature Meta’s advertising platforms might shift advertisers away from Twitter. This is primarily because Meta provides an advertising ecosystem that is more optimized and user-friendly, coupled with a readily available target audience.
Indian advertisers have historically not invested heavily in Twitter, often due to its controversial nature. However, with Threads providing a similar format combined with a sophisticated advertising algorithm, Indian brands may be more likely to allocate increased investment to this platform. Meta’s ad manager, complete with multiple campaign objectives, could also be a significant draw.
Who Might Face Challenges Beyond Twitter?
Google could potentially be impacted as well. Meta has always been a top choice for new age Indian advertisers when it comes to push marketing, given the significant time target audiences spend on its platforms. With the addition of Threads, the average time spent on Meta platforms (including Instagram, Facebook, and now Threads) is likely to increase, providing more user data to the algorithm. This, in turn, allows for better user categorization, making advertising campaigns more effective and efficient.
Although Google is striving to compete with offerings like Discovery, Pmax, and YouTube inventories, the average user time spent on Meta platforms could give Meta a significant advantage. As Meta further classifies user groups and understands user behaviors, it becomes even easier for advertisers to optimize their campaigns and reap substantial benefits.”
Meta will also need to work diligently to prevent spam, harassment, conspiracy theories, and false claims on Threads – issues that have led many users to become disillusioned with Twitter.
With some key elections approaching, experts are warning of an incoming wave of misinformation. To combat this, Meta has stated that its Community Guidelines will apply to Threads, as they do on its other apps.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the race to become the go-to platform for real-time, public conversations heats up. Only time will reveal whether Threads can live up to its growing hype and pose a real threat to Twitter.
(The author is Vinay Babani, Vice President – SRV Media, and the views expressed in this article are his own)