News & Analysis

Threads: What You Should Know

When Threads came calling, there was more chaos around as people who were on Instagram started seeing notifications about the latest “Twitter Killer”. The notifications were from friends who had courageously stepped into early adopter mode. Many of us reported Threads numbers, of how they got to 50 million in a jiffy, but had little information around it. 

In fact, Meta launched their new platform a day before it was actually expected – on July 5th and some noted that it was deliberate as Mark Zuckerberg wanted to get people to buy into his Twitter equivalent while still celebrating the July 4 spirit. Now, about a week after all the chaos, our CXOToday team has experimented with it and want to share our thoughts right away. 

Currently boasting of more than 100 million users (and counting), Threads has truly spread its tentacles with experts already churning out stories of how brands have already taken to it in a big way. However, there’s always more than meets the eye following a new launch and we think there’s hype and there’s something beyond (as always). 

So, here’s what we figured out through a steady stream of comments and feedback from our friends and a few colleagues who were needling the Thread when they found free time from their mundane official chores. Of course, what follows is by no means the final word as there’s still lots that Meta has promised… 

  • For starters, we admit that Threads is quite solid in terms of ease of operation, simpler and easier user interface and offers a much better vibe than Twitter – Jack Dorsey or no Jack Dorsey!
  • However, the biggest catch is that you cannot be on Threads without being on Instagram and in case you need to log off, then both your accounts get deleted. Also, your Insta ID becomes the default ID on Threads – we couldn’t find a hack around this.
  • So, in case you’re a brand, this might work well though there are some that use different IDs to create different use cases. In such cases, just think double the effort for your social media manager or outsourced media agency (get ready to pay them more!) 
  • For now, the Threads culture is a clean one as there are no ads and hashtags appear to be non-effective (they’re just there coz some tend to hashtag everything in their lives). 
  • The interface is a mobile only one, much like Instagram (which does have a web app but that sucks!) So, in case you want to pour over your feeds for hours as you may do with Facebook, don’t even bother. 
  • The 500-character limit with the ability to add images and a 5-minute video is swell for advertisers. But, imagine how you may feel to watch reels on a Twitter post? It did not work for some of us, while others thought it to be groovy. 
  • Threads has used the Instagram way of share, repost and reply buttons and we can also see how many likes and replies a post gained. YouTube be damned for removing the Likes count to make social media stress-free! 
  • While it is easier to sign-up and re-follow everyone that one already follows on Instagram, there’s no way (as yet) where one can filter some out. I mean why would you want to follow some friends who only post reels on Insta? 
  • Threads has definitely raised the hackles of Elon Musk who’s called it a “copycat app” and also gone after Meta for “poaching Twitter staff and using the data to build a new app. This battle will definitely be a good Thread to follow! 
  • And finally, there seems to be no APIs available from Thread yet. That is if you want to integrate them with Sprout or Loomly. Happily though, Meta says they’re working on making the app compatible with open and interoperable social networks. 

So what do we think should be the way ahead?

For starters, it is too early in a product life cycle to make that prediction. Also, stop listening if anyone comes with advice on how to add brand value through this new platform. There’s still a lot to figure out and Meta also needs to do its big by enhancing the offerings of this new micro-blogging option. Having said so, there’s some stuff brands could tackle right away: 

  • As always, avoid copy-pasting content from your Twitter handle on to Threads. This could be a sure shot way of killing our own brand perception on a new platform. Also, ensure that you don’t cross-pollinate content between Meta’s offerings. 
  • The only way one can get the best out of Threads is by experimenting. So, try out different content formats across all the platforms. That Threads is growing rapidly does not add to the argument as even Twitter and Insta took time to mature. 
  • Keep a close watch on what brands are doing. Some of them are quite creative though most of the early posts are light, indicating that brand managers are still playing around and learning. Simply put, be your authentic self early on… the charades can wait. 

In conclusion, we would only say that do not create a strategy yet for something that none of us (including those that created Threads) are clear about. When a new app gets 100 million users within seven days, it is bound to create some conversations during brand meetings. For now, let them remain just that – no need to stress out and figure out plans for something that itself is just born and ain’t going anywhere. So, just drop the FOMO – at least for a couple of months.  

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