Threads – A Guide To Twitter’s New Rival Platform
The latest in a long line of apps trying to fill the void where Twitter used to sit proudly (nice work, Elon), Threads intends to “take on the app with a range of features that are similar to those offered by Twitter.”
According to its App Store listing:
“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow.
“Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favourite creators and others who love the same things — or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.”
Similarly to Twitter, users will be able to engage with users and businesses more publically than on platforms like Facebook, and trends look set to be a prominent feature of the platform. At its core, it lets users log in using their Instagram account, before being able to make posts of up to 500 characters, including “links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length”.
What’s to come?
The platform has only just launched in the UK, meaning that features and functionality are likely to change over the coming days or weeks. The app has already had millions of downloads within a few hours, and the easy setup and useability mean that it already has a number of active users – perhaps a sign that people are keen for an alternative to the now somewhat temperamental Twitter.
Though it will be some time before we see if Threads really takes off, it is certainly an app to watch and, for many businesses, one to start thinking about how to invest time in.
Due to it being owned by Instagram, and therefore Meta, it is likely that advertising will eventually be added, and that this will take the form of additional placements on Business Manager. However, an article in The Guardian today has stated that “Meta will not be accepting ads on Threads for this year at least”.
We’re already seeing similarities to Instagram when it comes to features, such as users being able to hide replies or messages using specific “Hidden Words” on both platforms. A sign of more overlap to come?
Want to get involved?
Looking to see what all the fuss is about? Check out our super simple setup guide:
- Download the app from the App Store – Android or Apple
- You can log in with your Instagram account – keeping your Instagram handle
- You can import your username, profile picture, verification status, bio, link and followers directly from your Instagram account
- Choose if you want a Public profile or a Private profile
- Threads will then pre-populate a list of potential people to follow, based on the people you follow on Instagram. You can choose to follow these people, or skip this step
Then you’re ready to go!
What do our experts think?
Ben Hawkes, Senior Social Media Manager:
“Few can question that Elon is an absolute pro when it comes to headline-grabbing moves, but I do think the recent ones will have impacted not only businesses and financial security on the platform but, more damagingly, its user reputation.
The platform has lost over 10 million followers this year, which isn’t much when you look at its 350 million user base, but if Threads offers enough shiny features, and people take to it quick enough, it could be a real legitimate alternative to Twitter – and something which could lead to the platform going down. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but Facebook did kill Myspace, so who knows!”
Yumna Kumran, Junior Social Media Lead:
“It’s obviously very, very early days, but the positive sentiment and the excitement around the app makes me feel hopeful that it’ll be around to stay. It’s certainly a more basic version of Twitter, but I have a strong feeling that Meta has plenty up their sleeves when it comes to further development of this platform, so I’m definitely keeping my eyes glued on this one! As far as Twitter “replacements” (I actually think it may become something bigger in its own right with time), it’s one of the best yet.
I think how the platform gets used by brands is crucial. Don’t just jump on there because it’s another platform on which to pedal your wares, but instead use it as a channel for genuine feedback, communication with users, and as a way to be part of important conversations relevant to you and your brand.
It’s also worth noting that currently they’re going to keep it ad-free while they’re working out the intricacies, and there’s no set date on when or if they’ll open it out to ads, so there’s no need to start redistributing all your budget for Thread ads just yet!”
Megan Jordan, Senior Social Media Executive:
“I think that having the ability to incorporate Instagram’s user-friendly platform and communities, with Twitter’s image-free posts, by creating a text only version of the platform we all know and love is a great mix! We’ve got a lot of clients that are established across Meta, and feel more confident in IG/Meta’s abilities than Twitter.
Allowing brands to join in on relevant business and world conversations, and share timely updates about their interests sounds promising. As of right now, there are still some basic features such as direct messaging missing, which would be good to see – but it will be interesting to see what features are yet to be announced – maybe even a Giphy.com integration. Whatever it is they announce next, let’s hope it’s not an £11.99 subscription!”
Hayley Renvoize, Social Media Manager:
“Unless there’s some radical change in what Twitter has to offer, people will likely disengage and go elsewhere. One thing Twitter still has to offer is its power as a news outlet. Twitter, for many people, replaced the daily print newspaper, and became an easy way to digest news around the world.
Threads is currently not available in the EU simply because it’s a data minefield that must be carefully navigated. The increase of on-platform data sources becomes extremely valuable for advertisers in our cookieless world. However, people are generally becoming more data conscious, and are choosing to go to rivals like Bluesky who offer users much more privacy controls, and saw record traffic – so much so, they had to halt on sign ups.
At the moment the app is relatively simple and currently you can’t advertise on Threads, but I would assume it’s only a matter of time. Until then, affiliate & influencer marketing will take precedence on the platform. It will be very interesting to see what this can do for brands from an organic perspective, potentially allowing for easier community management and user engagement. As a new component to the Meta ecosystem, brands will be able to easily navigate existing audiences to Threads via Instagram. Where Instagram is such a visual platform, the two can complement each other nicely. A post on Instagram can then be followed by a bunch of user engagement with a discussion on Threads, for example.”
Is Threads For You?
So far, the best way to think about Threads is less focused on text vs photos and videos, and more about what public conversations you want to have.
Meta itself has said that the app is intended for “sharing text updates and joining public conversations” – so how does that fit within your marketing strategy? Are there conversations in your industry you want to drive, or get involved with? Are you looking for a way to better engage with your audience? If so, then it might be worth keeping an eye on how Threads progresses in the coming days and weeks.