A fresh canvas for brands on social media
In the fast-evolving landscape of social media, Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, recently launched a new app called Threads.
This new app burst onto the scene, gaining a massive user base overnight (30 million downloads in less than 24 hours), and many are considering it a rival to Twitter.
So, what does this mean for marketers navigating this dynamic landscape in terms of advertising prospects, its utility compared to other social platforms, and potential implications for the future of social media marketing?
Threads compared to current social platforms
Threads comprises some of the best features of Instagram and Twitter. It has the look and feel of Twitter but with the bonus of Instagram integration, allowing users to seamlessly create an account and automatically follow their Instagram connections.
The downside is that in order to delete your Threads account, you must delete Instagram as well—which warrants updates on the app usage versus the count of users alone.
However, Threads lacks some key features compared to other platforms, like feed customization (following chronologically vs. following recommended) and search (content vs. users). Given the rapid adoption of the platform with over 100 million downloads, we expect that Meta will make these enhancements quickly.
Unlike Twitter, where the use of influencers remains relatively nascent, Meta already has an existing influencer presence across both Facebook and Instagram that we anticipate will be quickly adopted on Threads.
Advertising opportunities on Threads
Currently, there are no immediate plans for monetization on Threads. In an interview about its launch, Global Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri shared that Threads will be ad-free at the start while Meta explores whether the platform will scale, sharing, “…we’re not focused on it at all right now.”
Assuming the platform scales and eventually introduces ads, Instagram’s stability as a platform and Meta’s existing “Inventory Filter” brand suitability solution and stricter community standards enforcement would make Threads a more inviting environment for many advertisers.
A large dataset of users’ text-based conversations can benefit Meta’s ads solution by providing more real-time signals about user interests and behaviors, enabling the delivery of more targeted ads. The dataset also adds more inventory for the system to deliver to and more fluidity, which has been a priority, as Meta’s Advantage+ suite emphasizes automated ad delivery to reach users where they are rather than putting restrictions on specific ad placements.
Additionally, with Twitter and Reddit historically owning some of the largest archives of text-based conversation, they have recognized the value in training artificial intelligence (AI) models and have begun charging for that access.
If Meta can continue to scale the use of Threads, it will be able to own its own training grounds for AI models and can look to incorporate additional monetization opportunities.
Finally, partnerships with creators will be another entry point to gaining learnings as it scales its audiences. Influencers seem to be a Trojan horse onto the platform, as we have seen done with Hulu, though there is no way to amplify this content just yet.
Leveraging Threads’ Instagram integration
Threads’ integration with Instagram profiles could be a game-changer for advertisers. By automatically following Instagram connections, brands can quickly expand their reach and tap into an already established audience.
Brands that build an organic presence early on will be primed to take advantage of the platform once advertisers are allowed.
Privacy, moderation, and copyright protection
In this age of data breaches and privacy scandals, Threads is stepping up to the plate with promises of stronger content moderation and copyright protection measures, as it will be governed by Instagram’s existing community standards. This could be a silver lining for marketers.
Threads is providing a safer environment for brand promotions and minimizing the risk of copyright infringements.
However, the extensive data collection practices of Threads have raised eyebrows, leading to questions about privacy and compliance with data regulations, especially in the EU, where Threads’ rollout is uncertain.
As a result, advertisers should continue utilizing available brand safety controls within the platform and lean on brand safety partners to vet and drive greater safety.
Threads and interoperability
Threads is breaking new ground with its compatibility with the ActivityPub protocol. This interoperability allows the app to interact with other platforms like Mastodon and WordPress, which gives users more control over their content and the flexibility to transfer it to other services.
This aligns with Meta’s vision of decentralization and could spur innovation within the social media landscape. Threads’ interoperability presents opportunities for brands to create more integrated and cohesive campaigns that span across multiple platforms.
The future of Threads’ marketing and advertising
Threads may not be just a new app but also a new extension for brands. With its potential to pull users from other platforms, brands may need to rethink their advertising strategies and budgets.
Without advertising opportunities currently, building a strong organic presence on Threads should be the first step.
The platform’s rapid growth and text-based alternative to Twitter make Threads an appealing prospect for marketers seeking new avenues for brand exposure. Threads encourages community building, which brands can use to their advantage by creating engaging content that sparks conversation and fosters a sense of community among their followers.
Once advertising opportunities become available, we anticipate Threads to be incorporated into the existing Meta Ads Manager, as we’ve seen with the addition of Reels, and have the same targeting capabilities that are available to both Facebook and Instagram.
If following suit, advertisers would be able to control frequency and reach across all Meta properties, which provides client efficiencies over managing multiple individual properties.
What you can do now
- Explore Threads: Familiarize yourself with Threads and its features. Understand its user interface, functionality, and potential for advertising.
- Experiment with content: Test different content styles on Threads to see what resonates with your audience and drives engagement.
- Plan for cross-promotion: Develop a strategy for leveraging Threads’ Instagram integration for cross-promotion and audience expansion when ads are introduced.
- Leverage interoperability: Consider how you can use Threads’ interoperability for more integrated campaigns that span across multiple platforms.
- Stay updated: Keep an eye on Threads’ evolution and ad placement availability and adapt your strategies accordingly.
Threads is more than just a new player in the social media game. It also offers potential opportunities and challenges for users and advertisers alike.
With its integration with Instagram, interoperability, and wealth of user data collected, Threads presents a fresh canvas for brands to express their identity and engage their audiences. As the platform evolves and ad placements become available, advertisers should stay vigilant, build an organic presence, and adapt strategies when possible.
Only time will tell if Threads can keep up the momentum and time spent it has seen in the first few days since launch.