Introducing Threads: What Small Businesses Need to Know About the Newest Social Media App
Few tech businesses actually come out of nowhere. But in the case of Threads, that’s exactly what happened: in mere hours, the newest social network went from nonexistent to boasting millions of new accounts.
One day later, Threads asserted itself as the biggest rival to Twitter. In the process, this dramatic shifting of the social media landscape has sparked some important questions among local businesses—especially those actively advertising on Twitter.
Wondering what this means for your social media strategy? Eager to take advantage of new advertising opportunities on an emerging social platform? Here’s what we know so far about Threads and its impact on your digital advertising.
Designed as a lookalike alternative to Twitter, Threads is a new text-based social network launched by Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.
Many aspects of the user experience—from the short-form, text-heavy posts to the threaded content displayed in personalized feeds—are identical or similar to the experience offered by Twitter. It’s no secret that Meta is hoping Threads can eventually beat Twitter at its own game after the declining user base and revenues Twitter has suffered under new owner Elon Musk.
Meta actually moved up the launch date for Threads, possibly to capitalize on Twitter’s recent struggles.
While Twitter has spent most of Elon Musk’s ownership suffering through a significant decline in valuation, a number of alternative platforms have attempted to launch and capitalize on the social media app’s stumbles. Mastodon, Hive, Bluesky and Spill all offer user experiences similar to Twitter’s short-messaging platform, and all of them have grown their user bases amid Twitter’s public struggles.
None of them, however, have enjoyed the overnight adoption that Meta has driven for threads. By making it easy for Instagram users to set up a new account on Threads, the social media app drove more than 30 million new account sign-ups within the first 24 hours of its launch.
That rapid rate of adoption, combined with Meta’s extensive resources to develop, promote and refine the app, instantly made Threads the most formidable threat to Twitter. While it remains to be seen what kind of long-term scale and user engagement the app can achieve, it’s likely that Threads is here to stay.
While advertising is surely part of the long-term business plan for Threads, the platform currently hasn’t launched any of those products. The platform’s current focus is on expanding its user base through continued adoption of the app, growing a sustainable market share and building a platform experience that will appeal to advertisers.
Given Meta’s heavy reliance on ad revenue as part of its business model, it’s a near-certainty that ads will eventually be available on Threads. As of now, though, there’s no timeline for when those products will be released.
Given the lack of advertising products available on Threads, the best methods of self-promotion for businesses involve using the platform to generate organic visibility and engagement.
Early adopters may have an inside advantage in posting original content that reaches an eager audience on a platform where there’s less content and noise getting in the way of your posts. But there are also limitations that businesses must adapt to: for starters, the lack of hashtags and a desktop app mean that brands can’t automatically translate their Twitter strategies over to Threads.
At the same time, the newness of Threads means that there are no “best practices” for brands to follow. Experimentation is relatively low-risk, and businesses with the bandwidth to play on this platform could make their own discoveries about what types of content perform best on this social network.
Since Threads doesn’t (yet) offer advertising opportunities, Twitter advertising may not see an immediate impact in terms of demand for digital ad space. But if a large number of users does switch over to Threads while reducing their presence on Twitter, it could impact the quality of Twitter ad performance.
A declining user base for Twitter could make it a less economical and effective channel for engaging the niche audiences local businesses are seeking. If Twitter’s ad product is weakened by the presence of Threads, it could quickly unravel the ROI potential of developing paid social campaigns for Twitter.
Once Threads does launch its own advertising solutions, the rigorous content moderation policies enforced by Meta—especially when compared to the looser regulation enacted by Elon Musk’s version of Twitter—could make Threads a more favorable advertising option for businesses concerned about brand safety and related marketing issues.
Facebook and Instagram already combined to offer the most data-rich advertising platform on the social media landscape. Threads will only expand the data available to inform audience targeting and other aspects of campaign strategy, delivering a boost to ad products across all of those platforms.
Threads, meanwhile, will immediately be able to offer ad targeting capabilities beyond what Twitter and all other competing social networks can offer. Although some critics have fairly called into question the data privacy concerns and monopolizing power of the Meta suite of social media apps, there’s no question its dominance and broadening reach will have implications for the value of its advertising solutions.
The launch of Threads doesn’t mean your business needs to revamp its social media strategy—not yet, anyways. But as Threads disrupts the social media landscape, local businesses should pay close attention and be mindful of how these changes may impact their social media strategy.
Cox Media’s experts are following the news, too—and as the social media landscape evolves, we’ll make sure our clients are investing in social ad campaigns that offer the best ROI potential possible. From Twitter to Threads and beyond, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more.
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