Threading the Needle

Threading the Needle

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In this month’s newsletter, we take a look at the launch of Meta’s new text-based conversation platform, Threads, and how brands can best understand its evolution and position themselves to make the most of this new, growing, and potentially powerful space.

Where we stand today

On July 5, Meta released Threads, its new text-based conversation platform couched in the existing Instagram model. The release was a monstrous success, notably becoming the fastest app to reach 100 million downloads and to eventually surpass 150 million users, indicating that a huge share of the population has been eagerly awaiting a new public conversation platform, and an alternative to Twitter (or dare we say X?).

Among those who flocked to Threads were a bevy of high profile influencers and celebrities, including sports figures like Shaquille O’Neal, journalists like Katie Couric, and comedians like Kathy Griffin, lending Threads a legitimacy that other Twitter clones have failed to generate. Major brands, too, have joined the everyday user and the high profile personality to indicate that Threads is a promising platform for online influencer marketing.

Even so, since its launch, Threads has seen a notable decline from roughly 49 million daily users as of July 7 to 23.6 million just one week later. So is Threads really here to stay, and if so, is it a worthwhile investment for brands?

The answer is a clear yes, and here are a few reasons why.

At the cutting edge

First of all, Meta is fully committed to the success of the platform, with a goal of recruiting 200 million active users over the next year, and is pursuing this goal through a tiered rollout of new features including a desktop version, direct messaging, better follower discovery, and hashtags, all of which will eventually boost engagement and scale up the platform’s Daily Active Users and Time On App stats.

And while a drop of nearly 25 million active users over the course of a single week may seem daunting, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently commented (via a Threads post, of course) that he’s “very optimistic about how the Threads community is coming together. Early growth was off the charts, but more importantly, tens of millions of people now come back daily. That’s way ahead of what we expected.” The game plan seems to be that slow and steady wins the race.

It’s also difficult to ignore the ongoing very public and very messy decline of Twitter as the world’s leading platform for public exchange, and how well-poised Threads is to pick up the mantle that CEO Elon Musk seems determined to leave in the dust. According to Musk, in fact, Twitter’s ad revenue is down 50% and the company is hemorrhaging money. Rate limits continue to make the platform unfriendly or even unusable for many free and even paid users, and spam and bots continue to overwhelm the messaging experience.

So what does this mean for brands?

It means that Threads is ripe for positioning as a new direct communication and influencer marketing powerhouse, but only if you know how to prepare for and make the best use of it.

Current patterns show that most brands that have already adopted Threads are posting the same content on the new platform as they are on Twitter, but with shockingly higher rates of engagement on Threads – 1.32% on Threads vs. 0.01% on Twitter, even when the number of followers are relatively the same.

But Threads is a new platform, and as noted above, growth in audience can be gradual, so what about when the number of followers is vastly different?

Let’s take Oreo as an example: the world famous cookie company boasts 1 million followers on Twitter and a more modest but growing 201,000 on Threads. The company posts similar content on each platform, but receives an average of 1.7 times more comments and 2.1 times more Likes on Threads than on Twitter, despite the lower number of followers, and average engagement on each platform stands at 2.18% on Threads and a shockingly abysmal 0.2% on Twitter.

Threads’ direct relationship to Instagram is its strongest asset when it comes to being a viable platform for authentic online engagement and marketing, and People First is especially well-positioned to provide that guidance with our database of Creators who already have large and very active Instagram followings. These Creators can directly transfer their audiences from Instagram to Threads and scale up quickly, and in fact many already have.

The key takeaway is clear: Threads is likely here to stay, and People First has a valuable database of users who can make the most of it. We encourage you to get involved early, and let us help you make the most of a first-mover advantage in this growing space.

That’s the power of putting people first in your marketing.