It isn’t every day that we get brand-new social media that’s immediately worth paying attention to. Yet here we are; Instagram (and therefore Meta) have released the new app Threads, a text-based feed that’s been drumming up a lot of buzz. But lots of social apps appear, stir up interest, and die; does Threads have the staying power to become a major player? Let’s go over the important details:
Flipping the Bird
It’s no secret that Threads is strikingly similar to the troubled “X” app, formally known as Twitter. Since the takeover by Elon Musk, political turmoil at Twitter has led to millions of users and advertising dollars leaving the platform. Meta smelled the blood in the water, and is beckoning “X” deserters with the promise of a familiar landscape without the added drama. 500-character limits, likes, replies, re-tweets (or re-posts), it’s all here… well, there’s actually quite a bit missing, but more on that in a minute.
An App, Not a Website
While your Threads profile will be connected to your Instagram account, they are treated as two separate entities, and Threads is exclusively a mobile app. It’s possible to pull up a limited feed on a web browser, but you will be unable to post new content and the site will constantly yell at you to download the app from your preferred app store.
UPDATE: A recent report suggests that a web browser version will be coming soon. This is one of many missing features – including compatibility with ActivityPub – are promised to be on the way.
It Blew Up… and It’s Coming Down
Thread’s user base flew to over 100 million users in a week. As the hot trending topic, it was the talk of the town for a while, especially as the internet deemed it the possible “Twitter killer”. While the number of accounts has continued to rise, use of the app has sharply declined. Sources estimate that user engagement has decreased by over 50% from its peak, leaving Threads with an uphill battle if it wants to come out on top.
That said, with the backing of Meta, a great head start and no monetary barrier to speak of, Threads has the best chance of any direct competition to overshadow Musk’s newly rebranded “X”. One would think this would make Threads a tantalizing new space for your most trendy ads, but you’d be mistaken. At the moment:
There’s No Advertising Space
At the time of writing, the most notable concern is the lack of advertising. No boosted posts, no paid ad spots, nothing. We can safely assume that it’ll arrive shortly, since advertising is the primary method by which social media sites and Meta makes their money. For the time being, however, you’ll have to make do with just posting right from your account and hope it shows up on people’s feeds.
At the moment, pages are the only thing you can search for in the app; you can’t search based on re-threads or the content of a post. At launch, you couldn’t even search for hashtags! This feature has recently been added, presumably to pave the way for campaigns as advertising options are put in.
Threads seems to put the emphasis on the creator rather than the content, which will likely make it harder for things to go viral and organically spread on the app. The higher-ups again have promised that more features are coming, time will tell if the search feature gets expanded further.
What It Means for Advertising
A potentially brand-new, popular advertising platform is always exciting, but it’s good to keep expectations and hype in check. Meta has never had the most advertiser-friendly features; the lack of impression pixels on Facebook and Instagram means advertisers are not able to apply view-through level attribution tools or verify that ad placements occur, something that Google and YouTube have recently been in hot water for. The trendy nature of social media makes social media a tricky business, and just like any advertising medium, Genius Monkey cautions against putting too many resources into any one marketing golden goose - especially a shiny new one.
Social media also tends to have a higher CPC; in 2022, Facebook averaged a $1.35 CPC and Instagram was a blistering $3.56. Through its use of multiple advertising avenues, Genius Monkey was averaging $0.75 during the same time period. “This is the power of Genius Monkey’s Media and Device Agnostic approach to optimizing your ad spend. This focus on performance rather than placement always delivers higher ROAS,” says Jeremy Hudgens, CRO at Genius Monkey.
The larger context also raises some concerns; competition is good for keeping quality high and costs low, and Meta already owns two of the top five social media apps in the world. The addition and at least early popularity of Threads means Meta is taking another step toward attempting to monopolize the social media space, which could turn it into an advertising black hole with little in the way of useful data.
Doomsday prophecies aside, these are still early days. Features are forthcoming, communities and vibes are being established, and only time will tell what Threads lasting impact will be. Overall, another place to (eventually) get your ads in front of users is a win if you’re using a multi-prong approach. Is Threads the Twitter-killer? Maybe, but we at Genius Monkey highly doubt it.
Whether it’s social media, Connected TV, or Audio, Genius Monkey is your one-stop programmatic platform to take your advertising above and beyond. So what are you waiting for: Get in touch with the Genius Monkeys today!