Threads’ daily active users halve in one week – should brands still take it seriously?
Is it really the ‘Twitter killer’ it’s made out to be or will it fray? Influencer marketers and social strategists detangle Threads for marketers and argue which posts might perform well on the platform.
Experts debate whether or not social campaigns on Threads will be identical to those on Twitter. / Credit: Adobe Stock
Less than two weeks ago, Meta (parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) launched its Twitter competitor app, Threads.
The new platform comes as public opinion of Twitter continues to suffer under Elon Musk’s leadership, from his unpopular platform changes to the thousands of employee layoffs he conducted.
Within Threads’ first five days, the platform amassed over 100m signups and became the fastest-growing app in history, much to the chagrin of Musk who has made crude remarks about the platform and Mark Zuckerberg.
But, is Threads the ‘Twitter killer’ outlets claim it to be? Although Meta may have convinced users to sign up for Threads, it doesn’t mean they will stay. While Threads had a record-breaking start, its daily active user base is now half of what it was at launch week, dropping from 49m to 23.6m users, per a new report from digital marketing company SimilarWeb. When The Drum reached out to Meta to comment, the company referenced a thread from the head of Instagram Adam Mosserri who wrote that Threads is “way ahead of where [he] expected [the platform] to be at this point“. Several factors could be to blame for the platform’s dwindling user base, from user complaints about randomized feeds to scrutiny surrounding the app’s data protection and privacy practices.
So, should brands still see Threads as a viable platform for their social strategies? And if so, what are the subtle differences between Threads and Twitter? Below, various social strategists and influencer marketing experts share their thoughts and opinions about Threads as well as what strategies might perform well on the platform.
Is Threads worth the hype?
Naturally, some experts are skeptical about the longevity of a text-first social platform so similar to Twitter. “[Threads] feels like an opportunistic swoop due to the decline in users since Elon’s takeover rather than a functioning, user-friendly app – a proverbial jab ahead of their much-anticipated MMA debuts,” says Danielle Dullaghan, strategy director at creative company Iris. “Unless Threads can fix its user issues within a matter of weeks, the app could potentially fall into a decline once the initial hype has passed – like so many ‘new social apps’ have before it.”
Others agree that it may be too soon to do away with Twitter completely, but see the emergence of Threads as largely beneficial for the social media ecosystem. “There has been so much negative conversation around Twitter for the last 12 months and finally brands have a real and credible alternative to work with in Meta’s Threads,” says Adam Clyne, founder and chief executive of social media and influencer marketing agency Coolr. “What we would say is not to write Twitter off at the moment. The rivalry between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg just went to a whole new level with Threads [and] we expect Musk to come out fighting hard. Musk has invested a lot of his money, time and personal brand into Twitter and this may be the shock to the system he needed actually to listen to his user base. Whether it is too late for him, only time will tell.”
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What social strategies will unravel on Threads
Historically, Twitter was the playground for brands to carve out their unique tone of voice and play in culture in real-time; similar themes are beginning to emerge on Threads. Still, there are subtle yet important differences between the audience of Threads and that of Twitter.
The first thing to note is Zuckerberg’s claim that Threads will be “more friendly” than Twitter. Some experts believe this sentiment is bound to affect the tone of conversations on the platform and will play a role in brand safety. “We could see a future in which the two [platforms] co-exist, with Twitter continuing to be a place for news, journalism and more serious conversations, and Threads becoming a light-hearted, leisurely place to be,” says Dullaghan.
Another key difference is where these users come from, according to Clyne. “Many brands are adopting a Twitter-style of content with their audiences on Threads – but they must remember that many of their audiences here have likely ported across from Instagram and are not used to seeing text-first approach,“ he says. “It’s an important nuance to remember as many brands have different audiences on each platform, so many people are experiencing a new type of content from brands that they may not be used to seeing.”
Given that Threads’ user base hails from Instagram, it remains unclear whether or not content from predominantly visual creators will perform well. ”One of the strengths Threads has is Instagram’s thriving creator community,” says Noah Mallin, chief strategy officer at IMGN Media, Warner Music’s Gen-Z creative lab. ”Twitter has a core of creators, but mostly around highly specialized ‘shitposting’ like @dril. That group has been ... exploring Threads, but don’t typically get much notice from brands.”
Finally, it should be noted that Threads permits users to write longer text posts than Twitter. While tweets are limited to 280 characters, a Threads post can go up to 500 characters. “The future of brand strategies on Threads could take various shapes,” says Ben Tauber, president of ScienceMagic New York, a creative consultancy company. “Brands might take advantage of the platform’s longer character limit and five-minute video capacity to share more in-depth content. It’s also conceivable that the threads format could encourage more interactive, long-form discussions between brands and their followers.”