Threads is dead, long live Threads: The app’s decline makes it a sandbox for brands
With Twitter (or X) having a tumultuous time, Facebook (or Meta) saw an easy chance to release a copycat, but Threads’ fall has been as rapid as its rise. Does that mean it’s a dead space for brands? Not quite, says Jack Morton’s Byron Zheng.
Meta's Threads may be in the doldrums, but that's exactly what makes it ripe for brand experimentation, says Byron Zheng / Azamat E via Unsplash
Back in July, Threads, Meta’s competitor to X (Twitter) became the fastest platform to reach 100 million users, in just five days. Marketers took notice and jumped on the opportunity.
Brands with strong social playbooks like Wendy’s stretched into this new avenue employing established tactics: indulging in meme culture and making feisty commentary on current events. And brands newer to the social game, like Wayfair, took this opportunity to explore new approaches to craft their own brand personality.
And then, the shiny new object dulled, quickly losing 80% of its active users and plummeting to just 8 million by the end of July. In September, 58 days since launch, the platform only added an additional 30 million users.
The lack of retention is attributed to platform limitations and missing basic features. Many users cited a lack of relevancy in their newsfeeds and the inability to view trending topics or search for content as primary reasons.
Is Threads dead?
So, is Threads dead? Well, not yet. A few million active users is still a lot of people. Threads have acknowledged the problem and is working to implement missing features, most recently adding desktop support and a follower feed. Plus, Threads is not yet available in the EU. Once that gap is addressed, we could, potentially, see a resurgence in popularity.
Still, as the Threads hype has fizzled, brands have divested due to negative sentiment. Brand success is not built risk-free. While Threads has lost a lot of reach, it’s still a purely organic platform, creating an intimate space between brands and potential customers. This space provides research and experimentation opportunities worth pursuing in the short term. There are three areas where Threads is ripe for this kind of experimentation.
As Threads’ avid user base continues to crystalize, brands should explore alignment with their target audiences. As a less crowded platform and one that might attract core audiences beyond the early adopters over time, it’s an opportunity for brands to connect, start a conversation, identify micro-influencers, and increase discovery.
This can enhance brands’ credibility and authority in the market, while gaining user insights, gathering real-time feedback, and building a strong organic following for the future.
Reach and volume of interactions shouldn’t be the only KPIs that determine ROI. Quality and frequency of interactions, brand perception, and resulting longer-term outcomes are equally important.
Marketers should use Threads’ challenger status to confirm or rebuke their established champion social platform. The worst that can happen is to have more data-driven evidence once media mix doesn’t need to evolve.
‘Fail early, fail often, but fail forward’: easier said than done. Threads, right now, is a sandbox for brands to take risks, embrace an experimental mindset, and practice becoming agile. Not only do they have a chance to write their own playbook, with permission to fail in a less proven and less frequented space; approaches, learnings and successes can then be applied to other more proven platforms.
We don’t know where Threads will be a year from now, but for now it’s an experience worth considering and exploring to reach audiences. By the time success is found, the risk-averse will be playing catch-up until the next new trend emerges. Brands miss 100% of the shots they don’t take.
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No one sets out to be average. No one aspires to be ordinary. Jack Morton is an award-winning global brand experience agency that exists to reimagine what an experience can be. We do that by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in every format — virtual, live or hybrid.Find out more