The Low-Down on Threads – What is it? Will it Succeed? Should Brands get Involved?

by | 5 Oct 2023

Written by Hoozu CEO, Natalie Giddings.

No doubt you’ve heard a whole lot of buzz around the new kid on the block; Threads. Attracting over 100 million users within its first week, Meta’s latest product entered the Social Media space with a bang. But what actually is Threads? Will it actually succeed? And should brands be getting on to Threads? As an ex-Tweeter, I’ve written my two cents on the latest player.

What is Threads, then?

Meta describes its latest baby as “A new way to share with text.” Myself (and countless others) say: Twitter’s doppelganger. Threads is a new platform, created by the makers of Instagram and connected to Instagram, where people can share their thoughts through text; initiating ‘threads’ of conversation online. Yes, this description sounds remarkably similar to Twitter(/X) and yes the interface resembles the same. 

So what are the differences between Threads and Twitter/X? There are a few; Twitter is a standalone app whilst Threads is connected to Instagram and uses your IG login details. Twitter began as a website, but Threads remains app-only. Twitter/X has increasingly more and more hidden costs/paywalls – as of yet, Threads is totally free and comes with no advertisements. Threads allows longer strands of thought with its 500 character limit. And no doubt more adaptations will continue to differentiate the two competitors.

And yet, competitors they very much remain. Twitter/X had accused Meta of stealing trade secrets from ex-Twitter engineers, an accusation denied by Meta. Seemingly-empty threads of a charity cage fight between Zuckerberg and Musk have been keeping internet users on their toes. Despite the genius-levels of each of these men, and the extreme influence their Social Media products have on the world, the whole competition seems almost farcical. And yet, this is not to say we should underestimate the serious potential of this new app, Threads.

So, Will Threads be a Success?

Some of you may be experiencing a sense of deja vu when it comes to Threads. Back in 2019, Facebook launched the original Threads product – a direct messaging app focussed on in-the-moment images. A product that never really took off, and didn’t even come close to Snapchat; the key player most similar in format. With fear of sounding overly superstitious; could the ‘Threads’ name of old be a bad omen for product 2.0?

In this vein, it’s worth looking at Meta’s other attempts at stealing Social Media real estate from its competitors. Whilst IGTV flopped in its attempt to overtake YouTube; Reels have come to exist in huge popularity alongside TikTok. Just as IG Stories remain immensely popular alongside Snapchat Stories. In both instances, the vibes are just different on the Meta platforms. 

Whilst it’s still too early to accurately predict the outcome of Threads, I foresee something similar happening against X. With so much controversy and the introductions of paywalls around X, I have no doubt that others, like me, will be sad to leave but glad to have an alternative space to continue with textual sharing. X will retain some users, whilst others will move across to the more stable and secure foundations of Meta. And the vibes will differ on each; what those vibes will be, I’m yet to see. But for now, it seems the serious talk continues to take place over on X, whilst the more casual, lighthearted chitter-chatter is hosted on Threads.

Should Brands be Getting Involved?

With the huge initial uptake on Threads, it’s all too easy for brands to follow the tide and hop onboard too… go where your consumers go, etc, etc. Plus, as is often the case with new social media apps, those who find their footing first are likely to be at an advantage for growth with the algorithm. 

And yet, my advice is for brands to hit pause for now. It is too early to see where Threads will go: whether it will succeed or flop; what the vibe will be; how to implement the best strategies; or even whether to have a strategy at all! Allow the Creators to shape the platform first – let them test the waters and decide whether it’s a place worth staying. 

Jumping into Threads now will take a huge investment of time and resources as your brand attempts to find its feet in a hurricane of ideas that hasn’t yet settled. In a world where time is money; I say continue dedicating that time to the platforms you already know work but keep your eyes on this new kid. Get involved only once Threads’ identity becomes more established.

Hoozu will be keeping its eye tightly on Threads; we have a direct channel to the creators who are shaping its future. Get in touch today and take advantage of our front-row seat to the future of Threads.