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Threads vs Twitter: Can Threads Triumph?

Jul 17, 2023

Social Media Marketing News

Threads vs Twitter: Can Threads Triumph?

Musk and Zuck have beef, and now, so do their companies. 

Meta’s release of Threads created a direct competitor to Twitter. Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has been unstable, and somewhat volatile, presenting Meta with a space to create a new platform designed for “public conversation”. 

Meta had planned the release of Threads for a while, but the date of the launch was most opportune given Musk’s decision to restrict users’ capabilities to view unlimited tweets, consequently pissing off a lot of people. 

With Threads well and truly coming for a piece of Twitter (and Musk coming for a piece of Zuck…), we want to understand the key lessons Threads can learn from Twitter’s mistakes.

threads vs twitter: Zuck the Cuck

Threads vs Twitter: What can Threads learn from Twitter?

Twitter has been an incredibly popular platform for years, but since Musk’s takeover it has been… chaotic. This has opened the door for Threads to sneak in, but Threads needs to learn from Twitter’s previous mistakes, and how it can make room for itself in an already crowded room. 

The need to differentiate 

Threads needs to differentiate itself from Twitter, and other platforms that offer text-based community—such as Discord and Reddit. Once the function to search for posts arrives, it will be much easier for users to find like-minded people that aren’t chosen by an algorithm, giving users more freedom over the Threads they engage with and participate in. If Threads isn’t able to offer users a function or space they can find elsewhere, they have no real need for the platform, and will revert to the ones they have used for years previously, and have already built community and connections on. 

Allow communities the space to grow

Leading on from this, people need to be able to build communities from scratch. While Threads is a new platform in itself, it’s heavily integrated with Instagram, meaning most recommended content being shown on the main feed is from those with already established profiles on Instagram. We understand the need to populate a main feed to keep people interested, but users need the chance to forge their own space and their own communities. This again is something that will be easier to achieve once post searching is introduced. 

Another consideration for Threads is that people want to join in conversations and communities in a timely way. If something is trending, they want to be able to see it and engage as it is happening, not just when they see it on their timeline—which could be long after the conversation has ended. 

Create a free speech policy 

The topic of free speech on any social media platform is a complicated one. At what point does free speech stop and become hate speech? This is a particular issue Twitter has faced and still faces to this day. 

Threads has remained a relatively positive platform so far, but as its popularity grows, this will be hard to maintain. Meta has already limited promotion of political content on its platforms, particularly on Facebook, but it’s much harder to censor content on a text-based platform because of the “free speech” argument. 

Some of the topics that garner the most engagement and attention on Twitter are those that cause controversy. It’s nearly impossible to keep a social platform a permanently positive place—there needs to be room for public discourse. 

Develop further ad formats

At the time of writing, Threads is an ad-free platform. But, knowing Meta, ads are undoubtedly in the works. 

Twitter isn’t exactly known for its triumphant ad placements. Given that Threads has an incredibly similar function and layout to Twitter, if Threads goes down a similar ad route as Twitter, it probably won’t be too fruitful. 

Ads would work on Threads if there is a “For You” feed. When a user is in a For You feed, they know they are being shown content the algorithm thinks they will like, meaning it’s not solely from those you follow. An ad within this setting will be significantly more powerful than an ad in a chronological or favourites feed because it targets users natively. Having ads within a favourites feed would disrupt a user’s experience, potentially repelling them from the platform. 

Avoid the customer service trap

Twitter was quickly turned into a customer service platform. This is because it offers a seamless and painless platform for users to complain or ask questions, and receive an informative and timely response. Given that many brands have already established customer service accounts on Twitter, Threads is at less of a risk of this trap, but should the platform become more popular it is something to consider. Yes, it would still mean the platform had engagement and content, but not the community nurturing content Meta intended for Threads.

threads vs twitter: meme edition

Threads vs Twitter: What are the current threats to Threads?

Other than the obvious threat (Threads vs Twitter), what are the challenges Threads faces as a new social platform?

Disinterested users

If Threads doesn’t differentiate itself enough, offer entertaining and engaging content, or provide a genuine space for communities to gather, users will simply go back to the platforms they know. Users have already built communities and followings on other platforms, so Threads needs to make its mark to prove its usefulness or enjoyability to keep users active. 

Data regulations

Currently, Meta is waiting for guidance around the Digital Markets Act, an EU competition law that dictates how online platforms use their market power. The European Commission is discussing regulations with companies, with more guidance expected to arrive in September. Until then, Meta is unable to launch Threads in the EU. 

Meta has revealed that it plans to roll out Threads in over 100 countries, but hasn’t unveiled the entire list. However, we do know that Threads isn’t listed on App stores in EU countries. Meta has listed itself as a “gatekeeper” under the Digital Markets Act, meaning they could be subject to harsher regulation around data sharing and preference to their own products. 

App-only

Currently, Threads is only available via app, so it’s exclusively a mobile experience. Sure, mobile usage is up tenfold, but sometimes it’s nice to scroll away on a desktop from time to time. It’s not something that should be a priority for the platform, just something to consider in the future. 

Threads vs Twitter: How can Threads win?

Threads already had an incredible advantage with Instagram’s pre-existing user base. It also created one of the most seamless sign-up processes available, with users able to import their username, name, bio, and links directly from their Instagram accounts. While this is great for getting people on the platform, it won’t make them stay. 

One of the main things Threads can do to keep users active is by listening to them. Threads has already confirmed new updates that have been mentioned repeatedly on the platform, and is working incredibly fast to implement them. Two main updates currently in the works are a chronological feed, and the ability to search for posts, not just accounts. 

Adam Mosseri has been transparent about the future of Threads. Due to the large influx of users within the first week, the Threads team has been working hard to keep the platform running and fixing immediate bugs. 

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.

@ Socially Powerful

Author

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James Hacking

Writer

Socially Powerful, founded in 2017, stood as pioneers of the influencer marketing industry. Today we are a global social marketing agency and technology company.

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