Threads vs Twitter (Now Called X), The Story So Far

Meta sprung a surprise with the unexpected launch of Threads by Instagram on Wednesday, July 5.

Following the release of Threads, Mark Zuckerberg made a notable return to Twitter after over a decade, sharing a popular meme of Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man.

This humorous gesture indirectly hinting that indeed, “some inspiration” had been drawn from the platform, Twitter.

Elon Musk would certainly be a bit worried since then. The subsequent weeks witnessed a whirlwind of activity, as Threads garnered over 100 Million users within the first five days. You can see ever since it has been growing at a rate of 1 million users per day.

You can say that this is a shrewd move from Mark Zuckerberg to take advantage of the chaos at Twitter and try to seize market share.

Musk and Zuckerberg taking the fight offline

Just two weeks prior to the Threads release, in a possibly jesting manner, Elon Musk suggests settling “the score” in a bare-knuckled cage fight.

Musk tweeted, “I’m sure Earth can’t wait to be exclusively under Zuck’s thumb,” and humorously followed up with, “I’m up for a cage match if he is lol.”

Zuckerberg, taking the playful challenge, responded with a witty “Send me location” on Instagram, sharing a screenshot of Musk’s message.

Musk’s reply was straightforward and lighthearted: “Vegas Octagon,” referring to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) arena in Las Vegas.

Most recently, Musk revealed that he and Zuckerberg have reached an agreement for an MMA fight. Musk conveyed via a tweet that the event will be held in Italy, promoted by both their foundations, and broadcasted on Twitter and Meta. All proceeds will be donated to veterans.

However, Zuckerberg’s patience has worn thin while awaiting his anticipated cage match with Elon Musk. Just under two months after enthusiastically accepting the Tesla executive’s proposal, Zuckerberg has decided to cancel the event citing Musk’s commitment to the challenge appeared lacking in seriousness.

Following Zuckerberg’s statement, Musk has responded to several X posts, hinting that Zuckerberg might be apprehensive about stepping into the ring with him.

While this banter serves as a strategic marketing approach to maintain their brand’s visibility in our minds, the real battle for Zuckerberg is to win back the throne in the social attention space or become the next MySpace.

Mark Zuckerberg’s real challenge: Maintaining world domination in grabbing attention

It is common knowledge that the acquisition of Instagram has saved Facebook but the emergence of TikTok as the champion of social media has threatened Zuckerberg’s domination. Could Threads be the easy way to regain that throne?

At the moment, it doesn’t seem like it. Reports have surfaced that Thread’s daily active user (DAU) count (an indicator to measure the success of the app) has dipped 82%, dropping from 44 million DAU to 8 million DAU in August. A key factor for this drop is the lack of unique content and features.

Sam Huang, Chief Engineer at dating app company EME Hive, does not think Threads will be a substantial challenger to Twitter.

The real thing that makes Twitter Twitter is itself, the brand, the idea of Twitter

I don't think Threads is a substantial challenge to Twitter; despite Meta/Facebook's huge resources, at the end of the day the technology that drives the Twitter we all know is not really out of reach for many big internet companies. Not saying a Twitter clone can't be built overnight either, because they did just that. The real thing that makes Twitter Twitter is itself, the brand, the idea of Twitter. Maybe even a little of the bird. Zuckerberg and Musk are flexing and taunting their might in building internet services but I don't think they can change that.

  Sam Huang, Chief Technology Officer, EME Hive

Blood feuds within the tech industry are nothing new, exemplified by the historic clashes between Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer. Their intense battles have left a lasting impression on those who witnessed them, etching their names in the industry’s history for years to come.

threads vs twitter

But for now, we will explore how Threads stands up against Twitter.

Let’s delve into the details:

1. The app’s functionality

2. Upcoming features to anticipate

3. Considerations for the EU region

4. Insights into the marketing strategies

5. An overview of the advertising timeline

6. Personal experiences and usage of Threads

The App’s functionality

Threads require an Instagram account

First of all, to use Threads, it is necessary to have an existing Instagram account. Additionally, you have the option to import essential information such as verification status, bio, and friends from your Instagram account to Threads during the signup process.

Threads has some features missing

Threads, Meta’s counterpart to Twitter, shares similar core functionality with its text-based focus on short-form writing and the creation of Threads through multiple entries in a single post.

While Threads also allow the sharing of images, videos, and links like Twitter, you can’t use GIFs. Notable omissions include editing capabilities, direct messaging (DMs), and search functionality with hashtags.

Lack of Trending Topics and Sorting

The feed operates on an algorithmic basis, lacking the option to view exclusively from followed individuals.

Lack of developer features

Threads also lacks third-party API or integration with Meta’s proprietary tools such as Business Suite. These aspects are likely to remain as is until the app stabilizes.

The initial version of Threads exhibits a minimalist approach. This is definitely a deliberate design choice to have an accelerated launch to capitalize on the turmoil at Twitter.

Furthermore, this Minimum Viable Product (MVP) allows Zuckerberg to test the waters, and see if Meta will be able to dominate the space in the near future. Nonetheless, this basic functionality contributed to its relative lack of bugs during the initial rollout.

Upcoming Features

As basic as the functionality of Threads may be, users have limited patience and won’t continue to tolerate for long the absence of essential features that they have gotten familiar with on Twitter. Meta’s Adam Mosseri has shed light on a few forthcoming features that will address these concerns.

1. Edit Button:

Setting Threads apart from its primary competitor, Twitter, an edit button is in the works. And you can glaringly see why this is so. Adam Mosseri meant to tag @threadsapp but tagged another account @threads instead. That edit button can’t come soon enough.

Editing Tweets on Twitter requires a monthly subscription fee, Threads has the potential to offer this functionality without any additional cost, further distinguishing itself from the crowd.

2. Following Feed:

Currently, Threads lacks the option to view a feed exclusively featuring the accounts you follow. Instead, it relies on an algorithm-driven mix of content from followed accounts and other sources.

This is done to give the impression that Threads has a huge number of engagements, the absence of a curated Following Feed is unlikely to remain acceptable for an extended period. Rest assured, a Following Feed is on the horizon.

3. Post Search:

Among the most crucial features for engagement and growth is post-search. Real-time relevance relies heavily on the ability to search for specific topics of discussion. While Meta hasn’t explicitly addressed the inclusion of hashtags, the significance of hashtags is closely intertwined with post search.

It remains uncertain whether hashtags will be incorporated alongside the availability of post search, but it’s a development that likely won’t be far behind.

What About the EU?

Meta’s launch of Threads has been expansive, covering worldwide, with one notable exception: the European Union (EU). The absence of Threads in the EU is attributed to the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The delay can be attributed to two recent rulings within the EU.

Ruling 1: On July 4, the European Court of Justice determined that Facebook cannot utilize “legitimate interest” as a justification for processing user data for advertising purposes. This ruling effectively invalidated Meta’s targeted ad model.

Ruling 2: In May, privacy regulators enforced a crackdown on Meta and prevented the transfer of Facebook user data from the EU to the US. As a consequence of this ruling, Meta faced a fine of €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion).

This particular ruling may have severe implications and potentially pose a significant threat to Facebook’s operations within the EU.

Undoubtedly, addressing this issue holds great importance for Meta if world domination is on the horizon. Negotiations with legislators to overcome this hurdle are necessary, although the exact timeline for resolution remains uncertain.

Until Threads becomes easily accessible to all, its growth potential will be impeded. Not only will users in specific countries be unable to join the platform, but existing users may also face difficulties connecting with those individuals on Threads.

Nonetheless, it is worth acknowledging the impressive initial growth of Threads, despite the absence of these European countries. But will this continue while Twitter fights back?

How To Use Threads For Marketing Your Business?

How should marketers take advantage of Threads? Your initial approach might be best served by having no strategy at all.

As an early adopter of Threads, seize the opportunity to leverage its novelty and ride the wave. New apps often offer greater potential for growth and engagement compared to established platforms. You use the Pareto principle by allocating 80% of what works and 20% of Threads.

A lot of testing is definitely needed. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that Threads fosters a highly conversational environment. Embrace this conversational nature as you navigate the app and interact with its users. Adapt, engage, and establish your presence authentically within this unique platform.

I would focus on the following:

  1. Embrace curiosity and capture trends.
  2. Ask questions
  3. Share captivating stories
  4. Display your creativity
  5. Forge meaningful connections with others.

While selling is not discouraged, you will likely not have established a loyal following to sell to.

There will come a time when selling becomes appropriate. However, it is advisable to delay such efforts for as long as possible. Prioritize building rapport, establishing your presence, and nurturing authentic relationships before inserting any sales-oriented activities.

Threads the Next Advertising Outlet for Businesses?

Advertisers are undoubtedly excited about the potential inclusion of Threads as a Meta ads placement. A placement represents specific locations where your ads are showcased, such as Facebook’s mobile Feed or Audience Network.

With Threads in the mix, a substantial increase in ad inventory becomes a reality. This abundance of inventory meant reduced advertising costs, making it more feasible to run profitable ad campaigns.

Furthermore, the introduction of a new app grants Meta access to additional data points, enriching their understanding of user behavior. By leveraging insights from multiple popular apps, Meta can enhance ad optimization and deliver even more effective results.

However, it appears that we may need to exercise patience in anticipation of a monetization strategy. According to early responses from Meta, a monetization plan isn’t expected anytime soon, potentially not even within this year.

Mark Zuckerberg has hinted that monetization might only come into play once the app reaches a remarkable milestone of 1 Billion users.

Threads vs Twitter (Now Called X), The Story So Far

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