Threads: The New Social Media Platform to watch
In the ever-evolving world of social media, a new contender has emerged, promising to revolutionize the way we connect, share, and engage. Enter Threads, a freshly minted application from Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook. Threads, focused on enabling text-based updates and public conversations, has already amassed over 100 million users within just 3 days of its launch.
What is Threads?
Threads is a standalone platform dedicated to facilitating real-time updates and public discourse. It is designed to create a positive, creative platform for idea expression and engagement. Leveraging your Instagram account, you can log in and instantly access this new platform, even carrying over your Instagram username and verification, while simultaneously customising your profile specifically for Threads.
The content in Threads can be versatile, including posts of up to 500 characters, links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length, and offering easy sharing across multiple platforms, including Instagram. Threads makes accessibility a top priority, carrying over features like screen reader support and AI-generated image descriptions from Instagram.
Threads in Europe
Despite its rapid global adoption, Threads is currently absent in the European Union due to complexities with impending laws. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri cited these legal complexities in an interview with The Verge. While he did not specify the laws, his comments appear to reference the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The DMA is a set of competition rules for the largest digital gatekeepers, including many U.S. tech giants such as Meta, the parent company of Threads. Under these rules, digital gatekeepers must not prefer their own services on their platforms and must ensure their instant messaging services are functional with those of competitors.
Meta’s decision to hold off on launching Threads in the EU is a direct example of how the complexities of new regulation can affect product launches. Many tech companies have pushed back on the DMA, saying it unfairly targets U.S. firms and could stymie innovation. However, policymakers in Europe believe new rules of the road are necessary to allow smaller and newer players to flourish in the digital marketplace.
In the words of Mosseri, “We don’t want to launch anything that isn’t forward-compatible with what we know and what we think is coming. It’s just going to take longer to make sure not only that it’s compliant but that any claims we make about how we’ve implemented compliance stand up to our very high set of documentation and testing centers internally.”
So, while Threads is not currently available in the EU, Meta is actively working to ensure compliance with these upcoming regulations before launching in the region.
While Threads currently has no formal ads program, it has already seen its first ad appear on the platform, courtesy of a Hulu partnership with creator Adam Rose. Over the weekend, Rose posted a Thread promoting “Futurama,” labeling it as a “Hulu Partner” message, which is being called the first sponsored Thread.
Hulu launched its first “branded creator Thread” after recognizing the app’s rapid growth as a moment to capture the “cultural zeitgeist.” Hulu plans to continue experimenting with Threads, indicating that brands are already seeing the potential of this new platform.
Brands have been quick to activate their own accounts, but it could take time for the paid advertising to take shape. Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and Threads, is reportedly working to integrate paid promotions, which are already available on the rest of Meta’s apps. Paid activity can come in the form of plain ads from brands and brand partnerships that enrich creators.
Threads in the Marketing Mix
Threads’ focus on text-based sharing offers a unique spin, calling for fresh strategies. Celebrity endorsements from the likes of Karlie Kloss, Tony Robbins, and Gordon Ramsay have already started trickling in. It’s clear that Meta has engaged in a strategic onboarding of celebrities from diverse fields to endorse Threads ahead of its public release, which could significantly contribute to the platform’s initial surge in popularity.
For brands and marketing managers, Threads provides an avenue to join or initiate discussions relevant to their industry or values, thereby boosting their visibility and engagement. With the interoperability that ActivityPub offers, brands can plan for cross-platform marketing campaigns, reaching out to audiences beyond just Threads.
Threads plans to incorporate ActivityPub, the open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This integration would make Threads interoperable with other applications supporting the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress, facilitating unique connections currently not possible on many existing social media platforms.
Threads, with its innovative integration of Instagram’s features and a promise of openness and interoperability, stands as a game-changer. Its commitment to user safety, control, and creative expression sets it apart, aligning with Meta’s vision to help people find their community, no matter what app they use. Undeniably, Threads brings a fresh perspective to the table and signals an exciting new chapter in the social media narrative. Whether it lives up to its promise or not, only time will tell. However, with its rapid adoption and unique approach to social media, Threads is certainly a platform to watch.
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