13 September 2023
Unravelling Threads: an investigation
This summer Threads was the word on everyone's lips, with the eagerly awaited Meta app set to be the biggest threat to Twitter (sorry ‘𝕏’). But was it worth the wait?
In this blog, we unravel the Threads (get it?), and reveal whether we think it's worth it for our clients.
First things first, what is Threads?
Threads is a Meta-developed app connected to Instagram. The app allows you to post text, videos, images, links, and also incorporates many similar features to Twitter such as, likes, replies, reposts, and quotes. The app also allows you to claim your Instagram username and anyone who follows you on Instagram and is also on Threads automatically becomes a follower.
How we found using it
Here at Brew.web HQ we’ve been testing Threads (see our feed here) since its release and are ready to share what we’ve found so far…
First things first, it looks great! We loved how the feed looks and we found the user interface very intuitive and super easy to use. Brithney, our Junior Account Executive said:
“The process of posting is almost seamless instead of clicking buttons - you just keep writing and it’ll work out the rest. It has a great look and it’s easy to navigate to other sections of the app such as your profile, your likes and starting up a thread”
We also liked that you can transfer all of your followers across from Instagram, so you’re not starting from scratch!
Our main problems came when we looked at its functionality. There’s no scheduling feature and it’s only accessible via mobile, so if you’re like us and plan content on desktop, it can be a bit of a faff to move it to mobile just to post. It also doesn’t tell you how close you are to running out of characters, so it’s a bit of a guessing game - BUT they do offer a lot more characters than Twitter (500 to be precise).
If you are posting a lot though, Threads certainly lives up to its name and automatically opens as a thread rather than having to click on an additional button to make multiple posts, so we appreciated that too!
So now you’ve heard about our experience, let's dive in a bit deeper and see how SMEs have found it.
Let’s explore the pros first:
- Overall reports are it is a much more optimistic space – one of Meta’s main goals when releasing the app. The majority of comments on posts, particularly by news outlets etc., as well as the overall content, seem to be far more positive. A quieter (see cons) online space, it seems the trolls and bots haven’t yet taken over and users are more able to scroll through content that they want – great if you want to stand out without having to compete with the clutter of other social media apps.
- We love that you can transfer your Instagram followers! Setting up a new social media app can be a hassle and anything that helps is a bonus. Transferring followers gives you a ready-to-go audience so you don’t have to start from scratch.
- If you want to customise the content you see, Threads provides the option of ‘for you’ and ‘following’ feeds (even if it’s a copy from 𝕏). A little note, this last feature is hidden, but you can reveal it by tapping the home button at the bottom of the app or the Threads logo at the top.
- The Threads app currently doesn’t have any ads or monetisation features, although this is likely to change soon. So, for now, enjoy uninterrupted scrolling!
- You can also upload 5 minutes of video content to Threads unlike 2 minutes 20 seconds on 𝕏. This can be a great way to share that extra information on why your business is so great!
- We’ve already said how Threads and Instagram being linked can give you a ready-to-go audience. However, did you know the messaging side of the two apps is also linked too? We love this idea for keeping all your messages in one place. One less messaging service to check is a great time-saver and helps make keeping track of client engagement a lot easier.
- It's not all great news though. As with any new app, Threads is still finding its feet and is missing many of the great features we’ve come to expect from others.
Let’s look at the cons:
- As we discovered in our own trial of the app, Threads so far does not have a scheduling function. This is key if you, like us, prefer being organised and scheduling your content in advance. We are hoping this is something they roll out soon, as it’s part of Meta maybe it will be integrated into their Business Suite?
- Another missing feature is you are unable to save drafts. This means copying or writing content in the app when you want to post it.
- The third point, linked with the above, is that Threads is currently only available on mobile apps, it can’t be accessed via desktop. We found this added to the hassle of posting.
- Besides scheduling and planning, we found Threads also has some issues with its discoverability and searchability. Right now, the search function in Threads only lets you find user accounts and there are also no hashtags. Also, unlike 𝕏, you can’t search for posts by text either. This can be a major setback in achieving a higher reach, and based on the number of complaints about it, we imagine it is something Meta is likely to be reviewing soon.
- Unlike other platforms, Threads so far offers no insights, so you can’t track performance. Whilst this may be positive for personal use, it’s not so great for businesses trying to quantify their social media reach.
- Lastly, despite its initial meteoric success, Threads’ daily active user count is down 82% from its launch as of July 31, according to Sensor Tower, with just eight million users accessing the app each day. According to one survey, users spend just 2.9 minutes a day on the app. Something to consider when questioning if the move to Threads is right for your business.
Overall, it hasn’t been a positive start for Threads with some key basic functions missing such as hashtags and better searchability. While the manual, mobile-app-focused process of posting is likely a key factor in the lower ‘spam’ content compared with other platforms, it also hinders businesses preferring to schedule, or at least draft content in advance.
However, it’s still early days for Threads, and it has been reported there are several new features on the way so things could improve.
For brew.web clients, we’d recommend holding off on Threads for now. We understand your time is limited when it comes to marketing, so you want to put time and effort into platforms that have higher chances of engagement and conversions for your business.
This is also an important reminder that just because a social media platform exists, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join it. We would always recommend conducting in-depth customer research so you can discover which social media platforms (if any!) your customers are on and how’s best to interact with them. Remember, quality over quantity any day!