Threads - everything a startup needs to know

We've all heard the headlines that Zuckerberg's new social media channel spells the end of Twitter. That the further monopolisation of Meta will provide even greater opportunities for micro-personalisation. That it also brings a new host of data privacy concerns with it too.

But what does the Threads launch really mean for the future of marketing? and how can the startups prepare now? Here, Paul Houston, Co-Owner and Director at Catalyst digital marketing agency tells you everything you need to know.

A week since Meta’s Threads app launch and it would seem that it’s still ‘the’ topic of conversation. In fact, Zuckerburg announced just 24 hours later that the new social media platform had already clocked over 30 million users. Almost a week later and Threads’ count now stands well over 100 million users, making it the fastest growing app ever. But what does this new social platform really bring to the table? And what does it mean for marketing?

From a content perspective, the introduction of Threads is very exciting. Essentially, much like Twitter it’s a micro-blogging platform with features such as likes, retweets and following. But it can do more. While Twitter has a 240-character limit per post for free users, Threads takes it to 500. It also allows users to share up to 10 photos in a single post – as per Instagram – as opposed to Twitter’s limit of four images, and the video limit is 5 minutes rather than Twitter’s restrictive 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

But it isn’t just about being able to do more either. As Twitter has become more difficult to use since Musk took it over, Threads appears refreshingly new, intuitive and easy to use. Of course, it also has the big benefit of being part of the Meta family. Hereby, users simply need to sign in to their Instagram to join it and they are able to follow all the accounts they already follow on Instagram on Threads automatically as they join.

Seamless Communication

The result is a hive of new possibilities for the modern marketer. Inherently, Twitter has always been a great platform in the SEO world in terms of promoting brands, products and services, sharing content and boosting search rankings. Threads has the potential to play a similar role but without the recent usage limits.

Another huge benefit is its ability to make paid social campaigns easier. Though it is yet to introduce ads, the reality is that once this happens, in effect, it will offer a ‘one stop shop’ for paid social. This will not only make it possible for marketers to tailor their content for new Threads users based on historical Facebook or Instagram data, but strengthen overall reach and impact through consolidation of delivery across the entire Meta network.

Thread Lightly

That said though, Threads is still not the finished article and, as with most technological leaps, still surrounds a certain level of scrutiny.

One big concern, for example, is the impact on privacy policies and practices. According to the experts, Threads ability to generate an astonishing range of data – including highly sensitive and personal information – on users raises all sorts of ethical questions. More so, this isn’t made overly clear to users when signing up. In fact, it is not allowed in Europe due to these privacy concerns. Thus, amid growing onus on transparency and accountability it’s important that brands do not step over the line and are seen to ‘do the right thing.’

Also, even in spite of Threads’ huge user count, the reality is that social media fatigue is still happening as some users become overwhelmed with the current rate of social media activity. In this way, it shouldn’t be seen yet another avenue for content churn but another asset to be considered within a wider, strategic digital marketing framework.

An Unravelling Opportunity

Ultimately, we are still at the very start of the Threads conversation. A little more than week in, and it’s too early to say if Meta’s so-called ‘Twitter Killer’ really is the next big thing. Also, while it certainly offers big opportunities for brands in term the ability to curate more content, drive reach and increase exposure, it also carries a certain level of risk, particularly in terms of user privacy. Thus, while certainly an exciting new chapter, as this significant opportunity continues to unravel the recommendation is for startups to ‘Thread’ safely.