That sure didn’t take long—it’s only been a few weeks since the launch of Threads, Meta’s variation on the time-tested Twitter model, and already there’s buzz about how advertisers are going to leverage the platform. We can’t say we blame them! Threads is a busy place on the social media scene right now, and even though there are not currently any official opportunities for advertising, savvy marketers should consider the ways they can currently use the platform and start preparing now for more developments in the near future.
Threads App Overview: How is Threads different from Twitter?
So, what exactly is Threads and how’s it different from Twitter? The short answer, actually, is that the two platforms are very similar. But still different. In some ways.
Confused? Don’t worry. Threads looks similar to Twitter when you first get on it, but you’ll very quickly notice some key differences.
Threads is developed by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, and as many have pointed out (including Business Insider), it very much feels like a response to Twitter. Since Elon Musk’s takeover of the company in fall 2022, many users have been dissatisfied with the atmosphere on Twitter and have sought an alternative.
Like Twitter, Threads allows users to create text-based posts. On Threads, you get a little bit more room for expression than Twitter’s 280-character limit—Threads posts can go up to 500 characters. You can include pics and video, or you can share links to outside websites.
But unlike Twitter, there’s less of an emphasis on trending topics. While the algorithm will show you content in line with your interests based on other content you’ve engaged with, there’s no way of looking around for what other people are talking about. There’s no Explore tab. The search bar can be used to search for accounts, but not topics or specific content. Plus, hashtags don’t link to anything—they’re just dead, un-clickable text in your post.
This setup puts the emphasis on content from your friends and people you follow, whether it is content they are sharing or content they are engaging with in the form of likes and replies. It’s more personal, and for some users, a lot more fulfilling because they feel as if they’re getting relevant content.
How to Join Threads
If you already have an Instagram account, joining Threads is pretty simple. Once you access the App Store and search for ‘Threads: An Instagram App,’ you can download the app and log in through your Instagram account. Right away, you can transfer over your profile picture, your bio, and even a lot of the people you’re already following. There’s no need to spend a lot of time trying to create something from scratch and connecting with people from point zero.
How to Use Threads
After you’ve joined, Threads is pretty straightforward to use—you share text up to 500 characters, photos, videos up to five minutes, or links to a website. You can like other people’s posts, comment, or repost—that is, you share their post so it shows up to all your followers. As Meta describes it, Threads is about “real-time updates and public conversations.”
Advertising on Threads
Can you advertise on Threads?
As of the first few weeks since the launch, businesses don’t have the option of advertising on Threads—yet. Note that yet is key here, as advertising options are sure to open up very soon for the platform. Axios explains that this will likely start in the form of branded content tools, which will let a business collaborate with a creator who can make posts about the product or service in question. This means the content will likely reach a highly engaged and targeted audience interested in the brand.
Until such time that Threads rolls out branded content tools—which will let brands and creators officially collaborate on the platform the way they do on Instagram—it’s important that any content affiliated with a brand (either through sponsorship or through a free sample of the company’s product) should be clearly disclosed in the caption. This transparency is dictated by the Federal Trade Commission, and violators could face penalties. (You can read more about Instagram’s best practices on disclosures here.)
When can you advertise on Threads?
If you advertise on other Meta platforms—Facebook or Instagram—you know that you have a much more traditional option of creating an ad graphic with a caption and cueing it up to appear in the feeds of a targeted audience. So, is this going to be something you can do on Threads at some point?
Right now, advertising on Threads is limited only to selected partners, but there’s always the possibility of broader availability in the future. Keep your expectations in check, however, as not everyone is anticipating these kinds of options—Mashable is one such source that predicts there won’t ever be any kind of traditional online advertising on Threads.
Why is Threads a good move for advertisers now?
Growing popularity and user base of Threads
Even if advertising in the traditional sense isn’t an option currently available on Threads (and may not ever be), it’s still a smart move for your brand to join and start cultivating a community on the platform. Threads is the hot new place to be—many users have joined it, and many more are likely on the way. About 30 million people joined Threads on the first day it was available, and that number had climbed to 100 million by the time the week was over. When you consider the fact that about 450 million people currently use Twitter and more than 2 billion people currently use Instagram, it’s not unreasonable to think there could be a lot more people soon taking interest in this new variation on Twitter run by Instagram.
Many Twitter users were already looking for an alternative to their favorite platform, but apps like Bluesky and Mastodon failed to gain any traction because they didn’t have a built-in base. Threads has more potential than these two options because it’s a product of Meta.
It’s safe to say Threads shows a lot of promise for eventually becoming a very big social media platform. Brands should take advantage of that and get in on the action in the early stages.
Meta continues to collect data
Enhanced targeting capabilities
Once advertisement options become available on Threads, in whatever form those options might take, they will likely be very powerful from the start. Targeting capabilities on Threads will already be able to leverage data from Meta’s ecosystem, so it will be able to reach audiences based on interests, demographics, and user behavior. In other words, you’ll be able to have your sponsored posts show up in the feeds of a lot of people who are very interested in what you do!
Emphasis on close friends and private sharing
Even before those advertising options become available, it’s still smart to be posting on Threads. That’s because this is an app emphasizing and favoring content from the people you follow and the people who follow you. People who see your posts are within your personal network, so there’s more trust and relevance. This means higher likelihood of engagement—and ultimately, a higher likelihood of conversion.
Integration with Meta’s advertising tools
If you’ve ever used the advertising tools available on the backend of Meta’s Business Suite, you know just how strong they are. This will likely integrate with Threads, meaning any ads you run will have advanced analytics and reporting features allowing you to run strong campaigns, either on Threads alone or across all three platforms.
There’s a lot about Threads that is still anybody’s guess—the platform is still in its infancy, and it could possibly change very fast. What’s happening on Threads today will be different in two weeks and then different again in a month. The important point to keep in mind is that there is so much potential, especially for anyone who gets onboard early in the process and takes advantage of the opportunity to build a community. It’s only going to grow and evolve, leading to bigger and better things.
If you’re already on Threads (or if you’re joining Threads soon!), we’d love to connect with you. Find Till Agency on the platform at @till.agency and let us know your thoughts about what’s to come.