When this month started, I was focused on becoming proficient with Google Analytics 4. But just as I was starting to get a grasp of GA4, another new platform dropped that didn’t give us nearly the warning that we received for the latest version of Google Analytics.
To be fair, most of us in the digital marketing world knew Threads was about to hit, we just weren’t given the nearly three-year notice that Google provided users about its transition from a hit-based web analytics tool to an event-based one. Instead, Meta announced on the Fourth of July that Threads, an extension of Instagram but a standalone app, would launch on Thursday, July 6. Then, in a true power play of “under promise and over deliver” mixed with “catch all social media managers off guard” the app launched a day early.
And here we are two days later. The social world is still in a frenzy over the release of Threads, an app that resembles Twitter in a purer, yet clunkier, form. I have read reviews that run the gamut but I have noticed an overall sentiment that leans more positive of Meta’s big release. To be honest, I categorize most of these reactions as nothing more than hot takes. With it being less than 48 hours after the launch, I don’t take much stock in these initial opinions.
With that said, whatever the final verdict on Threads will be, most of us who work in social media knew Meta would release a capable and competitive product. Over the past 10 years, anything released under the Instagram umbrella to counter other social media platforms has thrived. As I have chronicled over the years, Instagram doomed Vine with the introduction of video, challenged Snapchat with its own ephemeral content (Stories), and put TikTok on its heels with Reels. Now it is going after Twitter. Needless to say, Instagram is a powerhouse social media channel that is ever-evolving and cutthroat.
So what will happen to Twitter? Well, if recent history tells us anything, I still think the app is here to stay. If Elon couldn’t destroy Twitter over the past nine months with his erratic management, I don’t think Instagram’s major move will either. With the exception of Vine, both Snapchat and TikTok survived challenges from IG. Although they didn’t come out unscathed, it wasn’t the kiss of death and I feel the same will hold true for Twitter. The bird app is simply too established to fall victim to the Instagram sword.
Meta slaying Twitter isn’t the only Threads-related narrative I reject. Although very slick in its rollout, I don’t believe the seamless Threads sign up process for Instagram users is a guaranteed slam dunk for success. Just because you download an app doesn’t mean you will consistently use it. I have a whole page of apps on my iPhone that I have only used once. Sure, the millions of initial downloads are impressive but will people continue to open the app? If not, those mind blowing numbers are as meaningless as a social media account with a seven-figure following but little-to-no engagement.
But let’s get away from speculation and address utilization. How do we plan to use Threads at WSU? Our social team will take an approach where we learn first and strategize second. We joined Threads and published some introductory posts but now is the time to observe and learn. Before jumping in headfirst, we want to figure out how we can measure success, give Meta an opportunity to work out some bugs, and establish a content strategy.
Some social media experts suggest throwing spaghetti at the wall with your brand accounts during these early days of Threads. However, isn’t that what our personal Threads accounts are for? Over the past couple days I have posted a mix of content on my own Threads account (@BrentReser) from top performing blog posts, favorite TikTok videos, and family photos. Instead of making our WSU accounts the guinea pig, I will gladly reserve that designation for my own account.
I feel Threads is an app with lots of potential. Given the track record that Instagram has with new rollouts, it is easy to believe that the sky is the limit for Adam Mosseri’s answer to Twitter. However, I don’t think it will be a cake walk. I am curious to see if the millions of people who are now “Threaders” will actually thread 😊 Let’s stay tuned. Don’t Blink.