Threads: A Hard Needle to Thread or a Garment Dressed for Success?

Thought Leadership

By Nicole Phua & Shina Tan

Touted as a “Twitter Killer” by New York Times and Forbes, Threads – Twitter’s lookalike –  is the fastest growing app with a record-breaking surge of over 100M users in just 5 days. One month in, the app faced a roadblock when it was confronted with 50% of the users dropping off and a plunge in 75% of average time spent. With the dwindling user base, Meta is looking to implement “retention-driving hooks” on Threads, including allowing users on Instagram to view important Threads.

Now that the initial excitement has settled and the realities of Threads are beginning to surface, it’s crucial to understand how users genuinely feel about the platform. 

The Promise of Threads v. Reality

Capitalizing on Instagram’s strengths, Threads promised a positive and creative space for text-based expression, which resonated with Internet users who applauded its potential for intimate discussions.

As a socially-led creative agency, we tapped into the collective wisdom of our global teams to gather their insights and thoughts on this sizzling new platform. Interestingly, some of our internal employees echoed the sentiments of these Internet users, describing the platform as “intimate and enjoyable like a hangout,” “spontaneous, unfiltered, and unhinged,” and a “natural platform with boundless opportunities for self-expression.”

Threads’ vision aimed to foster intimate dialogue and community unity, but it fell short with striking similarities to Twitter and needing more essential features. These frustrations, shared by Internet users and media outlets like CNBC and Mashable, paralleled the sentiments of some of our global employees too. Their disappointment stemmed from the “inability to tailor their home/feed,” “the absence of a topic search feature,” and ”the presence of recommended posts from individuals they do not follow,” resulting in a less-than-ideal user experience.

Amidst mixed reviews, Threads remains a fresh platform with ongoing improvements in the pipeline. However, the real determinant of Threads’ future lies in how users continue to embrace the platform.

Unraveling User Behavior on Threads

Threads’ intimate atmosphere ignites a candid willingness among users to share deeply personal anecdotes. Some treat it as a digital diary, providing daily updates, while others fearlessly reveal intimate moments, such as therapy experiences and life stages

This emerging user behavior highlights the growing desire for authentic connections in digital spaces—a vital trait for brands to understand in forging stronger resonances with their consumers.

The Threads Takeover: Brands and Marketers Embracing the New Frontier

Threads present an uncharted territory brimming with potential audiences for brands and marketers. As they step into this fresh landscape, we’ve observed three distinct categories of brand behavior: (1) those who cautiously engage with minimal postings, (2) daring trailblazers who fearlessly experiment, and (3) those who repurpose content onto the platform, each vying to seize its untapped potential, gain ground, and claim exposure in this novel domain.

(1) Brands’ Minimalistic Approach

While some brands quickly planted their flags on the new platform, their enthusiasm waned over time, leading to a plateau in online activity. Pringles and HBO Asia, for instance, maintained sporadic frequency. Nonetheless, the minimal postings showcased their witty personalities.  

Screenshots from @pringles and @hboasia from Threads

On the other hand, brands like American Express and FIFA created official accounts but remained inactive with zero postings.

(2) Brands’ Adventurous Ventures

Like artists on a blank canvas, Glossier, Netflix, and Wendy’s skillfully crafted their Threads profiles into soundboards of relatable humor. Embracing a playful brand voice, they harness Threads’ unique conversational nature to engage in cross-brand chatter, lifting each other to new heights.

Screenshots from @glossier, @netflix and @wendys from Threads

(3) Brands’ Content Recycling

Other brands like Adidas and Burger King opted for a cookie-cutter approach, cross-posting similar content on Threads and Twitter, much like Internet users. 

Screenshots from @adidas and @BurgerKing (Twitter v. Threads)

In the fast-paced world of social media, different brands adopt various strategies, often racing to be the first to seize new platforms like Threads. However, beyond the urgency of getting there quickly, sustaining success and fostering consistency requires a well-thought-out plan.

Will Threads be a fitting glove or a dazzling ornament for brands?

As a social agency, we observe brands’ varying perspectives on social media platforms. Are they duplicates of one another, or do they recognize each platform’s unique roles?  

We’ve witnessed some brands shine on Threads throughout different industries and starting points, amassing followers and attention. In contrast, others simply embraced it as a supplementary tool in their channel strategy kit.

However, as the new kid on the block, Threads faces limitations in features and updates. Yet, we firmly believe in its potential for growth and evolution as it continues to iterate and introduce new features, such as the “Following” feed.

One thing remains certain amidst this fragmented social media landscape—brands must return to their drawing boards, and craft tailored strategies and content that resonates with diverse communities in these budding platforms. Threads present both an opportunity and a challenge—a canvas for creativity and engagement that brands must wield wisely to truly flourish in this dynamic digital era.