Threads has stormed to 150 million downloads faster than any other app – beating the previous fastest, Pokémon GO, by 27 days.
It only took six days for Meta’s Twitter rival to reach that milestone and break Pokémon GO’s record – which it held since 2016.
It also has nearly 100 million weekly active users, which is around a fifth of Twitter, and a hundred times more than Twitter’s largest rival in the United States – Truth Social. Mastodon, which has grown in the face of Twitter’s ongoing melodrama with its boss Elon Musk, measures in at 1.4 million active users. The invite-only BlueSky has now topped 50,000 users but appears to have 375,000 worldwide installs as of April 2023.
However, these are all dwarfed by the Meta-driven Threads, which appears to go from strength to strength.
The platform is wildly popular in India, which makes up 32% of its downloads – according to data.ai, while Brazil (22%), the United States (16%) and Mexico (8%) lead the best of the rest.
EU privacy problems
It is not yet available in the EU, due to a vast array of privacy challenges that face it. Tech Crunch has reported that the app may collect sensitive information about users, include health and financial data, that doesn’t chime with how the EU want to deal with user privacy.
Under EU law, Meta would need to ask and obtain specific permission from Threads users to access sensitive information – while new EU law also bans the use of sensitive data for ads entirely. That doesn’t look like good news for Meta’s data-for-ads approach to business.
Meta currently doesn’t offer users a chance to deny its tracking and profiling, and so it doesn’t look like Threads will be available in the EU any time soon. The legal boundaries appear too high to make it work – at least in the short term.
The UK is a different kettle of fish, however. Since Brexit, the UK has relaxed privacy law in way that has digital advertising barons licking their chops. As a result, Threads is due to launch there shortly.
Threads marketing opportunities
As with any new platform that’s making waves, there are opportunities for marketers. However, things are a little saturated with brands at the moment, so smart marketers who can communicate in a different tone of voice will stand out
Threads is largely aimed at millennials and Gen Z, so marketers who can align messages and create bonds with those audiences will do well. On a similar level, there is an opportunity to engage with influencers who have brought their following from Instagram to Threads and capitalise on the credibility they have already built.
And in general, it’s a good idea to engage with users wherever possible. Reply to comments, start conversations and develop a presence to build trust and credibility.
Threads might not be offering ads now, but that doesn’t mean marketers can’t launch plans for sponsored content and influencer marketing and that’s where opportunities exist.
Threads ads and branded content
Instagram head honcho Adam Mosseri has already said that Threads will probably be monetised via ads – which could be good news for advertisers keen to use Instagram’s existing user behaviour data and ad network to create powerful messages.
“If we are successful, if we make something that lots of people love and keep using, we will, I’m sure, monetize it. And I would be confident that the business model will be ads.”
So, ads could be coming soon. But what about Branded Content? Well, Axios has reported that branded content tools are coming soon, the terms of conditions of which will be borrowed from Instagram.
“Instagram is working to quickly make them available, which would give marketers an opportunity to begin experimenting with paid promotion, while advertising is still unavailable.”
Threads product development
Threads is very much a product under development, and a range of features are still being worked on.
One of them is a following feed populated with posts from profiles you’ve chosen to follow. Right now, the only option is to wade through a mass of algorithmically-chosen posts.
An edit button is also coming, which will align Threads with Meta’s other giant platforms Facebook and Instagram.
Post search is also being worked on, as right now, there is no option to search for posts on Threads. That will help users find conversations relevant to them, and will help brands with discovery.
Other nice-to-have features such as a desktop app are yet to be confirmed – while EU access may take some time yet.
Is Threads a flash in the pan?
While the headline figures from Threads initial success remain compelling, Gizmodo has reported that engagement in the form of time spent on the app has dropped from 20 minutes to eight minutes.
Meta has responded to those figures by saying its now focused on ensuring the site is easy to use, and has all the functionality a person would expect.