Instagram Threads: All You Need To Know About Meta’s Latest Launch
On the 5th of July,2023, the internet went crazy. This frenzy wasn’t sparked by a viral TikTok trend or a wild online challenge. It was all because of a brand-new app that recently emerged from obscurity and now dominates conversations everywhere. Drum rolls please – Instagram Threads is here!!!
While the world is debating between short-form and long-form videos, Instagram chose to get back to the basics, with Threads. Some call it a “Twitter-killer”. And others are just glad that it is a refreshing new platform that brings back the power of “text” in social media. Whatever your take on the Threads app is, here’s everything you need to know about it so far.
- So, what is the Threads app and how do you get on board?
- Things you can and cannot do on Threads as of now
- Some backstory behind Threads
- Meta’s marketing genius
- The road ahead
- Twitter’s retaliation
- Are you on Threads yet?!
So, what is the Threads app and how do you get on board?
Instagram Threads app is the new text-based social media app launched by Meta on Jul 5, 2023. Originally scheduled to go live on Jul 6th at 10 AM, the app was launched a few hours in advance. And yet, it managed to witness more than 2 million sign-ups within its first 2 hours. And within the first day, there were more than 95 million posts on the platform.
If you haven’t already started using Threads, how do you get started?
- All you have to do is to download the Threads app from the app stores for both Android and iOS (there’s no web interface at the moment).
- You can then log in using your Instagram profile.
- The app prompts you to import your followers from Instagram.
- All your details are extracted automatically from your Instagram profile too.
It feels just like having a separate text-based communication interface to connect with your existing Instagram followers. Isn’t that cool?
Once you are on board, there are a few things you can and some things you cannot do on the platform.
Things you can and cannot do on Threads as of now
Here are some quick details you need to know to get started with Instagram Threads:
- Right now the app has been launched in more than 100 countries.
- To create a Public account, users need to be 16 years of age or older (18 years in some countries). Users below this age group can only create a Private account on Threads.
- The biggest highlight of Instagram Threads is its prioritization of text posts. The platform currently supports up to 500 characters in one text post.
- You can also add links, photos, and videos (no longer than 5 minutes)
- If you have a verified badge on Instagram, it’s automatically reflected on your Threads profile as well.
As far as post engagement goes, the metrics currently supported are very similar to those on Twitter. And you will see familiar symbols on the interface. So, figuring out the app is easy and you will start using it like a pro in minutes.
As far as sharing the posts go, you can reshare content you like (both Repost and Quote are available). Or you can share the Threads post to your Instagram Story, Instagram Feed, Tweet it, or even share it via other apps.
With respect to the Feed, the app feeds you content from accounts you follow as well as those you don’t. It’s an endless vertical scroll.
A few features missing on Threads right now but pipelined to be introduced very soon include:
- Better Search options (currently you can only search for users and not content)
- Filtering Feed based on accounts you follow (right now there is no option to filter content from accounts you follow or interact with)
Instagram Head, Adam Mosseri confirmed in his post that all of these features and more are coming to the app soon.
Some backstory behind Threads
The internet is flooded with memes and people are sharing their Threads page links on Instagram and Twitter. Instagram Threads is nothing short of a social media sensation now. But nothing much was known about the app until a few weeks ago.
In fact, talks about a possible text-based app from Meta came in March. However, Meta surprisingly did not share a lot of information about the platform these past few months. Considering that time and again we see highlights about upcoming app features and small changes to Facebook and Instagram way ahead of the release, the way Meta has been staying silent about Threads ahead of its launch is quite surprising.
Or is it really perhaps Meta’s genius marketing strategy? Here’s a little peek into how the story of Instagram Threads unfolded:
By March several sources started talking about Meta working on a possible Twitter rival. People started speculating what the app would be like and how it would be an answer to the volatile Twitter realm.
Talks about an MVP (minimum viable product) called P92 (or Project 92 internally) happened in March. Moneycontrol broke the news on March 10 and then an official statement was also released by Meta.
According to Reuters, Meta issued the following in an email statement:
“We’re exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates. We believe there’s an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests”
Considering that this was hardly 3 months ago, and seeing what a smooth-sailing experience Threads offers, we should say that the team has done a great job with the app.
Hardly 3 months post the first talks about the Twitter contender, people also started snapshots of what the app would look like. The below image was shared on the internet as a snapshot that was previewed to Meta employees in June. By then it was also rumored that the public name of Project 92 was going to be Threads.
At this time, the app was described as a “sanely run” version of social media. This was a dig at the unpredictabilities and drastic changes that came into Twitter ever since Elon Musk took over. Let’s now dig a little deeper into the explosively growing popularity of Instagram Threads.
Meta’s marketing genius
A lot has happened in the world of social media but why is Threads so special? We can safely say that no other app has recently created the amount of excitement that Threads has created. The numbers say it all. Mark Zuckerberg, on his Threads page announced that the app passed 2 million sign-ups just 2 hours after its launch.
This number shot up 5-fold in just another 5 hours. That’s roughly 2.5% of the total user count that Twitter was able to amass in 17 years! That’s quite a promising welcome for the Twitter rival, don’t you agree?
So, how did Meta manage to pull this off? Let’s find out.
Talk about great timing!
Responding to customer sentiments is the best kind of marketing strategy. And that’s true no matter the size of your business and what industry you belong to. Meta knows this perfectly well. In fact, that’s one of the reasons behind Threads becoming a viral hit overnight.
Response to customer sentiments includes a positive change based on their sentiments toward your brand as well as a positive change as a response to their negative sentiments to a competitor. Both these can act in favor of the brand. It’s the latter that worked in this case. If you’ve been keeping up with the declining sentiments expressed by Twitter users, you’ll grasp our point.
The below image shows the results of a survey conducted by Statista to understand whether users are ready to walk away from Twitter.
As you can see, for a majority of Twitter users, their Twitter usage has declined over the past few months. Meta has made a brilliant move to address this gap. This perfect timing has been one of the reasons behind the instant success of Threads.
Another catalyst in the quick release of the app has been the recent introduction of Tweet reading limits on Twitter.
The easiest way to win your customers’ hearts is to simplify things for them. They are overwhelmed with everything happening on social media, so when you offer them something fuss-free and easy to handle, they are going to thank you. That’s what Meta did. Both in terms of the simplicity of the idea and the simplicity of the user onboarding process Instagram Threads has won hearts.
Collaborating with celebrities
Influencer marketing has been steadily in the game these past few years. Tech companies, consumer brands, and businesses in various industries have been leveraging influencer collaborations and celebrity endorsements to gain popularity. Additionally, these collaborations also help them build trust and boost brand engagement. Naturally, Meta, on whose platforms these collaborations frequently happen knows well about the significance of collaborating with influencers.
As one of the measures in building popularity for Instagram Threads, Meta worked with popular names in the social media landscape namely Mark Cuban, Shakira, Seth Curry, MKBHD, Lauren Godwin, Alan Chikin Chow, and Michael Le. They all gained early access to Threads and so did social media favorite brands like Netflix, HGTV, and others.
Threads app branding designs
Among the many fascinating things about Instagram Threads, its logo is one. While Meta has not officially spoken much about the reason behind the chosen logo or the thought process that went into the logo design, we can see that the logo looks a lot like the character ‘@’ used for mentions. Considering that this is an app designed for conversations, the symbol feels relevant.
Some also point out how the logo looks like a combination of the ‘@’ character and the Instagram logo itself.
Others have compared the logo to specific characters in different languages and some funny meme interpretations have been floating as well.
Until we get solid answers from Meta regarding the story behind the chosen logo, there are a few things evident from the current branding designs:
- The logo is in black and white – a striking contrast to the vibrant colors of the Instagram logo. This is perhaps a measure to differentiate the app from the platform while retaining some levels of connection through the similarity in the symbols. This way even if the app branches out to a world of its own and gets disconnected from Instagram, the logo design will still work.
- From the beginning, Meta has been using its signature graphics to represent the Threads app – the swirl of text appearing on the screen. Staying consistent with this, the app slaps on the same graphics when you try to share your Threads post to Instagram Story. This works really well for branding of Threads and for instant recognizability of the Threads content shared on Instagram.
Creating a user-focused experience
Most social media platforms start as a social network – a place for social connections. But eventually, they give in to accommodate brands and their requirements. Naturally, monetization and advertising come into the picture.
In fact, advertising is one of the key areas where Twitter has been falling short recently. Elon Musk’s announcement that creators would be paid for allowing ads in their Tweets has changed the experience on Twitter. Another notable aspect is that for seeing fewer ads you now have to be a Twitter Blue subscriber. Because of all these changes, Twitter sometimes does not feel like Twitter anymore.
Why are we talking about this now? Because Threads currently feels like Twitter without the annoying ads. But yes, monetization will eventually be introduced but Meta has not disclosed any solid plans about it. Mark Zuckerberg responded to a query about ads on Threads saying that the focus currently is on “making the product work well”. And he also hinted that monetization talks might come once the platform hits 1 billion users. As it appears, Meta now has a clear focus on making the Threads app a “friendly” place, one that focuses on the experience. This is another differentiator that is in favor of the brand in front of social media users who are currently overwhelmed with ads everywhere.
The road ahead
What lies ahead for Instagram Threads has a lot to do with how Meta plans to do things differently. Competition is tough in business but when a product or a brand is launched as an open contender to tackle the existing gaps in a big name, things are tougher. The same applies to the Threads app because it was launched as a response to the negative response that Twitter has been receiving. Therefore, there’s going to be this constant comparison between Twitter and Threads.
Meta plans to tackle this by working on the foundation, the values, and the approach for the app. Responding to entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s thread on Threads, Mark Zuckerberg highlighted that the goal is to keep the platform friendly. He also pointed out how this happens to be missing on Twitter at the moment.
Another aspect that Meta has been highlighting is how Threads is all about conversations. Given the close connection between Instagram and Threads and the fact that Broadcast Channels were introduced on Instagram for a somewhat similar reason, some content creators are also not sure of the place where Threads stands. Addressing this confusion, Zuckerberg responded that he plans to use the Broadcast Channel for quick product updates and Threads to share thoughts and to have discussions with his audience.
This is a neat way to organize content and communication with the additional channel to connect with your audience now.
Elon Musk has not directly Tweeted about Threads so far. But he has been replying to Tweets mocking Threads.
😂— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2023
Twitter’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, posted the below Tweet as a response to the increasing comparison between Twitter and Threads and to those remarks that Threads has the potential to replace Twitter.
On Twitter, everyone's voice matters.— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayacc) July 6, 2023
Whether you’re here to watch history unfold, discover REAL-TIME information all over the world, share your opinions, or learn about others — on Twitter YOU can be real.
YOU built the Twitter community. 🙏👏 And that's irreplaceable. This…
Amidst all this, there are reports that Twitter is suing Meta over “systematic, willful and unlawful misappropriation” of Twitter’s trade secrets and IP”. Elon Musk’s comment on the below Tweet has led to strong speculations on the same.
Competition is fine, cheating is not— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2023
So, yes, there’s a lot happening with Instagram Threads and against it as well. It’s too soon to guess which way this app is likely to head.
Are you on Threads yet?!
What’s our take on Instagram Threads? So far, so good! With its nostalgia-inducing text-based structure and the no-nonsense interface, Threads looks pretty great.
And the most important point is that it’s not about chasing likes, shares, and comments at the moment. You still see good engagement and good variety in terms of content presented to you. This makes Threads a good alternative for those feeling fatigued by the other social media platforms putting pressure on videos and engagement.
In other words, on Threads, there’s currently no craving for “going viral”. This relaxed approach is perhaps working in favor of the app as we see its user base increasing unstoppably. But is the craze over Threads going to fade off soon? Or will this app become a trendsetter in the social media segment? We’ll have to wait and watch!