Since Threads was launched on July 5, it has become the fastest-growing social media platform in history. In fact, Threads attracted nearly five million users within the first hour alone.
Introduced as an “alternative to Twitter,” Threads has generated significant buzz among marketers who have taken a step back from Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover last year—resulting in a 59% drop in U.S. ad spend. This has led many B2B marketers to explore new platforms for hosting their brand campaigns without compromising reach or quality.
What is Threads?
Threads is a brand-new social networking app created by Meta that offers a separate, community-like space for real-time text updates and public conversations. While the platform is continuing to evolve, it is currently only available on iOS or Android devices.
Closely integrated with Instagram, this “text-based conversation app” allows its users to follow and connect with others who share similar interests. Threads can also be used to build a loyal following where users can share their own ideas, opinions and thought leadership.
As of late July 2023, more than 100 million users have joined the popular Threads app. This includes nine of the top 10 global retailers, such as Walmart, Amazon, Target and Home Depot. Other major brands are remaining somewhat cautious, likely waiting to see how Threads develops before making any commitments to the new platform.
How Does Threads Work?
Threads is a pretty straightforward app that operates similarly to Twitter. Your feed is a blend of threads posted by people you follow, as well as recommended content from new creators you haven’t yet discovered. However, Threads does not currently allow you to search for hashtags or trending topics. At this time, users can only use the search tool to look up other users.
A post on Threads can easily be shared to your Instagram story or even as a link on any other platform. The core accessibility features currently available on Instagram, such as screen reader support and AI-generated image descriptions, are also enabled on Threads.
Here’s how you can get started on Threads:
- Sign up for an Instagram account, if you don’t already have one
- Download the Threads app and sign in using your Instagram credentials
- Your Instagram username and verification will carry over, with the option to customize your profile for Threads
- You’ll have the option to follow the same accounts as on Instagram or discover new creators with similar interests
- You’re all set to start using the Threads app!
(NOTE: Posts on Threads must be a maximum of 500 characters, but can include links, photos and videos up to 5 minutes.)
Threads was built with privacy tools that allow you to control who can mention or reply to you within the app, as well as add hidden words to filter out replies containing certain words. You can also unfollow, block, restrict or report a profile by tapping the three-dot menu, and any accounts you’ve blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads.
What are the Benefits for Marketers?
Brands can benefit from creating a profile on Threads to start generating organic traffic from the platform until paid advertising becomes available. For now, Threads offers the opportunity for businesses to post updates, share media and regularly interact with their target audiences.
However, it is inevitable that consumer demand will drive the development of paid opportunities over the coming months. Marketing agencies, in particular, are recognizing the value of investing their clients’ dollars in Threads, according to the Q2 Meta update from Edgewater Research.
The Instagram team has teased it is already working on making branded content tools available in the near future, with ads expected to be introduced once Threads reaches a critical mass. Until then, marketers are advised to clearly disclose paid partnerships by using hashtags or text.
Threads will eventually be compatible with an open social networking protocol through ActivityPub, which would enable interoperability with other protocol-supporting apps. This means that people using compatible apps could follow and interact with Threads users without an account, and vice versa—ushering in a new era of diverse and interconnected networks.
Will Threads Replace Twitter?
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, has publicly announced his plans to make Threads bigger than Twitter—but that will inevitably take some time. He recently shared that he believes there “should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it.”
Already reaching more than 100 million users since its launch on July 5, Threads has seen explosive growth over the past few weeks. During the first two days that Threads was introduced, Twitter traffic fell 5% compared to the prior week and 11% compared to a year earlier. This is particularly concerning given Twitter’s sudden rebranding to X.
How Does Threads Track User Data?
Similar to other Meta platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Threads will collect and store a vast amount of information about its users, including sensitive data such as:
- IP information
- Type of device being used
- Location tracking and device signals
- Contact information, including address, email and phone
- Financial information
- Browsing and search histories
- How users interact with posts and followers
- Camera and photo access
- Health and fitness data
This in-depth level of data collection is why officials from the European Union (EU) are concerned about data privacy, which has led to a postponed launch of Threads in EU countries.
How Do I Change My Username on Threads?
Because your Threads profile is connected to your Instagram account, your name and username will automatically be transferred to Threads. In order to change your username on Threads, you will need to change your Instagram username by following these steps:
- Tap the profile icon in the bottom, right-hand corner
- Select the “Edit Profile” button located beneath your bio
- Enter a new Instagram username in the appropriate field
- Select the checkmark in the top, right-hand corner to save your settings
Once this is complete, your username on Threads will automatically reflect this change.
How Do I Delete My Threads Account?
Threads provides users with the option to either temporarily deactivate or permanently delete their accounts. To delete a Threads account, users must delete their Instagram account.
To temporarily deactivate your Threads account, users need to follow these steps:
- Navigate to your “Profile” tab in Threads
- Access the “Settings” menu in the top, right-hand corner
- Select the “Account” button
- Confirm deactivation of your account
After deactivating a profile, user posts and interactions will no longer be visible on Threads. This will not impact the data the app has collected, nor your linked Instagram account. If a user deactivates an Instagram account, that user’s Threads account will also be deactivated.
To reactivate a Threads profile, the user will simply need to log back into the app.
What’s Next for Threads?
So far, Meta has rolled out Threads on iOS and Android devices in more than 100 countries worldwide. People in those countries can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. However, Meta is still awaiting approval from the European Commission—the EU’s executive arm—before it will be permitted to launch Threads in EU countries.
In addition to making Threads compatible with an open social networking protocol, Meta will soon be adding several new features like improved content recommendations within the feed and a more robust search function that will make it easier to follow topics and trends in real time.