Over the past few weeks, we have seen Meta (Facebook) introduce “Threads” as an alternative to Twitter and we have seen Twitter rename itself to “X”. Let’s dive deeper into the current situation surrounding Threads and Twitter’s rebranding to “X”, and what potential strategies these platforms could use to improve their standing in the social media landscape.
Threads’ Growing Pains
Threads, upon entering the social media game on July 5, 2023, enjoyed an initial burst of user interest, with 100 million users in 5 days no doubt largely driven by curiosity and its affiliation with Instagram. The significant drop in active users, 82% by July 31, 2023, and time spent on the app, from down from 19 minutes to 2.9 minutes per day as of August 1, 2023, suggests that Threads has struggled to retain user attention and engagement over that time.
Given that Threads is still in its infancy, it has the advantage of being flexible and adaptable to changes. To increase its user base and engagement, Threads could focus on creating unique features that distinguish it from other platforms. For instance, they could provide seamless integration of visual content with their messaging platform or curate interest-based communities that foster interaction and engagement. This would not only give users more reasons to use Threads but also potentially attract advertisers.
Twitter’s Identity Crisis
Twitter’s rebranding to “X” seems to have caused some confusion among its users and advertisers. Musk’s move is estimated to have wiped out anywhere between $4 billion and $20 billion in value.
The inconsistent use of the new brand name, coupled with declining traffic and engagement, suggests that X is experiencing an identity crisis of sorts.
To tackle this, X needs to ensure that its rebranding message is clear and consistent. They need to communicate what X stands for, and how this change will benefit its users and advertisers. X could use this as an opportunity to reinvent itself and address some of the criticisms it has faced over the years, such as handling misinformation or improving user experience.
Adapting to User Preferences and Trends
Both Threads and X need to stay in tune with user preferences and emerging trends in social media to succeed. For instance, the rise of ephemeral content and video-first strategies could be avenues they explore.
Likewise, as users increasingly value authentic connections and community, the platforms could focus on enhancing features that enable such interactions. For example, Threads could introduce features that allow users to create their own interest-based communities, while X could enhance its lists and trending topics features to facilitate more meaningful interactions.
Monetisation and Attracting Advertisers
Attracting advertisers is crucial for both platforms. To do this, they need to prove that they can deliver an engaged, sizable audience. They could continue to use targeting options, ad formats, and analytical tools to help advertisers effectively reach and engage their audience.
They could also explore alternative revenue streams such as premium subscription options, such as the “Blue Tick” X hide/show offer, partnerships with brands, or facilitating transactions on their platforms, as is demonstrated by TikTok’s introduction of TikTok Shop.
In conclusion, Threads and X have their work cut out for them. The battle for social media supremacy is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s not just about attracting users but also about keeping them engaged and monetizing that engagement effectively. Only time will tell how Threads and X tackle these challenges and how the social media landscape will evolve as a result. As such we advise our clients to be cautious before investing in advertising on these platforms at this stage.
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