Thread Count: The Data and Design of Meta’s New App

Todd Green
July 24, 2023
5 min read

If you are a person who frequents the Internet, you may have noticed all the buzz about Threads, a social media platform and direct Twitter competitor that Meta released on July 5, 2023.

The platform had over 30 million signups on day one and 100 million by day five. It’s now the fastest-downloaded app of all time. And yet, Threads has already seen a notable slowdown in signups, which could signal a waning interest by social media users or a connection to the app’s absence in the EU. The takeaway: Everyone’s excited and wary about the app at the same time.

So if you’re on the fence about starting a Threads account, we don’t blame you. It’s complicated. We hope reading our observations below will help you make an informed decision as to whether Threads is right for your business.

It’s Easy to Thread

Overall, Threads provides an easy user experience. The app also notifies your Instagram followers that you’re on Threads so they know to follow you. This feature has been helpful for creators, businesses, and organizations with good engagement on Instagram and Facebook that have struggled to connect with followers on Twitter.

Those who are enjoying the platform aren’t just passively using it. Threads had 95 million posts and 190 million likes halfway through its first day. Like Twitter, users are actively sharing their thoughts and commenting on others’ posts on Threads.

But that doesn’t mean the Threads app is a runaway success for all users. Some find it hard to be as “real” as they are on Twitter, where users aren’t subject to Instagram’s stricter use of community guidelines. Other user frustrations center on companies being less responsive to customer service issues on Threads, and users are upset they can’t delete their Threads account without simultaneously deleting their Instagram.

Removing Loose Threads

Improvements are coming, and we see potential for many of them that will not only improve the user experience, but help solve some of the friction between users and businesses. Recently leaked documents revealed that Meta could soon add new features to the platform including direct messages, a “Trends & Topics” section, and improved search capabilities. The head of Instagram has also said future versions of the app will give users more control of their data by making Threads compatible with ActivityPub. This move would sync with Meta’s original promise of creating Threads as a privacy-centric platform.

Finding a Common Thread

Many businesses wonder if Threads will have new audiences to offer or if their followers will just be the same people that follow them on Instagram. Yes, there will be a lot of crossover, but some innovative companies are taking aim at the platform with the potential to bring in whole new target audience groups. Gaming startups like Artie, for example, see the potential in Threads as a gaming hub. Artie plans to bring their first game to the platform this fall. But reaching these audiences en masse won’t be as simple or clear-cut as on other platforms.

Paid ads are not available on Threads, making it harder for businesses to engage with large swaths of followers. Creative teams will need to put in more time and effort to create engaging, platform-specific content to connect with users. Of course, this could be a good thing, as it opens the door to directly communicating with passionate fans. It’s a chance to build deeper online relationships with brand ambassadors—the people who tell friends and family about your business for no reason other than to share their joy.

Todd Green