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  • Writer's pictureCraig Butler

We all got a bit too excited about Threads.

I'll admit it, I fell for the hype.

When Threads first launched I genuinely thought it was the start of something new. And perhaps it is.

But for all the initial buzz and phenomenal sign up rate (maybe inflated via the ease of the sign up process; a stroke of genius from the Zuck), I've found myself ALREADY forgetting its existence on my phone.

We all know that we're looking at a half built product here. They've admitted themselves that there's a ton of basic functionality still to be added.

But the rate of knots at which engagement has dropped off - reportedly by half already - is perhaps a sign that we all got a little bit too excited about the newest social app.

Meta's strategy, which it seems was to essentially capitalise on Elon Musk's eyebrow raising decision to limit the number of tweets its users can see, made quite a lot of sense. Strike whilst the iron is hot (and Twitter is not) and all that.

The problem is, I'm not convinced that the average person has the patience to just wait for the platform to be finished and then come back. It's possible that the biggest advocates will stick with it but my point of view is that that group of users will be a relatively small part of the curve.

Part of the draw of social, especially a platform like Twitter is the instant gratification of posting something and generating engagement. Another part is the ability to curate a feed of content that you want to see. At the moment, with the lack of searchability & discovery, Threads isn't able to achieve either.

Regardless of these features being added in the future, a large group of users aren't patient enough to sit around and wait. For me the way things have gone signifies that rather than Threads becoming the new "go to" platform, it's going to be a much more steady growth than the early data showed.

But what about advertising?

I don't see advertising appearing in the app any time soon. Meta have to get this right. A stable & engaged user base is a necessity to make an ad product sustainable, even if it's just going to be a tick in the Placement selection box.

The existing Meta ad ecosystem is already pretty congested so Threads has got to be the focal point of expansion but it can't be if it becomes a ghost town.

Also consider the possibility of keyword based targeting (advertisers will be salivating at this) feeding into Meta's ability to target people based on intent and you start to see why taking time to build slowly is probably better.

I would love Meta to treat the Threads ad product, whenever it comes out, as a standalone platform. For years there have been no really exciting front end changes to the advertiser experience; everything AI is great but advertisers want to see something new and exciting to trial.

I am thinking about the old days of Twitter and the cool stuff you could do with custom hashtags, interactive decision trees etc - I would love to see Meta place some focus on bringing something different to the game, rather than just having more of the same and just adding a new box at ad set level to deliver on Threads.

The truth is, I don't have a clue how this is going to play out. It could be fantastic, it could be terrible. But one thing can be certain - if Zuckerberg & team nail this, Elon Musk & Twitter will be hanging on by a Thread.

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