What on earth is Instagram’s new app, Threads?

  • Tech giant Meta launches Threads, a brand-new microblogging social media app, days after Twitter CEO Elon Musk introduced a cap on how many tweets users can read per day (600 for users without Twitter Blue)
  • Builds on the pre-existing and ever-growing rivalry between Twitter CEO Elon Musk, and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg (the two agreed to a physical fight not long ago)
  • Instagram’s almost 2.5B users will be able to carry across their username and start using the app straight away
  • Social media experts are keen to see how Threads will compete with Twitter, which has been undergoing a vast array of changes since being bought by Musk in 2022 for $44bn (£38.1bn)
  • Meta’s roll out of the new app includes a “pre-order” type campaign with the app available for pre-download on Apple’s App Store

A History of Instagram

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is no stranger to ‘incorporating’ features from its competitors – in 2016 the internet was set ablaze by the launch of Instagram Stories (a clear pull from Snapchat). We later saw this trend continued with the advent of Instagram Reels, shortly before TikTok became the world’s most visited website in early 2021.

All this brings us to 2023, where on July 6th Instagram will launch it’s latest application/social media platform titled “Threads”.

Threads is slated to be a microblogging social media app and looks to be going in direct competition with Elon Musk’s newly acquired Twitter. This comes as part of a growing rivalry between Musk and Zuckerberg – the two even agreed to a public boxing match not long ago.

Who will use Threads?

Instagram’s almost 2.5bn users will be able to carry across their username to the app when it launches and screenshots on Apple’s App Store show it to look almost identical to Twitter.

According to the App Store Description, it is “Instagram’s text-based conversation app”:

Say more with Threads — Instagram’s text-based conversation app

“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow. Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things — or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.”

Interestingly, this launch has been announced mere days after Mr Musk applied temporary limits to how many posts users can read per day. Unverified (ie non-paying) accounts can currently read up to 600 posts/day with verified users having access to 6000/day in efforts to combat what Musk calls “data-scraping” for large language model AI training.

Social media and marketing experts are keen to see how Threads will compete with Twitter, it’s main rival in the space of conversation apps, which has been undergoing a vast array of changes since being bought by Musk for $44bn (£38.1bn) last year.

How will Threads be launched?

A new website has been launched, featuring a countdown to the full unveiling of the new app, which is currently available for pre-download on the App Store and the Google Play Store. Scanning the QR code in the bottom right of the site takes you to the relevant app marketplace for your device where you can pre-install ‘Threads’.

For those excited to see the app launch at 10am EST on the 6th, you can type the word “threads” into your Instagram search bar and generate your own “spinning ticket”, which features a localised date and time for the launch in your area and displays your username as it will appear on the new platform.

Interestingly, Meta is not the only one to be capitalising on the current chaos that Twitter has entered into. Cited by some users as the most likely replacement for Twitter, open-source platform Mastodon has seen a massive surge in membership, going from ­~300,000 users to 2.5 million between October and November of 2022.

How is Twitter responding?

Twitter has been quick to put a stop to the what it calls “free promotion of certain social media platforms” in tweets, specifically tweets relating to content or requesting follows on rival apps like Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Trible, Nostr and Post.

While the tumultuous developments in Twitter’s direction are entertaining to say the least, the full impact of these changes on businesses and the marketing landscape is yet to be seen. The power of Meta’s advertising platform already offers advertisers ‘deterministic’ data at a serious level, and if this is carried over to their user base on the new Threads app we could see a whole new advertising sphere unveiled.

While information is still scarce, keep an eye on our website for more updates as the app launches and be ready to test the waters as they open up.

Iconic Digital has been committed to mastering and innovating new technology for over 11 years, and as London’s leading digital agency we will certainly be keeping abreast of these new developments. Check back with our website to learn how these changes might benefit your business, and sign up for your free marketing audit today.