Fahad Ali describes a tough battle
Social media rivalry – The reversal suffered by Twitter after almost controversial takeover by Elon Musk and his subsequent erratic actions gave birth to intense social media war. The eclipse of Twitter encouraged erstwhile Facebook now Meta to enter the race with a vengeance. Meta’s device Threads jumped into the fray as a credible rival to Twitter and though it was expected that competition will bring out the creative best but it is proving to be a fierce rivalry between these social media giants and may stay for good. This brings one to question the sustainability of the digital war between Twitter and Threads and the long-term harm it will bring about. The war is still in its nascent stages as of now to make a call on whether it will be a threat to Twitter but if Meta’s success is any indication of its efficacy, the users, brands and agencies are in for another social trial should the app burst into full throttle.
It is pointed out that Twitter is facing a storm of opposition as plenty of brands have reduced their stakes and advertising budgets on it. This is certainly a setback for the eventful social platform but analysts fear that same fate awaits Threads. This war may have opened new avenues for advertising to create a wider audience and more engagement but it goes without saying that it will have an enormous impact on the advertisement industry and influencer marketing and subsequent monetisation opportunities for brands in the social media space. Regardless of the numbers, clients have been keen, even eager, to create their presence because they do not want to miss out on the opportunity so, while brands contemplate if and how much to spend on Threads most have requested that agencies jump on the bandwagon to begin exploring the waters.
The clients have begun conversations and started building momentum. However, because users are inadvertently using their Instagram accounts and credentials to log in to Threads, it will be essential to keep advertising Instagram-friendly and build a narrative which essentially inflates the messaging on the parent platform. Meta platform executives are heavily focused on boosting retention on their product but it is not certain whether the forward march of it may continue as the overall conditions are quite tense and situation may change with the passage of time.Though social media wars have become a new normal in the recent times yet this conflict is between the largest platforms and may create more than ripples. The marketing fraternity, along with the brands, is still wondering how to leverage these apps and utilise their speculated popularity the textuality of Twitter and the pictoriality of Instagram, the home base of Meta. While Threads integrates with Instagram that tracks up to 1.35 billion worldwide as of 2023 as the former is built on the latter’s user base, allowing one to retain the followers and the following, it also tolerates the users as they type away their opinions that matter like Twitter, so one wonders, what is the target audience.
Threads was introduced as a clear spin-off of Instagram which offers a built-in audience of more than two billion users, sparing the new platform the challenge of starting from scratch. Zuckerberg is widely understood to be taking advantage of Musk’s chaotic ownership of Twitter to push out the new product which Meta hopes will become the go-to platform for celebrities, companies and politicians. It is pointed out by them that if an Instagram user with a large number of followers such as Kardashian or a Bieber or a Messi begins posting on Threads regularly a new platform could quickly thrive. It is also mentioned that Threads only needs one out of four Instagram monthly users to make it as big as Twitter. Twitter users are desperate for an alternative and Musk has given Zuckerberg an opening. Under Musk, Twitter has seen content moderation reduced to a minimum with glitches and rash decisions scaring away celebrities and major advertisers. He has angered Twitter’s most devoted aficionados by declaring that access to its TweetDeck product that which allows users to view a fast flow of tweets at once and would be for paying customers only.
Right after it was launched Threadshad over 100 million sign-ups in nearly five days. The advertising industry and the brands have another toddler to deal with — feed it at regular intervals with posts, dress it up with relevant content, tell good stories and keep it entertaining all the while. A quick scroll on some of the major Threads pages reveals that a lot of content being shared on the platform is mostly cross-sharing from already existing platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Questions have arisen to the effect that are people essentially tired of coming up with new content for yet another digital platform and that whether the readers feel overwhelmed to stay relevant on yet another platform. It is also asked if e-magazines, web portals and influencers are going to have to curate entirely different content to remain unique. Simultaneously, it is also mentioned that users clearly do not want to see repetition.
There must be a reason for people to shift from an existing app to another. It must differentiate to compete with a social giant such as Twitter. An extension of Instagram just would not last which brings one to the same point mentioned earlier and that is target audience. Many brands have shared behind-the-scenes posts, product launches and several other updates, while users are directly conversing with the brands to provide critical and constructive feedback. For the agencies, though, it will have to be a combination of robust textual content with audio/visual relevance. At the moment there is a content wilderness out there and the target audience will not hesitate to ignore less-than-stellar content. The conclusion is simple because if one platform cannot provide it, another will.
For all intents it looks that Meta upsurge was temporary as retention of users on the text-based app was better than executives had expected, though it was not perfect. Though Zuckerberg tried to brush-off the drop and declared it normal and expected retention to grow as the company adds more features to the app, including a desktop version and search functionality but it is clear that the drop-off consequence has proved jittery to Meta executives. Meta is looking at adding more retention-driving hooks to entice users to return to the app such as making sure people who are on the Instagram app can see important Threads. This issue came to fore when Meta wowed investors with a rosy revenue growth forecast, a sign of a comeback for a company that faced deep scepticism over its hefty spending on the metaverse last year as ad sales plummeted with the disclosure sending Meta’s shares surging 8 per cent. Zuckerberg told employees on the call that he believed the company’s work on the augmented and virtual reality technology that would power the metaverse was not massively ahead of schedule, but on track. Meta, he added, needed to get started investing in that work ahead of rivals such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, given their years of experience building operating systems for existing products. The Weekender