Instagram Threads made its debut in the social media platform arena on July 5, 2023. The app made history by surpassing 100 million sign-ups just five days after its launch. It replaced ChatGPT as the fastest-growing online platform to receive that level of adoption so early on. A flood of notable names joined, marking it as a serious threat to its similarly structured competitor, X, formerly known as Twitter.

The overwhelming response to the app prompts this question: Does the broadcast media industry have a place on Threads? We’ll discuss how radio stations fit into the puzzle and why they may want to be among the early users.


Source: App Store, Threads screenshots

What Is Threads, and How Does It Work?

Threads is a new app from Meta built by the Instagram team of developers. It’s a place to share text-based messages or microblogs and join public conversations with other users.

The direct tie to Instagram, where user profiles are in the billions, makes it easy to transfer your existing network to the new platform. This connection is one reason behind the skyrocketing number of sign-ups. The user creates their account through their Instagram profile, where their username and verification will merge directly to Threads. From there, users can choose how they’d like to customize their new profile. Following accounts becomes simpler, as users can select to follow the same accounts they already follow on Instagram.

Your Thread feed would include posts made by people you follow and recommended content from accounts you have yet to discover. In the same way users can share Instagram posts and stories to their Facebook accounts, you can share Threads posts to Instagram stories.

How Is Instagram Threads Different from X?

The buzz behind the new app circulating the internet stirred up questions about how Threads would stand up against its competitor, Twitter. Twitter is now X since its rebrand shortly after the release of Threads. Yes, similarities do exist. Both are conversational platforms for brief text-based posts that users can publicly engage with. However, some differentiating features may be enough to sway users from one app to the other.

The differences may be subject to change with Twitter’s rebrand to X. It’s uncertain what Elon Musk has in store for the transition to what he coins will be the new “everything app.” At this moment, here are some of the most distinctive differences between the two.

Feature X* Threads
Character limit 280 characters 500 characters
Video duration limit 2 minutes 20 seconds 5 minutes
Verification No Yes
Direct messaging Yes No
Trending stories Yes No
Hashtags Yes No
Limit on posts users can read per day Yes No
Desktop version Yes No

* These X features are the limits for users not subscribed to Twitter Blue. Terms could be different for X users with the paid subscription status.

Ease of use seems to be another differentiator for Threads. Its tie to an existing Instagram account allows follower bases to translate from one app to another. Unlike X, Threads users can easily import their Instagram account information straight into their new profile.

Threads is not the first online platform to compete with X. The list includes Tumblr, Clubhouse, Bluesky and Discord, to name a few. However, none of these apps have posed a serious threat to X. With the emergence of Threads, we could potentially see a shift.

Threads Advertising: What to Expect

Threads is not yet an ad-supported site, but advertisers and marketers are itching for that to change. With Facebook’s and Instagram’s high-performing ads, the expectation that Threads will yield similar results is high. In the meantime, we can only speculate on what Threads advertising will look like and how effective it will be when it’s available.

The outlook is positive, as Threads has all the makings of a platform that produces optimized ads. With a sizable audience, mass public notice and the likelihood of Meta advertising tool capabilities, the app is an advertiser’s dream. Most marketers are ready for the moment Zuckerberg opens the ad floodgates.

When advertising does become available, Threads will have even more of a competitive edge over X. Most advertisers agree that Meta has superior ad technology compared to what X offers. This may come as another blow to X as its new competitor grows.

What Is the Value of Threads for Stations?

Now that we have a basic understanding of Threads, let’s look at how radio should approach it. There are no opportunities for monetization without being ad supported, but that’s likely to change soon. Stations can focus on the organic growth of their online presence and begin to learn the basics of the platform.

Stations starting on Threads can gauge how many people are active on the app. It’s an opportunity to test and see what content gets the most traction. Use this to build a base before advertising becomes an option for growing an audience.

Stations can prepare for when paid advertising becomes available by advising their advertisers on their campaign strategy. Advertisers already using X can implement strategies they use there in their new Threads strategy. Advise that they monitor and compare how their content performs on each app. When advertising does become available, they can start by mimicking ads that performed well on X.

Ride the Threads Wave

It’s fair to say Instagram Threads is making waves, and big brands are hopping on for the ride. Radio stations and businesses in any industry looking to increase their online presence and build an organic following should see what Threads is all about. Creating a profile is quick and uncomplicated. Follow the instructions here to start building your profile.

For more on social media, check out our post on the latest social media trends of 2023.