New platforms are emerging every few days in the expanding social media arena. The latest entrant in this space is Threads, a text-based conversation app by Meta. Threads is similar in many ways compared to X (formerly Twitter).
But for social media marketers, it is crucial to identify the differences between X and Threads for their content strategies. While X is slowly being updated to become the Everything app, Threads, launched in July 2023, is a relatively new platform designed to provide a more private and intimate space for users to share their thoughts and ideas with their close friends and family.
So, what are the main differences between Twitter X and Threads? Which platform is better for your needs? Let us explore the features and benefits of each platform in more detail and help you make an informed decision.
Overview of X (Twitter)
Twitter as a social media platform was launched in 2006 but was overhauled when Elon Musk took over the company in 2022. By July 2023, it was rebranded to X and has since undergone several changes in its features and interface. Here is an overview of X's advantages, disadvantages, and prominent features.
Advantages of X
Twitter offers several benefits, making it a popular platform for individuals and businesses. These include:
- Broader Reach: The platform has over 300 million active users, making it an excellent platform for reaching a wide audience. Brands and individuals can use this platform to promote products and services, conduct surveys and receive active feedback online.
- Short-form Content: Twitter allows users to share short-form content, ideal for individuals or businesses looking to share quick updates or announcements.
- Ease of Use: Twitter's interface is simple, making it effortless for users to navigate and find the content they want.
- Customization of Feeds: Twitter users can customize their feeds, making it straightforward to see the most relevant content from their followers. They can follow topics of interest and tune in for the latest insights.
Disadvantages of Twitter X
- Character Limit Constraints: Twitter restricts users to 280 characters or fewer posts. This limitation can be a significant hurdle for those wanting to share detailed or intricate content, as it often requires condensing or oversimplifying messages.
- Potential for Misinformation: The brevity of tweets combined with the platform's broad reach can rapidly spread misinformation. The limited context in short messages often contributes to misunderstandings or the sharing of unverified information.
- Risk of Harassment or Cyberbullying: Twitter's open nature can expose users to negative interactions, such as harassment or cyberbullying. The platform has been criticized for not protecting users from such experiences.
Standout Features of Twitter X
Twitter has several standout features compared to Threads.
- Direct Messages (DMs): Twitter has a DM feature that allows for private conversations between users, facilitating a more personal interaction away from the public timeline. DMs support media attachments and group messaging, making them versatile for various communication needs.
- Trending Topics: This feature highlights the most talked-about subjects on the platform, giving users a quick overview of current global or local events and popular discussions. "Trending Topics" help users stay informed and engage with timely, relevant content.
- Twitter Spaces: Spaces are live audio chat rooms where users can host and participate in real-time conversations. This feature provides a platform for interactive discussions, allowing for a more engaging experience than traditional tweets.
- Twitter Community: Communities on Twitter enable users to create and join groups based on shared interests or topics. It fosters a more targeted and engaging experience, connecting users with similar passions and facilitating deeper discussions.
- Premium Subscription: Twitter recently introduced a subscription-based model for account verification. It offers enhanced features like reduced ads, editing tweets, creator subscriptions and more, allowing users to monetize their tweets.
Overview of Threads
Threads is a relatively new platform launched by Meta as an extension of Instagram last year. It had an anticipatory launch with more than 70 million users in just two days of the launch. Let us delve into the nitty-gritty of it.
Advantages of Threads
- Moderated Conversations: One of Threads's most significant strong points is its focus on content moderation. Unlike X, which favors free speech with minimal moderation, Threads aims to create a space for thoughtful, respectful discussions. It flags content that has hate speech, sexual content, terrorism, threats, etc.
- Carousel Display: Threads has a clean interface that does not clutter your feed. If a user posts multiple media files, they appear in a horizontal carousel that is easy to swipe through.
- More Private: Your Threads feed is only viewable to those who follow your account. The app also permits you to create groups with specific people, creating a more personal setting. You can share more conversations or pictures without worrying about your messages being seen by others.
- Ad-free Experience: Threads has no promoted content or ads since it is still new. As part of Instagram, which operates in Facebook's Advertising Network, Threads will soon have monetized content. If you are looking for a more ad-free social media experience, this app can be valuable at the moment.
Disadvantages of Threads
- Fewer Functions: Compared to other social media platforms, Threads has limited integrations. It does not have a search option to find specific content, and it does not even support a hashtag or keyword search, which limits discoverability.
- Limited Analytics: A user can see likes and replies on a Threads conversation, but that is not enough to tally engagement. Determining the success of a Threads content is tricky with just these two metrics. Users cannot check their impressions or audience demographics to gain more solid analytics from the app.
- Total Dependency on Another App: Threads is a part of Instagram and is not a separate application. Only an Instagram account holder can open a Threads account. The accounts are then interlinked, including the profile picture, bio, etc.
Standout Features of Threads
- Longer Character Limit: Threads has a character limit of 500 on each post, almost double that of X. So you can produce longer posts that include short pieces of text, links, photos, videos, or any combination of them.
- Focus on Groups: Threads allows you to create group chats. It focuses more on conversations with specific people, which can be especially useful for working on a project or planning an event while based in different locations.
- Better Privacy Control: Privacy and safety-wise Threads is more stringent. A user under 16 will be automatically placed into a private profile. Users can decide who can mention or respond to your threads. It also automatically blocks those accounts that you have blocked on Instagram.
X (Twitter) vs. Threads Comparison
Ever since its launch, Threads has been pitted as a competitor to X. While several features may overlap, we bring you a detailed comparison between the two social media platforms on different criteria.
Navigation and Layout
X and Threads have a similar layout, with a feed of posts that can be scrolled up and down. The main difference is that X has a "Home" tab that shows posts from people you follow, while Threads has a "Direct" tab that shows messages from people you've exchanged messages with. X has a "Trending" tab that shows popular posts, while Threads has a "Status" tab that lets you share your current status with friends.
Twitter users have more options for customizing their feed from the "For You" and "Following" tabs. They can choose to watch tweets related to their interests first or scroll through the trending topics.
On Threads, Instagram's main feed is combined with the "Discover" page. Users can see an Instagram post and their thread on the same feed. It has limited options to discover new content.
X has better accessibility features, allowing users to search for specific content. You can also use hashtags or keywords to find related content. Threads has recently introduced the search function, but it is not accessible to all users worldwide. It is only being rolled out to English and Spanish-speaking countries. Threads went live for the European region only in December 2023.
When it launched, Threads was primarily a mobile-exclusive app. A few months later, it was made accessible via the web.
X has an entire creator suite to create different types of ad campaigns and monetize content. Brands can design comprehensive launch campaigns for their products and services. Threads doesn't support monetized content as yet. Currently, users can only cross-promote Threads posts via Instagram and expand visibility.
Twitter gives users complete control over deactivating and deleting their accounts. The biggest disadvantage of Threads was the inability to delete one's account without losing Instagram. Users would lose their Instagram if they had to delete Threads.
Twitter is a standalone platform that lets you sign in and create your account based on an email ID or phone number. In order to use Threads, a user must have an Instagram account. The Threads and Instagram accounts are linked from the point of creation.
User Privacy Controls
X authorizes users to set their account to private, meaning only approved followers can see their content. Threads also allows users to control who sees their content, and they offer a feature called "Close Friends" that enables users to share content only with a select group of followers. Threads does not have a direct messaging feature, which means all conversations remain in the public eye.
X allows users to report abusive behavior; a reliable team reviews and responds to these reports. Threads also allows users to report violations of their community guidelines, and a team is dedicated to reviewing these reports.
How Successful Is Threads Compared to X?
Threads gained immense popularity when it launched, but the hype soon dwindled, and so did its users. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, confirmed 100 million user signups in the first five days of the launch in July 2023.
Data from SimilarWeb revealed that the daily active users (DAU) significantly plummeted within the same week of the launch.
Threads saw a 20% day-over-day decline from the first day of its launch, as reported by a senior analyst. The time spent on the app was also reduced from an initial 20 to about 8 minutes and under.
Although Threads introduced a web version soon, it did not have the same impact.
While X still dominates the social media market, Threads made a brief impact. However, it did attract the younger demographic. As per Statista, 40.1% of GenZ users downloaded the app because "it looked fun. " One in five" users also said they were looking for an alternative to X. This is in contrast to X, which has a more diverse user base and a higher percentage of older users.
Challenges for Threads to Overtake X
While Threads has seen significant growth since its launch, it still faces challenges in overtaking X in terms of popularity and user engagement. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of brand recognition compared to X, which has been around for much longer and has a more established user base.
Additionally, X has a more comprehensive range of features and integrations, such as the ability to share longer videos and the option to monetize content. These elements favor businesses and individuals who want to use social media to widen their network and reach new customers. These factors make it difficult for Threads to compete with X.
Planned Features for Threads
Threads has rolled out many updates to help it gain ground against X. It is expected to add more customization options for its features to make it more appealing to users who value personalization. It is expected to introduce hashtags for better content discovery.
Other expected features include edit options on posts, a multi-account option, and a following tab. While the platform has recently been made accessible to users in certain parts of the world, the newer feature rollouts will likely occur gradually.
The Final Verdict
After comparing the features and functionalities of X and Threads, it's clear that both platforms have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. However, X is the better option for marketers looking to build their brand and engage with their audience. One of X's key advantages is its large user base. With over 500 million active users, it provides a massive audience for marketers to reach out to. Additionally, X offers various advertising options, including promoted tweets, sponsored content, and influencer marketing campaigns.
X users have access to its advanced analytics and reporting tools, which allow them to track and measure the performance of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimize their results. Furthermore, X's algorithmic timeline ensures that users see the most relevant content first, which can help increase engagement rates.
On the other hand, Threads is a more niche platform focused on private messaging and sharing content with close friends and family. While this can be useful for personal use, it may not be the best option for marketers looking to reach a wider audience.
Managing both X and Threads accounts can be complicated. If you need help with social media management, you can rely on Highperformr. Its AI tools can help you find trending topics and create content that resonates with your audience. It also has analytical tools that provide robust insights to help you study your social media performance and improve strategies.