Marketers trialing Threads say it comes at the expense of Instagram, Facebook

Marketers trialing Threads say it comes at the expense of Instagram, Facebook

Dive Brief:

  • Of the marketers using X, formerly known as Twitter, or Instagram, 80% said they will likely try Meta’s Threads despite ultimately feeling that the offering contributes to channel fragmentation, per Capterra’s 2023 Social Media Landscape Survey. Further, 66% believe Threads will weaken the marketing potential of Instagram and Facebook, which Meta also owns.
  • Marketers signaled that they need a clear return on investment from emerging platforms like Threads before considering it in their budgets, with 70% reporting that they won’t invest in an X alternative unless there are “excellent benefits.”
  • New bets within the social media landscape arrive following Elon Musk’s controversial takeover of Twitter, which was rebranded to X earlier this summer. Sixty-nine percent of marketers report that their business has created an account on at least one budding platform following the Twitter acquisition last year. 

Dive Insight:

While marketers have indicated that they plan to ramp up social media spending this year, budget allocation in an increasingly fragmented landscape has created additional layers of difficulty. Much of the conversation in the category has been driven by the rebranding of Twitter to X — a step toward Musk’s vision of making a so-called “everything app” — and the debut of Meta’s Threads in July as a direct X competitor. Other platforms have jumped on X’s vulnerability as well, with TikTok experimenting with text-only posts, a clear departure from its short-form video focus.

As marketers begin exploring these new offerings, Capterra’s survey identifies some hesitance from going all-in. The survey found that, while the majority of marketers plan to test out Meta’s X alternative, they agree it contributes to fragmentation and could have potentially negative impacts on Meta’s more established offerings in Instagram and Facebook. The research was fielded in July, shortly after Threads debuted. Marketers also noted that it would take strong success indicators from emerging platforms like Threads to win over a larger share of their budgets.

“Experimenting with new social media platforms should be encouraged, but avoid overcommitting,” said Meghan Bazaman, senior marketing analyst at Capterra, in a statement. “Marketers need to assess whether they are equipped to manage another platform, if the app delivers on safety and security, and if the platform offers must-have capabilities or features.”

Among marketers likely to activate on Threads, 52% report that it would be because it might have better user safety and security, an aspect that continues to be called into question with X. Threads quickly signaled its potential for marketers after its launch, becoming the fastest app to reach 100 million users, though engagement soon after took a hit. Meta has continued to build out the service, most recently announcing the rollout of a web version. 

On the other side of the equation, X continues to be weighed down by challenges, including an ongoing advertiser exodus that has continued despite the appointment of advertising veteran Linda Yaccarino as CEO in May. Notably, of the 3,100 brands advertising on X in May, the month Yaccarino stepped into the role, 34% chose not to return in June, according to a MediaRadar analysis.

While most marketers surveyed by Capterra have explored other options following Musk’s takeover, 35% that said they had paused advertising on X have already returned to previous activity levels, and 43% said that their company never paused or suspended ads, a potential sign that many brands have continued to find value in the platform.

As marketers grapple with a sea of options, 40% report that they only like exploring new platforms when they know that competitors have found success while marketing on them, according to Capterra. Additionally, the top priority for marketers to invest in new platforms is the ability to engage with target consumers (40%).

While some emerging platforms seem to be getting the lion’s share of marketer attention, others, specifically decentralized platforms like Mastodon, Post and Bluesky, carry lower adoption rates compared to more established counterparts. Additionally, they come with complexities around creating and using accounts. Notably, 61% of marketers that activated on Mastodon in the aftermath of Musk’s X takeover have since stopped using the platform, per Capterra’s findings.

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