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Threads Chief Reiterates That Trending Topics Won’t Significantly Impact the App’s Growth

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Can Threads Still Capitalize on Early Interest?

Will trending topics improve the overall Threads experience, and get people posting more often to the app?

Today, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has reiterated his contention that features like trending topics won’t have a big impact on Threads’ growth, though he has provided some more context as to what he does believe will be important, as they look for new ways to get more people using the app.

Which is really the key goal. The Threads team, right now, is focused on boosting its active user count, which, in Mosseri’s view, will be the key thing that does drive broader adoption of the platform.

As per Mosseri:

“I don’t think that trends, [which we are working on], are going to massively change the trajectory of Threads. They’re going to be an important feature for a small set of power users, which is great, because you really want to support your power users. But at the end of the day, one of the most important things for all users, including power users, is that you can reach more people than you can elsewhere. And so, we really care a lot about growing the overall community, because that is the best, and really only way to increase reach for everyone, and that is going to be, I think, the most important value proposition.”

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So, in this sense, Mosseri sees the path to beating X as the real-time platform of choice as expanding Threads’ audience, first and foremost. More people using the app will mean that more people will then have to pay attention to the conversations happening there, and at 130 million monthly actives right now, versus 500 million on X, it’s got a way to go to win over a critical mass of real-time social fans for the platform.

And I can see the argument that Mosseri’s making, that boosting the app’s general appeal is the best way to go, and given his breadth of experience in managing Facebook’s News Feed and Instagram, he, of course, would know what he’s talking about in this respect.

But I do think that trending topics, as well as chronological search sorting options, and other real time engagement tools, will have a bigger impact than he seems to suggest.

For example, among the biggest community holdouts on X right now are sports fans, who have a long embedded engagement process for how they interact around live events. I would suggest that real-time engagement is a massive part of this, and the fact that they can’t follow game developments as they happen on Threads, at least not easily, would be a major impediment to them making the switch, if they so wanted. Mosseri’s saying that the desire to change is the key first step, and that comes from more discussion happening in the app, but I would suggest that these two elements both play a significant role in encouraging related engagement.  

So making it easier to stay on top of the latest developments, through trending topics and chronological search, is important, and I would argue that both are more important than the concerns around trends being hijacked by spammers in the app.

That, seemingly, is what’s stopping the Threads team from rolling out these options, but I suspect that, eventually, it will add both, enabling more immediacy in conversation in the app.

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The same would apply to reality TV discussion, news events, awards shows, etc. Mosseri is right, in that people posting about these topics enjoy the dopamine hit that they get from engagement with their posts, which light up their notifications, and they can’t get that if Threads doesn’t have more users paying attention. But again, the two elements are more complementary than Mosseri suggests, and I do think that such functions will have more impact once they’re added.

It’s also worth noting that the “power users” Mosseri refers to are absolutely critical considerations as well.

For example, 80% of X users never engage in the app, they only view content, which means that all the content posted to the platform comes from around 20% of its user base. That would suggest that appealing to this subset is indeed hugely important, and does play a massive role in boosting activity.

Again, I don’t doubt Mosseri’s knowledge and understanding of what works best within social apps. But I do question the seemingly limited thinking on growth in this context.

Either way, we’ll find out, with the Threads team currently working on trending topics, and other highly requested features.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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