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A Comparative Analysis: Twitter vs. Threads in Terms of Interactions

A Comparative Analysis: Twitter vs. Threads in Terms of Interactions

Website Planet Security Team August 23, 2023
August 23, 2023
In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, competition among platforms intensifies as users seek new and engaging experiences. Recently, a new player called “Threads” has entered the scene, positioning itself as a text-based alternative to Instagram. As Twitter’s newest competitor, Threads has gained significant attention and garnered millions of users within a short span of time.

In this article, we will compare the interactions on Twitter and Threads for 30 brands, analyzing factors such as followers, likes, and replies to shed light on the current state of these platforms.

What We Did

To conduct this comparison, the WebsitePlanet research team selected 30 brands that had accounts on both Twitter and Threads and examined their performance. To be considered for our study, the selected brands had to have either published the exact same post or made different posts simultaneously on both platforms.

For the analysis, we focused on metrics such as number of followers, likes, and replies, as Threads does not provide data on post’s views or reposts. To calculate the “engagement rate” for each brand, we assigned a numerical value to the activity generated by each post (1 like = 1 comment = 1 point) and we divided it by the total number of followers the brand has on that platform.

[(No. comments + No. likes) / No. followers ] * 100 = Engagement Rate

What We Found

Our research revealed intriguing insights regarding the performance of the selected brands on Twitter and Threads. In general:

  • The number of followers varied significantly between Twitter and Threads for the analyzed brands. Considering that Threads was launched on July 5th, 2023, it’s unsurprising that established brands typically had a larger following on Twitter compared to Threads.
  • On average, newspages on Threads seem to have approximately 1% of the number of followers they have on Twitter. For comparison, popular brands in other industries have enticed a larger percentage of its follower base on Threads (e.g., RedBull’s Threads account already has 15% of the followers it has on Twitter).
  • Newspages and firms in the entertainment industry seemed to be more eager to use the platform than other types of brands. Not only did they sign up faster than brands in other industries, but they also seem to post more frequently.
  • 87% of the brands we analyzed generated more likes on Threads than on Twitter. On average, these brands saw 8 times more likes on the new platform.
TABLE-1
Table 1. Brands that posted the same content in both platforms

Of the 30 brands we selected, 20 made the same post on both platforms. These are our key findings after comparing the performance of those identical posts:

  • Most newspages tend to make identical posts on Twitter and Threads.
  • Twitter showcased higher average overall likes for the analyzed posts compared to Threads. On average, the posts got 7 times more likes on Threads than on Twitter.
  • Threads showed a higher average number of replies, with only 5 brands (Universal Pictures, NY Post, Elle Magazine US, McDonald’s, and Reuters) seeing more comments on Twitter than on its newest competitor
  • Threads showed a higher average engagement rate than Twitter (0.45% vs. 0.02%).
  • The brand that saw the highest engagement rate was Mcdonald’s, boasting 3.36%.
TABLE-2
Table 3.1. Brands that posted the same content in both platforms (updated) 

Of the 30 brands we selected, 10 published a different post at the same time on both platforms. These are our key findings after comparing the performance of these posts:

  • Threads showcased higher average overall likes for the analyzed posts compared to Twitter. On average, brands generated 13 times more likes on Threads.
  • Threads showed a higher average number of replies than Twitter. Netflix, for instance, saw 256 times more replies on Threads.
  • Only two of the brands (Oreo and BMW) who tailored their post to the new platform got more replies on Twitter, though all of them got more likes on Threads.
  • Threads showed a higher average engagement rate than Twitter (1.32% vs. 0.01%).
  • Netflix boasts a 3.72% engagement rate, making it the brand who managed the most engagement of all the 30 brands we analyzed.

A Month Later: Is Threads Still Trendy?

In this follow-up analysis, we revisited the performance of the 30 previously selected brands on both X and Threads. We used the same metrics for the analysis, but this time we also compared the growth each brand saw regarding followers, likes, and replies.

Additionally, we explored whether more brands started publishing the same content on both platforms and if Threads continued to gain momentum in comparison to X.

In general:

  • More than half of the brands in this study lost followers on X, with TIME being the brand that lost the highest number of followers (29,219) in a month. Still, overall, brands collectively got 800,000+ more followers than they collectively lost.
  • All brands increased their following on Threads. On average, the brands we analyzed saw a 400% increase, with Wired boasting the biggest follower growth (going from 13,700 to 212,000 followers in just a month). As of August 2023, of the 30 brands we looked at, the one with the highest number of followers on Threads is still Netflix, which now has over 3 million followers — roughly three times more than it had last month.
  • User engagement decreased on Threads. Collectively, all 30 brands got 29,925 likes and 15,794 replies less than in the previous month.
  • Over 25% of the brands we analyzed changed their posting strategies: 6 (Decathlon UK, HBO, MailChimp, Netflix, Oreo, and The Washington Post) went from posting different content to posting the same on both platforms. However, 2 brands (RedBull and Vogue Magazine) did the opposite — they started posting something different.
  • RedBull stopped making simultaneous posts on both platforms. Not only is the brand posting different content on each, but it is also letting days go by in-between posts. Since it no longer meets the requirements we initially established for this study, we decided to leave it out of this follow-up analysis.
Of the 30 brands we selected, in this new update, 24 made the same post on both platforms. These are our key findings after comparing the performance of those identical posts:

  • Only 7 of these 24 brands got more likes on Threads than they did last month. Not only are brands seeing less user engagement on Threads, but they got collectively more likes on X than on META’s new platform (45,000 vs. 13,000). Last month, it was the other way around (26,000 vs. 41,000).
  • Variety had the highest engagement rate across both platforms. The Magazine’s post got 26,500 likes on X and 1,083 likes on Threads. As for replies, it got 552 on X and 72 on Threads. All in all, Variety got a 0.49 engagement rate on Threads and a 0.93 rate on X — the highest of all 30 brands we analyzed.
  • Some brands got a better response on Threads, despite having more followers on X. For instance, a post made by Universal Pictures got 666 likes on Threads and 296 on X. It also sparked 19 and 2 replies, respectively. Interestingly, the difference in user engagement is not as dramatic as it is with brands that got a better response on X.
  • The brand that got the highest user engagement on Threads was Netflix. One of its recent posts got 4,970 likes and 136 replies on Threads; however, since Netflix was also the brand that had the biggest follower growth (1.9 million new followers), the brand’s engagement rate amounted to just 0.17.
-TABLE-1
Table 3.1. Brands that posted the same content in both platforms (updated)
-TABLE-2
Table 3.2. Brands that posted the same content in both platforms (updated)
Of the 30 brands we selected, 5 made a different post on both platforms at roughly the same time. These are our key findings after comparing the performance of those posts:

  • All of these brands got less engagement on both platforms compared to the previous month. Collectively, all 5 brands got about 3,000 fewer likes on each platform this month. They also got fewer replies — 359 fewer on X and 216 fewer on Threads.
  • BMW made the best performing post of this list. This brand is actually the only one of the list that got more likes on both platforms compared to the previous month, boasting a 229% increase on X and a 311% increase on Threads. The post also got 142 replies on Threads — 323% more than it got on X.
  • Brands that tailored their posts for each platform got better results on Threads. Unlike brands that posted the same content on both platforms, these brands got more engagement on Threads than on X. On average, each brand saw 2,450% more likes and 872% more replies on Threads than on X.
Changing strategies seems to have worked for Vogue Magazine — its post on Threads got 1,743 likes and 38 replies. For comparison, the post that the magazine made on X garnered only 22 likes and 2 replies. In other words, Vogue’s Threads post got nearly 8,000% more likes than its X post.

-TABLE-3
Table 4.1. Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms (updated)
-TABLE-4
Table 4.2. Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms (updated)

Conclusion

When we first started this analysis, immediately after Threads started operations, we noticed that only 10 of the 30 brands we selected posted something unique on Threads. However, the vast majority of the posts we went through generated significantly higher engagement on META’s new platform — no matter if the content itself was the same as on X.

Now, one month later, we can see that the furor surrounding Threads is starting to wear off. Although all the brands we analyzed saw a significant increase in their number of followers, they also saw lower user engagement rates with their more recent posts.

We also noticed that more brands started posting the same content on both platforms. This could be due to the fact that X and Threads seem to be much too similar in terms of core features, and social media marketers determined that there’s nothing wrong with posts being nearly identical as well. After all, Threads is still relatively new, and a strategy to capitalize on the unique strengths of each platform could still be in the works. Either way, novelty seems to be on their side — at least so far.

As for X, it appears to be here to stay. While Musk’s platform has been surrounded by controversy and certainly lost some users recently, the brands’ overall follower count seems to be on the rise.

Now, while X still holds a dominant position in the social media landscape, Threads’ performance in this analysis indicates that it is not to be underestimated. The platform’s ability to attract new followers and generate higher engagement through likes and replies suggests a growing user base that actively interacts with content.

Only time will tell how these two platforms will continue to prompt engagement between users and brands. We’ll keep an eye out and be sure to bring you the data.

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