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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 February 26, 2024
February 26, 2024
In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, competition among platforms intensifies as users seek new and engaging experiences. In July 2023, a new player called “Threads” entered the scene, positioning itself as a text-based alternative to Instagram. As X’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 X 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 X 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 team has been keeping tabs on the performance of the selected brands on both X and Threads since the latter made its debut. Here’s a breakdown of our findings:

Right After Launch

Threads became available to the public on July 5th, 2023. By day #2, we had surmised the following:
  • The number of followers varied significantly between X and Threads for the analyzed brands. Considering how new the latter was, it’s unsurprising that established brands typically had a larger following on X compared to Threads.
  • On average, newspages on Threads appeared to have approximately 1% of the number of followers they had on X. For comparison, popular brands in other industries had enticed a larger percentage of its follower base on Threads (e.g., RedBull’s Threads account already had 15% of the followers it had on X).
  • Newspages and firms in the entertainment industry seemed 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 appeared to post more frequently.
  • 87% of the brands we analyzed generated more likes on Threads than on X. 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 X and Threads.
  • X showcased higher average overall likes for the analyzed posts compared to Threads. On average, the posts got 1.4 times more likes on X than on Threads.
  • 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 X (0.45% vs. 0.02%).
  • The brand that saw the highest engagement rate was Mcdonald’s, boasting 3.36%.
TABLE-2
Table 2. Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms

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 spurred the most engagement of all the 30 brands we analyzed.

A Month Later

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, TIME, for instance, was the brand that lost the highest number of followers. It saw 29,219 of them drift away in just 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. Wired boasted 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 was still Netflix. It had over 3 million followers — roughly three times more than it had the month before.
  • 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. Aside from tailoring the content, the brand also seemed to be letting days go by in-between posts. Since it no longer met 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 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 the previous month. Not only did brands see less user engagement on Threads, but they got collectively more likes on X than on META’s new platform (45,000 vs. 13,000).  Back in July, it was much closer (26,000 for X vs. 19,000 for Threads).
  • 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 was not as dramatic as it was with brands that got a better response on X.
  • The brand that got the highest user engagement on Threads was Netflix. One of its 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. The brand was 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 - 4
Table 4.1. Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms (updated)
Table 4.2. Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms (updated)
Table 4.2. Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms (updated)

Early 2024


Six months later, we went back to see how our 30 selected brands were doing on both X and Threads. We used the same metrics as the previous analysis, but this time we also compared how often these companies posted on each platform.

In general:
  • All 30 brands’ follower bases continued to grow on Threads. Netflix is still the company with the biggest following by far, boasting 4.6 million followers on Threads by February 2024. Netflix also features in the top 3 most followed companies on X, with 22.5 million followers. Although its follower base is still ~5 times larger on X than on Threads, the gap is slowly closing. Back in July 2023, it was 20 times larger; a month later, it was down to 7 times.
  • 13 of the 30 brands from our original analysis have lost followers on X since Threads launched. Collectively, they’ve lost over 250,000 followers, with Wired being the one that lost the most (74,095). However, given that most of the brands we selected had well over 1 million followers when we began our analysis, the losses represent less than 0.1% of the initial collective following. And overall, the 30 brands we analyzed have attracted a total 3.4 million more followers on X since Threads came out.
  • User engagement has decreased on both platforms. Back when Threads launched, the average engagement rate was 0.84; by this third revision, the average is down to 0.028. For comparison, X’s engagement rate went from an average 0.02 to just 0.006. In other words, although user engagement saw a more drastic decline on Threads, the average rate is still higher than on X.
  • 5 of the 30 companies we selected stopped posting on Threads. By the time the sample for this analysis was taken, Entertainment Weekly, Cisco, McDonald’s, TIME, and Oreo had not made a single post on Threads in at least two months. Additionally, one brand (MailChimp) had stopped posting on X, and another (Decathlon UK) ceased posting on both since the summer of 2023. As they no longer met the requirements we initially established for this study, we left them out of this follow-up analysis.
  • Most brands post significantly less on Threads than on X. Only two brands (HBO and CNN) post more frequently on Threads than on X; others (BMW, Universal Pictures, and RedBull) post at the same rate on both platforms; the rest seem to favor X.
  • Newspages post more frequently than other brands. All except for CNN make over 20 posts a day on X. Reuters, for instance, is the brand that posts the most on both platforms, having made ~350 posts on X and ~50 posts on Threads the day the sample was taken. On the other hand, brands that sell consumer products (e.g. RedBull, BMW) seem to prefer posting just once a day on X and Threads.
TABLE 5
Table 5. Frequency of Threads and X posts across the brands analysed (updated)
In this update, only three brands made unique posts on Threads (down from five in August 2023). These are our key findings after comparing the performance of these posts to the ones made on X at around the same time:
  • All three brands are in the entertainment industry. Universal Pictures, HBO, and IMDB made a different post on Threads than they did on X. Two other brands in our list (IGN and Netflix) are in the same industry and made at least one identical post on both platforms. There seems to be no correlation between the type of post and the user engagement it prompted.
  • IMDB is the only brand on the list that has consistently made unique posts on Threads throughout the period we’ve analyzed. Other brands may have started out tailoring their posts for Meta’s newest platform, but they stopped doing so at some point in the past seven months. That said, Universal Pictures made similar posts on both platforms the last two times we did this analysis, but made a different one on Threads this time around.
  • HBO’s posts garnered above-average user engagement. The brand scored 0.029 on Threads and 0.017 on X, both of which surpass the platforms’ average engagement rate (0.028 and 0.006, respectively). Alas, Universal Pictures’ and IMDB’s posts were not so popular among their followers on either platform. In terms of engagement, the former scored 0.021 on Threads and 0.002 on X, and the latter drew just 0.009 and 0.004.
  • Universal Pictures’ post on Threads got a slightly better response than the one on X. Despite having nearly 10 times more followers on X, Universal got three times more replies and 15% more likes on Threads. The response to HBO’s and IMDB’s posts, for comparison, was greater on X. In fact, HBO got twice as many likes on X as on Threads (503 vs. 257), while IMDB got three times as many (156 vs. 46).
Table 6.1 Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms (updated)
Table 6.1 Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms (updated)
table 6
Table 6.2 Brands that posted different content in similar timeframes on both platforms (updated)
The remaining 20 brands that post across both platforms made the same posts on X and Threads. Here’s what we can conclude after comparing the performance of those identical posts:
  • Fewer brands got more likes on Threads than on X. In our previous analysis, 13 of these 20 brands garnered more likes on the new platform; this time, only 7 did (Reuters, Vogue Magazine, USAToday, RedBull, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and BMW). The most liked post on Threads on our list was Vogue’s. The magazine announced Sofia Richie Grainge’s pregnancy and earned 2,103 likes — more than double the likes of the second most liked post on Threads (BMW, 1,030 likes), yet less than half the likes of the most liked post on X (Netflix, 4,400).
  • X posts attract more replies than Threads posts. Not only did posts generally earn more likes on X, but they also got more comments. Combined, all 20 posts got 6,821 likes and 566 replies on Threads; for comparison, the same 20 posts got a total 10,507 likes and 832 replies on X. The most commented post on X was CNN’s, who reported Biden’s intention of “targeting violent settlers in the West Bank”. It prompted 234 replies on X — that’s ~7 times as many comments as the same post got on Threads.
  • Only Netflix and BMW generated a higher engagement on X than on Threads. Although the likes and replies count is significantly higher on X across the board, the number of people that interact with the posts is really small compared to the number of followers brands have. CNN, for instance, has 62 million followers on X, yet only 227 liked its post, earning a 0.001 engagement rate. Now, the same brand got fewer likes and comments on Threads (164 and 34, respectively), but since its follower count is also significantly smaller (2.7 million), the post technically earned a higher engagement rate (0.007).
  • Reuters’ post earned the highest engagement rate on Threads. The newspage made the same post on both X and Threads, yet got a vastly different response. With the post’s 979 likes and 57 replies, and its over 800,000 followers on Threads, Reuters scored a 0.123 engagement rate — the highest of our list by far. The exact same post got 86 likes and 23 comments on X, which is not a small response in itself, but pales in comparison to people’s overwhelming response on Threads. Furthermore, Reuters’ 25+ million follower count on X meant the post’s engagement rate was just 0.0004. In other words, this specific post was 307 times more engaging on Threads than on X. Interestingly, Reuters’ post was about Elon Musk not coming out on top of a legal situation. Perhaps former X users decided to show their appreciation for the story on Threads.
table 7
Table 7.1 Brands that posted the same content on both platforms (updated)
Table 7.2
Table 7.2 Brands that posted the same content on both platforms (updated)

Conclusion

When we first started this analysis, immediately after Threads began 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.

A month later, though, it was clear that the furor surrounding Threads was 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.

Now, over half a year later, the numbers on Threads keep on dropping. Fewer brands are making fewer posts that get fewer likes and fewer replies. Furthermore, if the trends continue as they are, the more followers brands get on Threads, the lower the engagement rates will be. That said, Threads still has a significantly higher engagement rate than X.

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. Alternatively, it could also be that brands simply don’t think it’s worth the effort to tailor the content for Threads when in general they seem to reach more people and get a better response from X.

While Musk’s platform has been surrounded by controversy and lost some users recently, the brands’ overall follower count seems to be on the rise (by 3.4 million across the brands we’ve followed since the launch of Threads). Most notably, brands tend to post much more frequently on X than they do on Threads — even if their strategy is to post the same content on both platforms. In fact, six of the 30 brands we selected stopped posting altogether on Threads for at least two months.

However, that doesn’t mean that we can write Threads off just yet. It is still relatively new, and a strategy to capitalize on the unique strengths of each platform could still be in the works.  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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