Zucker Punch

Zucker Punch

5 July 2023

Is Threads a Zucker Punch to Twitter.

This is Vol 2 of Musk’s Twitter, a continuing series where I keep up to date with the platforms fast changing landscape.

A lot has happened since our last catch up on the Elon x Twitter saga.

There’s a new CEO, Linda Yaccarino — whose former role as the head of advertising at NBCUniversal puts some weight back into Twitter’s advertising game.

Twitter Blue has stabilised after some hilarious trolling and ‘changeover pains’.

Subscribers pay $8 a month and get a host of perks, from being able to edit, undo and write longer form tweets, to getting easier access to audio content within Spaces and shortcuts to most shared articles in your network, to seeing 50% fewer ads.

Twitter Spaces has been getting more traction, with Ron DeSantis reaching 4.2 million listeners as he announced his bid to run for the Republican Party nomination.

Ex Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has launched a whole new show, specifically for the Twitter platform — his first episode reaching 80 million viewers in the first 24 hours — completely annihilating his record 4.3 million viewers back on Fox.

Taking advantage of Twitter’s new longer form content, Apple posted an entire episode of their Apple TV hit, Silo. That’s right. An entire episode on a social media network.

Post Musk takeover, lots of advertisers slashed ad spending on Twitter, wiping about 50% off Twitter’s yearly revenues. But their new drive towards video may be able to claw some of that back. The new ad format, still in testing, supports longer form video, like Apple’s use case above as well as TikTok-style short form content.

The new CEO, Yaccarino, has said she is going to fight tooth and nail to strike deals and get brands making the best out of Twitter’s evolving ad space. And some advertisers have already expressed some positive feelings – setting Yaccarino as a ying to Musk’s yang.

She’s taking a serious approach to the advertising side of the business. Less ideological, more focused on striking deals with Google, and building a competent advertising model. There’s still a lot to do, but if she lives up to her nickname, the ‘velvet-hammer’, we might expect to see new deals in this space soon.

But watch out, because hot on their heels comes Mr Zuckerberg. Meta has just released a new short form, text based social media network — Threads. The release comes at a time of weakness at Twitter, with another tweet storm being generated around tweet viewing limits.

Musk is pushing for something never before seen on a social network — limiting content. It’s a model we’re familiar with perhaps on Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube Premium and Patron. And granted, there are some who believe it will help drive Twitter’s profitability, as people move to a more premium subscription model. But taking away something that was once free, leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many.

Is this why Meta’s new Threads was brought forward? Is it an attempt to blindside Twitter? A Zucker punch, you might say.

Threads is offering much of the traditional Twitter experience from a company that has plenty of know-how in the social sphere. And its integration with Instagram may shortcut its user acquisition journey.

Given Meta’s products already have 3.59 billion users, you would expect it to be pretty easy for them to launch a rival to Twitter’s roughly 400 million, and quickly surpass those numbers.

But it’s not always that simple. Remember Google+. Yeah, no one does.

Everyone seems to be talking about the idea of Zuckerberg going toe to toe with Musk in a real life fight that could take place in the Colosseum. Is it real? Is it just a joke? Will it happen? If you ask me, the real fight has already started.

Written by Alex Hamilton