Threads, the text-based conversational app that’s taking the beauty industry by storm, is now the fastest-growing app in history reaching 100 million users within just five days of launching on July 5, surpassing ChatGPT’s record of 100 million users within two months of launch. One reason for its fast growth? Threads has an Instagram integration that requires users to register through their Instagram accounts which automatically populates a user’s profile details and the accounts they follow.

Parent company Meta introduced Threads as “a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations.” Like Twitter, Threads allows users to post short updates with text up to 500 characters, links, photos, and videos up to five minutes in length. It also has buttons to like, repost, reply to, or quote a thread. Each post displays the number of likes and replies below its content. Users can set their audience by choosing between a private or public profile.

In addition, Instagram is launching branded content tools on Threads, a source told Axios, giving marketers a way to get involved with paid promotion on the app, which is very popular with beauty brands. Instagram’s terms of service applies to Threads and includes guidance for sponsored content. Brands that work with influencers are required to use Instagram’s branded content tools which include paid partnership labels and are only available to eligible brands. Advertising is still off limits on Threads for now.

Pre-launch, celebs and influencers were invited to help create the culture. Many beauty brands jumped in early to use it to communicate conversationally with their communities. Early adopters include Kim Kardashian (4.9M followers), Kylie Jenner (4.8M followers), Sephora (841K followers), Ulta Beauty (269K followers), Rare Beauty (425K followers). Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has said that Threads isn’t focused on news and politics but instead wants to build communities around beauty, fashion, and sports.

Here, some of the key takeaways of Instagram’s latest social platform.

  1. Threads’ Instagram (IG) integration makes it easy to scale quickly and for users to jump in.
    • It will likely lure beauty brands that historically invested more in IG than Twitter for marketing.
    • Since posts can be shared seamlessly between Threads and IG, this makes it easy for users to use both platforms.
  2. Given the popularity of Reddit Skincare Addiction, it’s clear that text-based conversation in the beauty industry is desired. Threads is a new forum where conversations are the focus rather than comments on pictures and videos.
    • Text-based content is cheaper and faster to create.
    • However, Threads’ users right now are mostly IG users such as beauty and fashion brands and influencers focused on visual images and videos; they didn’t invest much in Twitter and are not accustomed to short text-based posts; this may be a challenge for many new users and a reason for the drop in daily active users and engagement. (It’s number of daily active users has dropped by 20% since launch, and its user engagement has dropped by 50%.)
  3. For now, achieving a diverse audience initially is difficult.
    • Many accounts on IG are private, and the bar for asking someone to accept you to their private IG is high. By contrast, on Twitter, it is customary to follow accounts of people you don’t know or agree with to be a part of public conversations.
    • Users will need to proactively follow diverse accounts on Threads for a broad range of viewpoints and conversation.
  4. The 90-9-1 Rule for Participation Inequality in Social Media and Online Communities applies.
    • 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.
  5. Threads is touted as a friendlier platform, but Meta failed to create a safe place for teens on IG.
  6. All social media has had issues of misinformation including Meta-owned platforms Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram, so Threads could also suffer from this issue.
    • According to a Statista report, 57.7% of misinformation recommended by Instagram contained content about the coronavirus. Overall, 21.2% of misinformation posts contained content about vaccines, and 12.5% of recommended misinformation was surrounding elections. Overall, over 37% of misinformation came from Instagram’s suggested posts feature.

Overall, Threads’ signup numbers aren’t directly comparable to Twitter’s active user numbers since many people signing up are not actively using the app. However, Meta’s other platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, all boast active user bases of more than 2 billion so it may eventually get there.

The viability of Threads hinges on a number of things. One is whether it can maintain user interest and relevance in the future. Another is its future business considerations for brands and retailers, such as online advertising and commerce, which are Meta’s specialty. As of now, neither are available in Threads yet.