X vs Threads: Small changes…big implications?

X are reportedly testing a different approach to sharing link previews on the platform. 

The lower text panel will now be gone – there’ll no longer be an auto-generated header or preview text snippet. You’ll just get an image preview, and that’s it.

The idea is to keep more engagement on the platform, condense the feed-scrolling experience, and put the onus on users to create X-specific posts (as opposed to relying on the article link to convey relevant info).

🫵What this means for YOU🫵

I’d imagine this is likely to affect publishers and journalists, as well as anyone else who depends on regularly sharing external links as part of their content strategy. If you currently depend on preview cards, you’ll have to adjust your approach to ensure optimal display for your shared links. This update might also affect your previous posts, extending to all current content. Since your link posts are likely to display as a standalone image, this may potentially lead to the loss of significant context from your original tweet (your original ‘X’?! Na, not happening – they’re tweets.)

 The link-sharing update is currently in testing and it’s not yet clear when it will be rolled out on X. Reportedly, the early feedback from brands was quite negative, but Elon is likely to go ahead anyway.

👀Meanwhile, at Threads..👀

Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Mosseri are reportedly about to launch the web version of Threads. This could really help the platform get back on track – after an initial boom of a launch, the active usership numbers have been dwindling. Most have pointed out the lack of key features – content isn’t searchable and there’s no dedicated ‘trending’ feed. Having a dedicated web app will especially help publishers and journalists, as they’d be able to monitor activity in a separate window, or publish while they manage their other platforms. 

In fact, the web app may have launched by the time you’re reading this. You can check if you’ve got access here: https://www.threads.net/ 

📲 What this means for the wider industry 📲

I’m not writing off Threads just yet. Despite having a lull since it first launched, the app is only just getting started. The web app alongside other new features can breathe new life into the platform, and there’s a high chance that we’ll see paid integration with Meta Ads Manager in the future, brining advertisers onboard. With that in mind, brands and publishers that are active on both platforms will likely start comparing the click-through and engagement rates between the two, which may result in some deciding to prioritise Threads over X.

Social moves fast, so it won’t be long until we see how far-reaching the effects of these updates will be.

By Mark Shpungin – Senior Social Strategist