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Threads: Meta needs more 'written data' from users, MNTN CEO says

Meta's Twitter rival Threads, has drawn in over 100 million users since its launch less than a week ago. MNTN CEO Mark Douglas joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss consumer interest in the app and the value of user data to Meta.

Video Transcript

- Meta's latest launch of Twitter rival, Threads, has been gaining a lot of traction. The company has seen over 100 million users join the platform, since its launched last week. And new data from Cloudflare shows that Twitter is definitely feeling the heat, seeing traffic to its product drop, since Elon Musk took over and made significant changes to the platform.

But is that enough for Threads to become a major revenue driver for Meta or just a chance for Mark Zuckerberg to pull one over on Elon Musk. Currently, Threads has no ads. And the CFO, Adam Mosseri, said in recent interviews that Meta has no plans to monetize the platform as of yet.

Advertisers will flock to the most popular site. But it's too early to tell if Threads can keep its hold over consumers that have short attention spans. So let's bring in MNTN CEO Mark Douglas to discuss more.

Mark, good to see you here today. I assume that you're on Threads, at this point. So take us into your take of the UX, the user experience, and how they can begin to eventually add this into the expectations of investors for where the revenue is going to come in from.

MARK DOUGLAS: Well, I think my initial experience is similar to everyone else. It's a sea of blue check marks. I haven't seen literally a single post from an actual friend.

I'm only seeing posts from people that want to jump on the platform. If it grows and becomes popular, they want to build a following, so social media influencers. And so we'll see if it moves beyond that.

Remember, Google launched Google Plus probably a decade ago, maybe even a little longer. Initially, it had a huge amount of following. And then it just essentially disappeared.

In terms of the advertising, I actually agree. I don't think they'll have ads on Google Threads, even if it gained significant popularity. The data they collect for it-- from it is far more valuable than the ad space.

Meta does not have a shortage of ad space. They don't need more. What they need is more data, and written data.

Like if you say, hey, I'm thinking of going to Maldives, that statement is very valuable to advertisers. So that's likely what's going to happen with Threads in terms of the ad business. It becomes a source of data for them, instead of a source of ad space.

- You know, it's so interesting, Mark. It's Julie here. It's good to see you.

Because it feels like Meta knows everything about us already. From an advertiser perspective, what do advertisers want to know? What data is most valuable to them right now that Meta, perhaps, stands to gain through Threads?

MARK DOUGLAS: Well, that's the thing. Meta used to know a lot more about you. So when the platforms, where you post videos, and you post pictures, they don't monetize as well.

So Meta started out as this platform where you could express where you are, and what you're doing with Facebook. And then, as it's become more video centric, the data they collect is just simply not as good.

Nothing monetizes better than search. The closer you get to expressing what you're thinking in the moment or what you need in the moment, the better, the more valuable that data is both to that platform, as well as to advertisers. And that's what interesting enough.

That, by itself, would make Threads very popular to Meta, to get back to that point, where they have that kind of expression of what you're interested in. That's what's really important about this platform, if they can get you, not just people to download the app, but to actually use it, to actually engage with it, which is not really occurring, yet, at least, I'm not seeing it in my Threads feed.

- Some of that permeation of content from other social media platforms has been how the user-generated content can actually make its way into other parts of the internet and surface back up, either in Stories or essentially be part of SEO aggregation, if you will, or ranking, even.

Is there any clarity around how Threads or how Meta has a plan for Threads to also be able to aggregate into those searches?

MARK DOUGLAS: Yeah, so I think-- actually, I think that's an interesting point. I mean, when you use Threads right now, it almost looks like Instagram 0.9, like the version that never got released. The feeds are very similar.

They seem interchangeable. They look different, but the content looks very similar. So I think the ability to go in and out these different platforms is already happening.

And I think it's a big part of strategy to make sure these feeds are very active. And so even if I don't post on it, but I post on Instagram, I'm sure I didn't read the, you know, privacy policy.

But I imagine it allows them to take posts from one platform, and put it into another. So that's all very interesting. In terms of like we were just talking about, again, the ability to kind of take the words and mix that with maybe other content on another platform in your feed, I think is absolutely going to happen.

And it may be enough to get Threads to be a different enough experience from Twitter, where people see it differently. And they engage with it differently, which is I think what Meta needs for the platform to succeed.