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Threads and Affiliate Marketing: What You Need to Know

threads and affiliate marketing

Threads and Affiliate Marketing: What You Need to Know

If you are anywhere online these days, you have heard about Threads, the new Meta app that is attempting to be a Twitter alternative. Setting aside all of the politics and personalities behind the situation, it’s clear that Threads is getting some traction, at least for now. And it’s easy to think with Meta behind it that it could go the distance like their other major social media platforms (Instagram and Facebook) where affiliate marketers market and influencers influence.

So I spent a little time on Threads myself in addition to talking to fellow PMA members about what they think about Threads and its potential for affiliate marketers and influencers. Here are some thoughts!

Branding on Threads

Building your brand identity on Threads is fairly straight-forward as long as your brand has an Instagram account to use for signup. You will have your logo plus on your bio page you can include a description of your company and the link to your site.

“In an ongoing effort to stay relevant and ultimately drive revenue, smart brands, no matter how a business may choose to engage in branding, should be on the lookout for new avenues in which to build awareness. By making available an alternative, Threads offers just that,” said James Revell, Head of Ecommerce, North America, Admitad, a Migo company.

Huge brands were already jumping on Threads in the first 24 hours, including major retailers like Walmart. Some of the most successful brands were getting in early (like Wendy’s) just to reply to a lot of other accounts in creative ways.

Affiliate Links on Threads

Unlike other hot apps like TikTok, it’s a lot easier to drop affiliate links on Threads–similar to Twitter and Facebook. This makes it a platform ideal for affiliate marketers, assuming they can build their audience. You can include photos and videos with the links in the posts. The videos are currently limited to 5 minutes.

“We will undoubtedly see marketers embrace monetization of content on the Threads platform, but we’re in a testing the waters period. It’s best to get acquainted with the platform and leverage the fact that there isn’t any native advertising right now,” suggested Nathan (CoffeeNate) Smith, Zynali Marketing Solutions.

I personally haven’t seen actual affiliate links on Threads yet but have seen affiliates linking out to their sites that have affiliate links on them. I’m guessing it’s just because everyone is trying not to be too market-y yet. That won’t last for long.

Disclosure for Affiliates and Influencers

Because you have up to 500 characters per post, it’s super easy to include affiliate disclosures. In fact, more than on most other platforms. All of the new FTC Guidelines updates will apply to Threads just as they apply to other endorsements. You can also tag any brands that are already on Threads as part of your disclosure (although it’s not necessary unless that is part of your contract with them).

Here’s an example I already saw by content creator Adam Rose, who posted about Futurama and both tagged Hulu and used the hashtag #HuluPartner:

(If you check out my Affiliate and Influencer Disclosure Cheat Sheet, you will see that the FTC specifically allows for “HuluPartner”. “#Hulu_Partner” would have also been allowed)

It’s likely that Threads will begin using some type of branded content tool like Instagram has before too long. Remember that even if Threads does add some type of disclosure tool to the app in the future, you can’t rely on that built-in tool unless it also satisfies all of the other requirements of the new Guidelines.

Advertising on Threads

While there is no paid advertisement system yet for Threads, we know it’s coming. Meta has mastered monetization through ads, and there is no reason to think that Threads won’t be the same. They just need to get enough people actively using the app before they add the ads. Rumors abound that the ad system will be in place in the next 3-6 months.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg actually responded to a Thread user by saying “Our approach will be the same as all our other products: make the product work well first, then see if we can get it on a clear path to 1 billion people, and only then think about monetization at that point.”

My money would be on sometime before the holiday shopping season.

International Affiliate Marketers

Bad news for marketers in the EU. Although the app is available in over 100 countries, it is not available in the EU due to privacy issues. Because of the EU’s upcoming Digital Markets Act, the rollout in much of Europe has been delayed. But remember that the UK is no longer a part of the EU, so it is available there. (Thanks, Brexit??)

Effectiveness for Marketing

Right now there are SO many downsides to trying to attempt to market on Threads, including the inability to search hashtags, everyone trying to be “friendly,” and the cluttered Home feed, which contains non-chronological posts that from accounts that users aren’t even following. There also isn’t a web interface, which many affiliate marketers use, or an integration with automatic posting software. No doubt most of that is coming, but it will take some time.

General Affiliate Communications

As with all other forms of social media, Threads will certainly become a place where affiliate marketers connect, share news, and network. I’ve seen a number of people sharing general affiliate marketing news links already, despite there not being a good way to search for affiliate marketing news. In addition, many of our members have already activated their company accounts, whether they are posting from them or not.

Karen Garcia, CEO of Lab6 Media, adds “It’s crucial to acknowledge that this new beginning with Threads is still in its early stages. As we all venture into using the platform, it’s important to remember and apply industry best practices to ensure a successful experience.”

Time will tell whether Threads becomes a hot spot for affiliate marketers, but we always seem to find a way to make the most of any new media. For now, you can find me on Threads @sunshinetricia!

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Tricia Meyer is an attorney and affiliate marketer. She is the founder and owner of Helping Moms Connect and Sunshine Rewards as well as the current Executive Director of the Performance Marketing Association. You can find her on Twitter @SunshineTricia.

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