**The Rise of Instagram’s Threads: An Incredible Success Story**
**Threads Proves the Value of a Subscribed Audience**
The rise of Instagram’s Threads has been remarkable. Within three weeks, the app has gained 112 million users, making it the 34th largest social platform. This success demonstrates the value of a subscribed, engaged, and addressable audience. Social media platforms often measure their success based on average revenue per user (ARPU) per week, month, or quarter. Meta’s quarterly ARPU for Facebook and Instagram in the United States and Canada was $48.85 in the first quarter of 2023. However, Threads does not currently sell ads, but if it did, its ARPU might resemble Twitter’s quarterly ARPU of $4.96.
If Threads had a quarterly ARPU of $5 at launch, it would have generated over $2 billion in annual revenue in just two weeks. This highlights the immense value of a subscribed audience.
**Subscribed Audience Power Drives Media Company Projects**
Media companies have long recognized the power of existing audiences when launching new projects. This concept can be seen in the history of television, where networks strategically scheduled new shows to follow popular series, leveraging the lead-in audience. For example, Seinfeld initially struggled in its Wednesday night debut but gained traction when it aired after reruns of Cheers. Ultimately, Seinfeld became one of the top 30 shows by viewership. This strategy extends to modern media properties as well. Movie studios create interconnected universes, introducing characters in one film before spinning them off into their own movies and series. Streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ utilize audience data to guide decision-making, resulting in tailored plotlines, casting choices, and even project development. This powerful connection between a subscribed audience and new products forms the foundation for advertising and sponsorships.
**Engaged, Subscribed Audiences Drive New Products for Brands**
CMI has advocated for the model of developing a relationship with an engaged, subscribed audience for over a decade. The process typically involves transforming various content platforms, such as email newsletters, blogs, and digital magazines, to deliver value to readers rather than sales pitches. The rationale behind this approach is that by attracting a significant audience, businesses can convert those visits or subscribers into customer opportunities. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the journey doesn’t end with building the initial audience. Engaged audiences act as flywheels, adding exponential value to the business.
**Subscribed Audiences Propel New Content to New Heights**
The Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials blog experienced steady growth, reaching 12 million monthly visitors over 10 years. However, when the health library site underwent a revamp, its audience surged from 200,000 to 2 million monthly visitors in just three years. This growth was attributed to the lead-in from the existing blog audience. Another example is a nonprofit organization that relied on two donation strategies. Firstly, seasonal campaigns combined with traditional advertising and paid social media promotion. Secondly, the organization attracted monthly donors through its website. By focusing on audience development, they grew their email list from 10,000 to over 30,000 subscribers and successfully converted many of them into monthly donors. Additionally, the organization’s podcast, promoted to the email subscribers, gained a listening audience of 3,500 followers in the first eight weeks. This podcast fostered a more intimate connection between the organization and its audience, leading to increased monthly donors.
**Understanding the Value of Subscribed Audiences**
Studies show that acquiring a new customer can be up to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Likewise, audiences add value to a business by making marketing and sales more efficient, providing insights for effective customer targeting, and generating revenue. This is where the real business case for content marketing lies. Audiences are among a company’s most valuable assets. Media companies have recognized this and measured its significance. To better understand the value of your audience, consider your average revenue per audience (ARPA). Although building a valuable audience presents challenges, once achieved, it becomes easier and faster to grow. As a brand, tell your story well and leverage the power of your engaged and subscribed audience.
**Conclusion: Harnessing the Power of Subscribed Audiences**
The incredible success of Instagram’s Threads attests to the value of a subscribed, engaged, and addressable audience. Media companies have long understood this concept and have leveraged existing audiences to drive the launch and success of new projects. Brands can also benefit from engaged audiences, as they significantly contribute to the success of new products. Understanding the value of subscribed audiences and investing in their growth can lead to greater efficiency, improved marketing and sales, and increased revenue. Ultimately, audiences become one of the most important assets for any business. By harnessing the power of a subscribed audience, brands can propel their content and products to new heights.