A Marketer’s Guide to the Fediverse: Usage and Receptivity

How do consumers feel about social media’s new era?

The fediverse has captured industry attention for its novel view of decentralized social media. Growing frustration with social fragmentation, content moderation, and data breaches has placed newfound importance on privacy and community. And, the integration of Threads has fueled hype around the concept.

Our first article in the series provides an overview of the fediverse including how it works, its most popular networks, and the brand-building opportunity it offers. To delve deeper into how brands can resonate with consumers in this new era of social media, we turned to the DISQO brand experience (BX) platform. Leveraging insights from our opted-in audience of over 2.3M, we share key takeaways about what consumers think about the fediverse. 

But first… why are people seeking alternatives to mainstream platforms?

Social media has seen a tumultuous few years. Twitter (aka X) has undergone a massive transformation with Elon Musk’s takeover. Threads launched as an alternative to X, but has since plateaued. And, TikTok is facing a potential U.S. ban. Through all of this, big tech has faced increased scrutiny over their privacy practices, content moderation, trafficking of misinformation, and more. 

How has this impacted consumer perceptions of the current social media landscape? 

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As worrying headlines about social platforms envelop consumers, it’s not surprising that consumer trust in big tech is low. Half of people (49%) reported negative feelings about the current state of social media, and only 15% reported positive feelings. While younger people showed more enthusiasm than those who were older, over a third still reported negative sentiment. Even digital natives were not blind to social’s pitfalls. 

Are people actually in the fediverse yet?

Given the prevailing negative sentiment about mainstream social platforms, it makes sense that consumers might be interested in a concept like the fediverse. But, how many people have actually taken the leap? Not many…

Younger consumers are leading the charge.

Only 7% of consumers overall report having used a fediverse platform. However, there’s a clear generational divide. Younger consumers have the largest footprint by far; 17% of Gen Z report having used these platforms. This tracks with their inclination toward private communities for social discourse, as seen by the burgeoning popularity of Discord, Geneva, and Patreon. Brands that want to participate in “water-cooler” conversations with Gen Z could benefit from growing an organic fediverse presence.

Excitement is high, even among those who haven’t used it.

Nearly a third of consumers (30%) said they were excited about the concept of the fediverse. This is quite high given the fediverse’s novelty. It’s worth noting that 27% of consumers said that they were excited about the concept, yet hadn’t used it. This underscores the appeal of the fediverse concept, as many have bought in without even trying out one of the networks.

How do people feel about mainstream platforms integrating with the fediverse?

The fediverse has emerged to address the perceived shortcomings of mainstream social media, including privacy risks, siloed platforms, and centralized control over user data. But what if mainstream platforms adopted the same values as the fediverse? Does that improve brand perceptions of today’s popular social platforms? 

Integrations overall don’t improve brand perceptions of mainstream platforms; only 10% said it would. And, a quarter of consumers said an integration would actually result in worse perceptions. 

It’s hard to say whether consumers simply aren’t interested in legacy social platforms connecting with the fediverse, or if they’re concerned that a major platform like Meta would overshadow the smaller, niche communities. Overall, Threads and Tumblr must be mindful of the brand experiences they deliver in the fediverse to ensure they don’t compound existing negative sentiment.

How prepared are you to take on emerging platforms?

Fediverse adoption is not mainstream yet, but given the meteoric rise of many of today’s most popular social media networks, brands must be positioned to quickly adapt. This also means keeping a pulse on consumer attitudes and ensuring your measurement frameworks are ready to take on new platforms as they emerge. Find out how ready you are…



Stay tuned for the next article in A Marketer’s Guide to the Fediverse. We’ll explore what motivates or deters consumers from engaging with fediverse platforms, preferred formats, and community-building tactics. 

Insights are based on a survey of 13,000+ consumers, fielded January 8-10, 2024. Weighted to represent the US audience on age, gender, and income. 

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