Twitter’s doing it, and Snapchat’s gaining momentum with its paid add-on option. As such, it makes sense for other platforms to consider the same, with Meta reportedly now also investigating the potential of a Twitter Blue-like subscription service for its apps, which could provide another revenue pathway for the social media giant.
As reported by The Verge, Meta’s established a new internal group that will investigate the potential of paid features for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
As per The Verge:
“The new division is Meta’s first serious foray into building paid features across its main social apps, all three of which boast billions of users. It’s being set up after Meta’s ads business was severely hurt by Apple’s ad tracking changes on iOS and a broader pullback in digital ad spending. The group, called New Monetization Experiences, will be led by Pratiti Raychoudhury, who was previously Meta’s head of research.”
It’s not entirely clear what the team will be focused on, with regards to direct subscriptions for add-ons (like Twitter Blue), or expanded monetization tools for creators, from which Meta could take a cut. But it seems like all options are likely on the table, as Meta looks for new ways to maximize its revenue intake.
That could see new, add-on subscription tools added to Instagram, like new NFT features or improved functionality, or maybe Facebook will provide a permanent chronological timeline setting, for a fee.
Some people would pay for that, and maybe that would be worth the potential engagement loss that Meta could see as a result of not showing posts in order of likely interest.
What’s not in consideration, Meta says, is an ad-free option. Ads are Meta’s key money-maker, and it’s not looking to let people avoid them, at least not at this stage.
As noted, Meta is currently investigating all options as it seeks to make up for the billions that its either investing into the metaverse or losing due to reduced ad spend.
Just these two elements are likely to cost Meta well over $20 billion this year alone, which has already spooked investors, who are getting increasingly nervous about Zuck’s future vision. In response, Meta has already cut various projects in order to rationalize costs, and reduce staff headcount in-step.
Indeed, in recent months Meta has culled:
- Its planned smartwatch project
- Sales of its Portal home speaker device as a consumer product
- Exclusive content partnerships with publishers and writers for its Bulletin newsletter project
- Its planned podcast and social audio tools
It’s also delayed production of its AR glasses, while just today, Meta has also announced that it’s ceasing its test of Facebook Neighborhoods, its Nextdoor clone.
These are among the various projects that Meta’s looking to pare back, as it refines its focus on the metaverse, and building the underlying technology that will make it the place to interact online in future.
Which, as the lambasting of Zuckerberg’s recent metaverse selfie shows, still seems a way off.
Adding in more possible revenue streams could help to backfill some of these concerns, and ensure that its metaverse development can continue, away from the rising voices of shareholders who want to know more about where, exactly, the company is heading.
It could also result in some interesting considerations for Facebook and Instagram users, which will no doubt lure at least a few of them in. And at close to 3 billion users (likely more across FB and IG combined), Meta only needs a fraction of its audience to pay up to make it worth trying. Snap, for example, now has a million people paying for Snapchat+, its add-on subscription service, feeding an extra $4 million per month directly into Snapchat’s coffers.
Really, when you consider it from this perspective, it’s a no-brainer, and it’ll be interesting to see what Meta’s new team comes up with on this front.