It’s interesting seeing how social platforms are gradually looking to integrate paid subscription models, and how most are failing to generate significant interest in their offerings.
Because they actually do have a template for success on this front, at least to a more significant degree, with Snapchat’s Snapchat+ subscriber package now up to 5 million paying members, rising from 4 million back in June, meaning that Snap has added a million more paying subscribers in just three months.
For comparison, X Premium (formerly “Twitter Blue”) currently has around a million paying members in total, despite X’s expanding efforts to incentivize sign-up to its paid verification program. Meta hasn’t reported subscriber numbers for its Meta Verified plan, but that’s also unlikely to be reaching the same numbers as Snapchat+, which is now generating close to $20 million per month in direct revenue for the app.
To be clear, that’s still only a fraction of overall Snap users. Snapchat currently has over 750 million monthly actives, which means that of all of its users, only 0.67% of Snap users are paying to use the app.
But again, that’s still a lot more successful than some of the other subscription programs, with Snap potentially showing the way forward for such, by providing add-on utility and benefit, as opposed to simply asking users to pay.
As per Snap:
“Since launch, subscribers have been the first to try more than 20 new features including our latest AI powered products, like My AI and Dreams, before they roll out widely to the rest of our community. In the past few weeks, we’ve also introduced extra Streak restores and expressive text sizes to emphasize what really matters.”
I mean, extra fonts and app icons are nothing major, but Snap streaks are a big deal to many users, while priority replies, chat wallpapers, longer story expiration options, and more, all have unique value to the Snap community.
Which, in some ways, is why Snap is seeing more take-up, because Snapchat plays a more connective role for users, and is a more intimate, personal tool, which links them to their close friends. That stronger affinity could make Snap users more likely to pay to use the app, though I do think that Snap has taken a more equitable approach to its subscription offering, in considering user benefits first, as opposed to trying to pitch them on features of little interest.
X, of course, has made its verification offering a vehicle for combating bots, pushing users to sign up to essentially join the cause to help the app. The problem is, most users don’t feel connected to X the way to do Snap, and because most X users never post, a lot of the add-on benefits really aren’t worth the investment.
Still, X seems to think that users should sign up anyway, in support of free speech, or Elon Musk, or whatever else the blue checkmark now represents. That’s probably a flawed strategy, and X could consider instead taking a leaf out of Snap’s book to better incentivize take-up moving forward.
Or it could just pay gate everyone, which has been another speculated, potential move. Musk has pretty much denied that this is in consideration, but it has seemingly been on the cards for some time, as a possible option to boost paying subscriber take-up.
I don’t think X will ever take that step, and again, it should probably consider the success of Snapchat+ before moving on to that stage.
Maybe it will, and maybe, as more social platforms look to paying options, Snapchat+ will provide more inspiration, driving improvement in such offerings moving forward.