Pay-to-play social media

Posted by Flux on 

13 March 2023

What’s trending?

In recent years, Snapchat, YouTube, and Discord have all introduced a system whereby users pay for special perks. Now, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter want users to sign up for subscriptions. Hot on the heels of the announcement of Twitter Blue – Twitter’s paid verification service – comes Meta Verified, a verification service for Facebook and Instagram, which will cost a user $11.99 a month per app. Meta started testing it in Australia and New Zealand in February before a global rollout which will give paying users more security and visibility. These social media companies are taking the user fees route as they can no longer rely solely on advertising. The advertising market has weakened and increased privacy restrictions make it more difficult to target users with specific ads. Also, the increased threat of regulation has made it harder for these apps to sell advertising. In short, they need to find new ways to make money.

Why is it important?

Meta verification could provide various benefits to businesses, including improved visibility, protection against impersonation, dedicated customer service support and access to additional features. However, this new system comes with disadvantages. The line between advertising and organic content is blurred, with many users already complaining that Instagram, for example, is overly commercialised. The new system could jeopardise the standing of apps with users who don’t want to see more promoted content. It may alienate users who don’t want to pay

What can businesses do about it?

Businesses who rely on Facebook and Instagram advertising would be advised to opt in to this paid system. They will gain greater exposure than when it was entirely free. Businesses who aren’t using Facebook or Instagram should consider it as a strategic tool now that paying for it will gain them greater visibility over other businesses who aren’t paying. The disadvantages mentioned above should of course be weighed up. As yet, Twitter Blue has not seen heightened demand and has not generated significant revenue. However, it remains to be seen how this plays out for Meta in the coming months.

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Image credit: dole777


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