meta exploring paid

Meta Exploring Paid Facebook, Instagram Features

September 8, 2022

With Twitter already implementing paid features and Snapchat continuing to push the envelope by adding paid add-on features, now Meta is aiming to explore paid features to its platforms. Meta is continuing investigating the overall potential of paid subscription-like services, like Twitter Blue, for Meta’s family of apps. They are looking for a way to increase an all-new revenue pathway being the leading social media platform. 

According to a recent report, Meta has come up with an all-new internal group that will be responsible for investigating the overall potential of add-on paid features for WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. 

An Insight into the New Feature

This new division is the first-ever serious attempt by Meta into the development of paid features across their major social apps, which boast billions of users across the world. This is being set up after the Ad Revenue business of Meta has been significantly hurt by the ad tracking changes of Apple on iOS devices. It is also the result of a major pullback in overall digital ad spending by business owners and marketers. 

The group at Meta has been named New Monetization Experiences. The group is expected to be led by Pratiti Ray Choudhary, previously the Head of Research at Meta.

There has been no clear indication on what the team will be focusing on -with respect to direct subscriptions for add-on features (like Twitter Blue) or the expansion of monetization tools for creators. From this instance, Meta can also take relevant hints. However, all of these appear to be available options on the table and this is due to the fact that Meta continues to look for new ways to maximize the overall revenue intake. 

Add-on Subscription Tools for Instagram

Due to the tech companies innovating in these ways can result in add-on subscription tools to Instagram. For instance, you can expect the addition of new, advanced NFT features for delivering improved functionality to the app. Facebook will also be adding a permanent chronological timeline setting – with an added fee. 

Some people might observe that Meta could see a potential engagement loss. This could be the result of not revealing posts according to the likely interest of the users. According to Meta, the aspect that is still not in consideration is the ad-free option. Ads tend to be the core money-generator for Meta. Therefore, the platform is not looking towards allowing people to avoid seeing advertisements though a paid subscription -at least not currently. 

Meta is currently going through all possible options as it aims at making up for billions that might be either investing into the metaverse or losing it all out due to minimal ad spend. 

It is expected that only a portion of Meta will cost more than $20 billion this year itself. This has created some havoc amongst investors. Investors are nowadays getting increasingly anxious about the future vision of Mark Zuckerberg. As a response to this, Meta has already minimized multiple projects towards rationalizing costs while reducing staff headcount. 

Recently, Meta has minimized:

  • The planned SmartWatch projects
  • Unique content partnerships with writers and publishers for the Bulletin newsletter project
  • Sales of the Portal-based home speaker device as a consumer-based product
  • Its planned social audio and podcast tools

The company has also delayed the production of its AR or Augmented Reality glasses. Additionally, Meta also made the announcement that it will be putting a stop on the test of Facebook Neighborhoods -the Nextdoor clone. 

These are some of the leading projects over which Meta has decided to put a pause on. This is because the company aims at redefining its overall focus on the Metaverse. Also, there is an improved focus on the underlying technology that will make it the ultimate platform to ensure online interactions in the future. 

Addition of Revenue Streams by Meta

It is estimated that the addition of potential revenue streams to the platform can help in backfilling some of the major concerns of the social media giant. It will also ensure that the process of metaverse development can continue at a rapid rate. It is expected to take place away from the increasing concerns of the shareholders who wish to know more about where the social media giant is heading precisely.

It might also result in some important considerations for Instagram and Facebook users. Undoubtedly, it will lure in at least some of the users of the respective platforms. Being close to around 3 billion users across the world (much more than Instagram and Facebook combined), Meta only requires a small portion of their audience to test a paid product in order to make their testing efforts of new software worth-trying.  

For instance, Snapchat currently has over one million users who are now paying up for Snapchat+. It is an add-on subscription service that feeds extra revenues of around $4 million every month directly to Snapchat. 

Would You be Paying for Instagram or Facebook?

As per the reports of an internal employee from Facebook, Meta has officially started its investigation into the potential of including paid features to the respective platforms -including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. 

No one will accuse Meta -formerly Facebook, of keeping touch with the respective average users. However, the overall concept that an ideal user will be paying for using the social media remains slightly disturbing. Still, the overall concept of paid features on different social media platforms is not entirely new. 

Paid Social Media Platforms -Are They the Future?

Meta is not the first-ever company to come forth with the idea of paid features on the respective platform. The overall willingness of Meta to explore advanced paid features implies that it could be the new normal. While paying for the use of social media management platforms will make ample sense, still the overall notion of paying to use social media merely appears abnormal -especially for generations who are used to getting access to these services readily.

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