The second biggest woe (the first being non-chronological order of posts) of Instagram is finally over! As relevant as Instagram is for today’s audience, it hasn’t always been that supportive of its content creators. Even Artists with massive followings were not able to make any money directly from the platform. But now, Instagram have finally announced their latest monetization feature: Instagram Subscriptions.
Instagram has grown from a rudimentary photo-sharing app to a strong digital marketing tool used by influencers and organisations of all sorts to engage their target audiences. It has undoubtedly helped many big companies generate revenue. Instagram Business reports that 60% of consumers use this site to find new products and 80% of users follow at least one company. The Subscriptions feature was long-awaited by influencers as it unlocks another stream of income for them, but it will be interesting to see how small creators can make the best out of it.
On the 19th of January, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg promoted the debut on his Facebook page, stating that Subscriptions would, “help creators earn more by offering benefits to their most engaged followers like access to exclusive Lives and Stories. I’m excited to keep building tools for creators to make a living doing creative work and to put these tools in more creators’ hands soon.”
While the intentions seem pure, one cannot help wonder if he has finally given in to the competition. The creator economy is worth a whopping 100 billion dollars and still growing, it would be foolish not to want a piece of this pie. Even Twitter (yes, Twitter!) has also started its own creator initiative called the Super Follow Program, which is a way to share bonus Tweets and content with subscribers.
What is so exclusive about Instagram Subscriptions?
Subscriber Lives: Creators will be able to broadcast special Lives to their subscribers, giving them a deeper level of engagement.
Subscriber Stories: Creators would also be able to make stories just for their subscribers, allowing them to share special memories and employ interactive narrative stickers with their most devoted fans.
Subscriber Badges: Next to comments and messages, creators will notice a subscriber badge so they may readily identify their subscribers.
How much will you have to pay?
Well, that depends upon the creator, but subscriptions, for now, will start at $0.99 a month and can go up to $99.99. While the functionality will initially be limited to a small number of American creators, Instagram has plans to increase the access to more creators in coming months. For now, you can find this feature on the following “alpha” accounts – @alanchikinchow: actor and writer, @sedona._: sportsperson, @alizakelly: astrologer, @kelseylynncook: dancer and model, @elliottnorris: digital creator, @jordanchiles: Olympic silver winner, @jackjerry: gymnast and actor, @bunnymichael: spiritual coach, @donalleniii: XR creator and @lonnieiiv: digital creator.
An interesting thing to note is that none of the ‘Alpha’ accounts has a huge number of followers, with all those mentioned having fewer than a million each. It will be interesting to see how the Kardashians make use of this feature. Will they launch an exclusive line of beauty products for their exclusive subscribers? Most mainstream celebrities have millions of followers at their disposal so it is yet to be seen if Instagram Subscriptions will be just another cash grab for the already rich and famous, or if it will it provide genuine value to small accounts trying to make it big.