Instagram trials subscriptions for creators in the US

20 Jan 2022

Instagram Subscriptions. Image: Meta

With its new Subscriptions feature, Instagram is ramping up competition with TikTok and YouTube to lure more creators to its platform.

A small group of Instagram creators in the US are trialling a new feature that will allow them to monetise their content by making it some of it exclusive to followers who pay a monthly fee.

The Subscriptions features will give followers of Instagram creators access to exclusive Lives and Stories to promote greater engagement with content and help creators earn money. Subscribers will also have a badge next to their names in comment sections to help creators identify these users.

Now in an initial test phase, Instagram Subscriptions is an extension of Meta’s Facebook Subscriptions business model, which was launched in 2020 to promote the creator economy.

The company has already doubled-down on video content on Instagram and revealed a $1bn creator strategy to help it compete with platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

The 10 Instagram creators trialling Subscriptions are @alanchikinchow, @sedona._, @alizakelly, @kelseylynncook, @elliottnorris, @jordanchiles, @jackjerry, @bunnymichael, @donalleniii and @lonnieiiv.

Meta said it will not collect any fees from Facebook Subscriptions purchases until at least 2023, and the same will apply to Instagram.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta, said that the new Instagram Subscriptions feature will help creators earn more by “offering benefits to their most engaged followers”.

“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,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

According to TechCrunch, creators will be able to choose the monthly subscription cost for their content across eight price points determined by Instagram, ranging from $0.99 to $99.99 per month. Subscriber-only Stories and badges will use a purple colour scheme to help them stand out in the app.

Last year, Facebook said it’s goal was to “to help as many creators as possible find sustainable, long-term success” on its apps. The new subscriptions feature comes as rival TikTok steps up its wooing of creators with a new tips feature launched in December.

Other growing platforms that help creators monetise content include Onlyfans and Patreon, which tripled its value to $4bn in last year after a $155m funding round for its creator economy platform.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic