A few months ago I heard rumblings of subscription fees coming to Instagram.
Top influencers would be able to monetise their platforms by adding a subscription service that would allow paying followers to receive more exclusive content that ordinary Instagram users wouldn’t have access to.
At the time I was a little skeptical as I could only think of a small number of influencers that I would actually pay money to subscribe to, and the majority of those were educational/motivational influencers and the odd fashion influencer.
The Instagram subscription rumour mill has since died down, but there are now grumblings that Twitter are going to offer something very similar and so my subscription head has began to whirr, once again.
We need to talk about OnlyFans
When the words ‘online subscription’ are mentioned, I’m sure OnlyFans is a platform that first springs to mind. You thought of The Times online newspaper? How presumptuous of me to think of OnlyFans first…
If you haven’t yet heard of OnlyFans, the everyday person would tell you that it is basically a porn subscription platform. People around the world sign up, create their platform, upload ‘content’ and other users pay to view this person’s ‘content’. If you haven’t paid, you can’t view it.
It usually works as a monthly subscription fee and it seems a lot of people make a lot of money from the platform.
In recent days, a celebrity has joined the platform, and no it’s not a page 3 model that you would probably think of. It’s Dr. Alex of Love Island fame.
Yes, Dr. Alex has joined the lucrative subscription site but it isn’t to show off any six pack or to upload any x-rated content. He’s joining for mental health purposes.
Which leads me to question whether OnlyFans will not only be used for porn-like content in the future.
I had to question why Dr. Alex didn’t choose to join subscription platforms like Patreon and XXX (we’ll get onto those later) and it may be because of monetary reasons as OnlyFans takes less of a cut than the other platforms.
So, will Dr. Alex be the change maker that will see others following suit to launch their content on OnlyFans that isn’t x-rated?
Super Followers on Twitter
Would you pay for Twitter content? I’m pretty unsure if I would, but there may be one or two accounts I may feel like subscribing to.
Twitter have mentioned that they might introduce Super Followers to the app, where Twitter accounts with large amounts of followers can save some content for only subscribers to see.
Perhaps it’s a way for Twitter to start making money from their users, which it’s about time they found a way to do, but I’m not too sure what will come of it.
As Twitter are starting to introduce Fleets (Instagram stories) and Spaces (Clubhouse rooms), perhaps they’re trying to become the one-stop content shop for all creators and so, the Super Followers might actually take off.
Who’s content would you pay to see? Piers Morgan’s perhaps?
Other subscription platforms are available
Probably the most popular subscription platform aside from OnlyFans is Patreon.
Online book clubs are a great example of prime users of Patreon. Followers can subscribe to their favourite book club for extra content, information and newsletters from their book club leader for a small fee every month.
Other platforms that seem to be working out well online are SubscribeStar, Memberful and a firm favourite, Buy Me A Coffee which I just set up to enable my caffeine addiction.
So, if you would like to support my caffeine obsession, you can donate to my cause and buy me a coffee. I might change that to Diet Coke soon.
Will we be paying to use Instagram?
If Twitter launches a Super Follower feature on their platform, we might see the same thing appear across Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
Instagram have mentioned something similar that they might roll out and for me, I would be more inclined to subscribe to influencer content on Instagram than any other social media platform.
I wouldn’t subscribe to many Instagram accounts, but I would most likely subscribe to at least five for educational content and perhaps one fashion profile that I love.
What are your thoughts on subscribing to content on Instagram?
How to put a price on your content
But then we need to think about putting a price on content. How much would someone be willing to pay per month to subscribe to an influencer’s content?
And this also puts a pressure on influencers to create consistent content every month to make sure subscribers don’t unsubscribe.
How much would you pay to access exclusive content from your favourite influencer? £5 per month? £10 per month?
If anything, it will be a great way for influencers to earn more money and to make money from their large following.
The next thing that we will need to look at if this does go ahead is how influencer marketing content will be affected. There are a few things that we could look at – the ads could appear in the subscription content since this is definitely an engaged segregation of the influencer’s audience, but the ad won’t reach very many people.
What’s worth more to a brand? High levels of engagement or high numbers of impressions?