Instagram seems to be going along the path of Twitter and launching a new subscription service if new listings spotted in the App Store and Play Store are to be taken as indicative. The company had previously stated that it was interested in dabbling in subscriptions, but this would be the first time concrete evidence of such a move has been seen.
Spotted by app store analysts Sensor Tower and AppTopia (via TechCrunch), Facebook has added new “Instagram subscriptions” under in-app purchases. These prices range from $1 to $5. There’s no clarity on what Instagram subscriptions would imply. Perhaps it would be something like paying creators directly for exclusive content on a month-to-month basis. Rather than creators showing off links to their content on Patreon or elsewhere, the company would enable them to mark certain images for subscribers only and then take a cut of the subscription fee. Instagram has yet to announce any such subscription at the moment.
“We’re exploring [subscriptions]. We’re exploring what we can do with branded content, what we can do in shops, what we can do with tipping. We don’t have digital goods beyond badges, but I think subscriptions could be a natural thing to experiment with as well,” Instagram’s Adam Mosseri had said in an interview earlier in the year.
Social media platforms have typically been free and primarily ad-funded, but a trend towards more overt monetization has started in the past few years. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok already allow for the purchase of virtual goods in the form of badges and stickers. However, it was Twitter that took the first step towards a subscription service. The company’s Twitter Blue service allows customers the option of paying a $3 fee to Twitter for enhanced features including an undo tweet button. The Super Follow option the company added would be the most similar to what Instagram appears to be planning.