Social media has become a daily platform for us as a source of information and entertainment. Social media networks are constantly advancing and introducing new features to offer more engagement opportunities to their users.
One of the emerging trends we see on those platforms are subscriptions. Subscriptions aren’t a new concept, however, they are now becoming more common as a way of monetising followers and providing exclusive content or products in return.
As a result of the pandemic, more creators have turned to subscriptions as a way of connecting with their fans. Apple has recently introduced new privacy guidelines for iOS 14, which affect advertisers. Perhaps they might have to look at introducing subscriptions as a way of monetising their apps instead of sharing data with third-parties.
Let’s take a look at how different platforms are using subscriptions as a way of differentiating content and offering more engagement.
Patreon is one of the leading subscription platforms for artists. It allows content creators to engage with their fans by giving them exclusive content. Fans can get early access to new songs or artwork, engage with their community, as well as actively participating in the artists’ creative process. Artists can customise their content with different tiers, earning a steady income over time. The UX of creating a Patreon account or subscribing is very simple and quick too!
Patreon has allowed artists to bypass studios or labels in terms of releasing content and earning money for it. It allows them to stay in control over their work and how the fans are able to engage with them. Some musicians offer to record a new album if they reach a certain number of subscribers or give their fans an active role in their activities. It can be very engaging, and more importantly, gives more freedom to the artists.
Facebook offers Fan subscriptions for creators to provide various content options, earning money from their followers. Creators need to have a certain amount of followers or views to enable subscriptions, so only pages with a substantial following will be able to benefit from this feature.
Creators can publish exclusive content, such as behind the scenes footage, live videos, offer discounts and a content library, as well as engaging with their fans via Q&As and polls. Fan subscriptions can offer some great opportunities to grow a fanbase and create a community among the subscribers. Offering early access to content or watch parties can really drive engagement and some great revenue for the creators.
Twitter has also recently announced that it will be adding a Super Follow feature to allow verified accounts to create subscription-based content. This means, paying users will have access to special content from their favourite creators. Users will also have access to join and create dedicated groups based on their interests. Although Twitter is yet to roll out this feature, we think it could be a really interesting one!
Is subscription the way forward?
Like we said, subscriptions aren’t a new idea. We already have subscriptions for entertainment, cosmetics, workouts, counselling and food. So it’s a great way for social media platforms to join in and expand their revenue model.
There’s no reason why other industries couldn’t offer valuable information or services this way too. It’s a way of retaining a steady customer base while continuously serving subscribers with useful content or products they like. This doesn't even have to be the only revenue stream like it is for Patreon.
This could be an add-on to standard transactional services/purchases. For example, many lotteries offer subscriptions to enable repeat play for their customers. They can customise how often they play different lotteries. It’s a key feature for lotteries, saving time for customers to purchase tickets again and ensuring they don’t miss out on a lucky ticket and are retained as a customer.
Social media has inevitably become a key channel for many of us to check news, keep up with our favourite celebs and learn about other things people share on it. While the main social media platforms are free to use to the general public, their only revenue stream comes from advertising.
Subscriptions could broaden this, enabling more users to sign up to them. They’re a great tool for creating engagement between influencers and their followers, and will add a new level to their community and how they share their content.
If you'd like to talk to us about launching a subscription service for your product, drop us a message!