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Instagram Launches Live Test of Fan Subscriptions, Providing More Monetization Options for Creators

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Instagram Launches Live Test of Fan Subscriptions, Providing More Monetization Options for Creators


Instagram has launched an initial test of its new Subscriptions option for Instagram creators, which will provide another monetization avenue for platform stars, ideally providing more incentive for them to keep posting their content to IG, instead of being lured to TikTok or YouTube instead.

As you can see in these screenshots, the new subscriber icon is a purple crown, which will be attached to subscriber comments on posts, will highlight subscriber views on Stories and will signify live-streams that are only accessible by paying members.

As explained by Instagram:

With Instagram Subscriptions, creators can develop deeper connections with their most engaged followers and grow their recurring monthly income by giving subscribers access to exclusive content and benefits, all within the same platform where they interact with them already.

The option is currently in very limited live testing, with only a handful of prominent creators in the app. Those users now have a ‘Subscribe’ button on their profile, linking fans through to the sign-up flow.

Instagram fan subscriptions

Those that do have access are able to charge a variable monthly amount for subscription – between $0.99 and $99.99 – which will give paying members access to:

  • Subscribers-Only Lives  Creators can broadcast exclusive Lives to their subscribers, allowing them to engage more deeply.
  • Subscribers-Only Stories Creators can create exclusive stories, just for their subscribers where they can share behind the scenes, create special polls, among many other options. Additionally, they’ll be able to save these stories to subscribers-only highlights. Subscriber stories will have a distinct purple ring to signify exclusivity. 
  • Subscriber Badges  Creators will see a subscriber badge next to comments and primary and request inbox messages so they can easily identify their subscribers.

Parent company Meta says that it won’t be taking in any cut of the fees from fan subscriptions till at least 2023, in line with Facebook’s fan subscription products, though any funds transferred will be subject to relevant app store fees and charges, as normal.

On iOS, that means any payments will be subject to Apple’s 30% fee, which Meta has repeatedly criticized, especially amid the pandemic, when it’s looking to maximize opportunity for people whose careers have been impacted by the various lockdown and other mitigation efforts.

Still, Apple doesn’t look like budging, which is another factor to consider within the fee structure for subscriptions, if and when more users get access.

It’s a good initiative, providing more opportunity for Instagram creators to monetize their efforts, though much the same as Twitter’s ‘Super Follow’ offering, the challenge will be in formulating a plan for sustainable, valuable add-on content that will keep your subscribers paying. Nobody wants to pay for content that they’ve thus far been able to access for free, so if you are considering how to monetize your efforts via subscription tools, you’ll need to also come up with a strategy for building value for your paying audience.

That’s not necessarily easy. How do you add value for your top fans, and provide exclusive content, while also maintaining enough of a regular posting process to keep bringing in more potential subscribers? Having the option is definitely a better situation to be in, but it will take more in-depth content mapping, in order to really add value to those willing to pay for your content, which will likely also require more time spent on creating content, another element to factor in.

Will you be able to make enough money from subscribers to justify that extra time spent?

This is much the same with all content creators – while it’s easy to watch, say, ‘Ryan’s Toys’ on YouTube and think that you could film your son or daughter unboxing the latest kids products and make millions yourself, it’s never as easy as it seems. The top creators have a defined strategy, a posting cadence, and they’ve built an actual business from their initial roots.

Not everybody can do this, and it is worth considering the extra work required in order to build a sustainable offering in this respect – because if you lose a paying subscriber, getting them back becomes increasingly difficult.

But even having those considerations is a bonus, and as noted, Instagram will also be hoping to build on its existing revenue share tools to make its platform a more appealing offering for more creators, keeping them posting to its platform, instead of testing the waters elsewhere.

Will that work? Definitely, right now, creators can make a lot more money on Instagram and YouTube, and while TikTok is working to catch up, eventually, when it comes down to dollars and cents, you can bet that a lot of creators will choose the most lucrative option for them.

Once creators reach a certain status, that becomes an even bigger factor – so it is feasible that, at some stage, Instagram’s expanded monetization offering will heap more pressure onto TikTok in the battle for top talent.

This note from Instagram’s press release was also interesting:

Additionally, we believe that creators should know their audience and have more control over their business. We hope to build the tools to allow them to also directly connect with their audience off platform in the future.

The capacity to have more control over your subscriber contacts is another big lure, which could prove very beneficial for Instagram over time.

It’s not a massive shift as yet, given the limited access to the option, but it’s a smart move from IG, which could eventually yield big benefits for the app.



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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

Looking to give your social profiles a visual refresh for the new year?

This could help – the team from Giraffe Social Media recently put together an overview of the whys and hows of building your brand via your social profile visuals.

There are some good notes here – a key consideration is consistency, which ensures that you’re building your brand with every post and update.

Check out the full infographic below.

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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

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Publicis Performance Marketing Unit Acquires Influencer Platform Perlu 01/30/2023

Publicis Groupe-owned performance marketing agency CJ, which specializes in affiliate marketing, has acquired Perlu, a Syracuse, New York-based influencer networking and technology platform.
Perlu’s platform enables companies to activate, network, and collaborate with a community of influencers.   

Perlu will initially retain its name and organization as it is
integrated …



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Reports Show that Facebook Usage is Up, as Meta Continues to Develop its AI Targeting Models

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Reports Show that Facebook Usage is Up, as Meta Continues to Develop its AI Targeting Models

While Facebook is no longer the cool app, especially among younger audiences, it remains a key platform for many users, and its capacity to keep people updated on important updates from friends and family is likely to ensure that many continue to return to the app every day for some time yet.

But more than that, Facebook usage is actually increasing, according to internal insights viewed by The Wall Street Journal, which also include some interesting notes on overall Facebook and Instagram usage trends.

As per WSJ:

Data gathered in the middle of the fourth quarter showed that time spent on [Facebook] was up worldwide, including in developed markets, over the course of a year.”

Which seems unusual, given the subsequent rise of TikTok, and short form video more generally. But actually, Facebook has been able to successfully use the short-form video trend to drive more usage – despite much criticism of the platform’s copycat Reels feature.

Indeed, Reels consumption is up 20%, and has become a key element in Meta’s resurgence.  

How is it finding success? Increased investment in AI, which has driven big improvements in the relevance models that fuel both Reels and its ads, which are also now driving better response.

On Reels, Meta’s systems are getting much better at showing users the Reels content that they’re most likely to be interested in. You’ve likely noticed this yourself – what was initially a mess of random clips inserted into your Facebook feed has now become more focused, and you’re probably finding yourself expanding a Reels clip every now and then, just to see what it’s about.

Reels has actually been too successful:

“Because ads in Reels videos don’t currently sell for as much as those sold against regular posts and stories, Reels’ growing share of content consumption was denting ad revenue. To protect the company’s earnings, the company cut back on promoting Reels, which lowered watch time by 12%.

So again, while Meta has been criticized for stealing TikTok’s format, it’s once again shown, just as it did with Stories, that this is a viable and beneficial pathway to keeping users engaged in its apps.

You might not like it, but replication works in this respect.

But for marketers, it’s likely the development of Meta’s AI targeting tools for ads that’s of most interest.

Over time, many performance advertisers have been increasingly recommending that marketers trust Meta’s AI targeting, with newer offerings like Advantage+ driving strong results, with far less manual targeting effort.

Advantage+ puts almost total trust in Meta’s AI targeting systems. You can choose a couple of targeting options for your campaigns, but for the most part, the process is designed to limit manual impact, in order to let Meta’s systems determine the right audience for your ads.

Which may feel like you’re ceding too much control, but according to Meta, its continued AI investment is now driving better results.

Heavy investment in artificial intelligence tools has enabled the company to improve ad-targeting systems to make better predictions based on less data, according to the interviews and documents […] That, along with shifting to forms of advertising less dependent on harvesting user data from off its platforms, are key to the company’s plans to overcome an Apple privacy change that restricted Meta’s capacity to gather information about what its users do outside its platforms’ walls, the documents show.”

That’s likely worth considering in your process, putting more trust in Meta’s targeting systems to drive better results. At the least, it may be worth experimenting with Meta’s evolving AI for ad targeting. 

It’s not all good news. Meta also notes that while time spent in its apps is on the rise, creation and engagement is declining, with fewer people posting to both Facebook and Instagram than they have in the past.

That’s particularly true among younger audiences, while notably, usage of Instagram Stories is also in decline, down 10% on previous levels.

So while Meta is driving more engagement from Reels, which draws on content from across the app, as opposed to the people and Pages you follow, that’s also led to a decline in user posting.

Is that a bad thing? I mean, logically, engagement is important in keeping people interested in the app, and Meta also relies on those signals to help refine its ad targeting. So it does need users to be sharing their own content too, but if it can get more people spending more time in its apps, that will help it maintain advertiser interest.

In essence, despite all of the reports of Facebook’s demise, it remains a key connective platform, in various ways, while Meta’s improving ad targeting systems are also helping to drive better results, which will keep it as a staple for brands moving forward.

If you were thinking of diversifying your social media marketing spend this year, maybe don’t reduce Facebook investment just yet.

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