Subscription feature by Instagram is a new addition to the brands existing list of features on the social media application that allows the users to monetize content. Content creators can monetize this by placing content behind a monthly subscription/ paywall. This feature came in at a time when TikTok has been a major competition for the global giant Instagram, especially considering TikTok’s popularity and rise. The subscription model was started with Facebook previously before expanding to Instagram. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO at Meta mentioned that this feature will allow the influencers to increase their revenue with exclusive posts for subscribers and share feed posts that only subscribers can access.
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The feature was launched in early 2022 to American audiences who now have access to Instagram memberships.
Building exclusive content via the Subscription model
There are some exclusive features that come into picture with the subscription model:
a. Subscriber Live: Influencers and creators can do exclusive lives to their subscribers that offer to engage more deeply with a handful of loyal audiences. This is an exclusive broadcast offered to creators. This feature can help creators charge a higher price for their subscription. They can offer live masterclasses, workshops, and exclusive lessons with more aspects.
b. Subscriber Stories: This festures is like what we know as a close friend’s story. Only visible to people who we have pre-selected as our close friends. Creators can build stories for their subscribers, content that is only visible to users who have subscribed to their accounts. Subscribers will see content creators’ stories in a purple colour circle.
c. Subscriber Badges: Creators can see a subscriber badge next to comments and messages so that they are able to easily differentiate between their followers and subscribers and know who is paying monthly to be part of their membership circle.
d. Subscriber chats: One-on-one chats with your subscribers for discussing various topics, a great way to know your channel subscribers better and reveal exclusive information. The feature allows for up to 30 subscribers to join the chat via ‘Join chat’ sticker that an influencer includes in their story.
e. Exclusive posts and Instagram reel: While the initial model only included content that would last 24 hours, the new feature now allows for creators to create content in terms of reels and posts viewed only by the subscribers. When an Instagram member subscribes to a creator’s account, they can view the ‘’Exclusive’’ tab next to the post – which assure the subscribers that only they are able to view the same and not the regular followers. A crown icon – known as the badge- is visible on the creator’s page for all subscribers.
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Paid subscription feature benefits
Here is how the creator will benefit through the Instagram subscription feature:
A. New revenue stream and securing monthly income:
Creators can now earn money on their overall account and posts. What was earlier limited to paid partnerships posts, sponsor ads and posts – is now an open platform for creators. Influencers can still earn from brands for producing exclusive content, they can also earn money from their regular Instagram lives, Q&A sessions and chats with their subscribers. This feature allows them to make this their full-time profession and earn from content creation.
When it comes to earnings for creators, they are usually based on constant partnerships with brands, with the subscription model, they can be rest assured to earn a guaranteed amount each month without having to depend on brand partnerships.
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B. Build strong communities
Creators are dependent on their followers, these followers when themselves pay to become subscribers they are helping these creators form/build their own niche communities who are bound to be connected by one or more common aspect they all believe in. These communities then become strong advocates of certain values and services of the society itself.
C. Exclusive brand partnerships
Influencer marketing budgets have been on the increase for the last few years and this trend is projected to grow leaps and bounds with the subscription model taking over the social media giant, Instagram. Brands globally will now research on creators who have the strongest and loyal communities where they can offer related product discounts, limited edition launches, exclusive brand promotion content – that directly leads to sales or more following for them.
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Digital marketing with Instagram subscription model
Subscription model started as a low-cost service that is primarily content based and soon evolved to implement subscriber conversation, chats, exclusive live Q&A’s, and stories. Essentially, creators can build their own community with their subscribers. These communities have the power to become a strong loyal follower base that brands across the globe can further utilize in their digital marketing strategies. While only a handful of content creators started initially with the subscription model, Instagram opened it a lot more since it started testing the model.
What can be a sure takeaway from this is now that some niche communities will become powerful, and creators will have direct access to them. This can be a great digital marketing tool for brands, they can now decide which communities fit in their target audience and have a more concentrated and target approach on raising leads for potential sales.
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The subscription model is no doubt offering many benefits for the content creators. Instagram is not only helping creators make the best possible use of the application while being able to monetize from it regularly, but also building an unparalleled and strong revenue model for itself. In today’s digital gig economy, it is one of the strongest tools for affiliate marketing work, content promotion and ads.
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