Social networks were built on one key feature: offering a free experience to users. Well, this business model might well come to an end soon.
After Twitter’s introduction of “super follows”, Instagram is reportedly working on the possibility of allowing its subscribers to publish “exclusive stories”.
In both cases, the idea is to create an additional level of sharing with its community by publishing certain content that is only accessible to followers who have signed up for a paid subscription.
These new features are part of a context where more and more influencers make a living out of their activity on social networks, as they receive substantial remuneration for making brand-sponsored posts or stories. Instagram therefore seems to have plans to provide these influencers with more monetization tools – often referred to as “paywalls” directly integrated into the platform, thus enhancing their work and encouraging them to publish more and more content. And calling the future of brand partnerships into question.
One interesting thing to witness will be how influencers and especially their communities will react to this new opportunity. If Instagram owes much of its success to the ability to share content endlessly and for free, there exists a risk that it will turn away young users from its platform, who represent the bulk of many influencers’ communities.