CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Media Platforms Race to Monetize Influencers’ Followings With Subscriptions

influencer commerce

As businesses seek more effective ways to monetize the rise of the influencer economy, leading players are pushing options for creators to offer their followers subscriptions, capitalizing on their fan bases.

For instance, Meta shared last month that its Instagram Subscriptions offering for accounts with more than 10,000 followers, which launched in the U.S. last year and expanded internationally over the summer, has reached a sizable audience. Specifically, the program has surpassed 1 million active subscribers across creators enrolled in the program. (Granted, this share only makes up a fraction of a percentage of total Instagram users. As far back as 2016, the app had already surpassed 500 million active users.)

In the same post, the social media giant noted that it has extended its creator subscriptions to Facebook and plans to grow the program going forward.

Plus, Patreon, one of the pioneers in the space, which has faced significant challenges in recent years, announced in October the acquisition of livestreaming company Moment, which enables ticketed virtual access to live events, to extend its creator offerings.

Meanwhile, Substack, which made its name as a newsletter platform, has been pushing its additional offerings to be viewed more broadly as a creator subscription destination, introducing new video options and emphasizing its multimedia offerings.

“We’re expanding our video capabilities to support the many great shows already being produced on the platform, and to enable the creation of new types of subscriber-supported work built around video,” Co-founder and Chief Writing Officer Hamish McKenzie and Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Jairaj Sethi stated in a post last month. “Now it’s possible to host and distribute anything from video podcasts to web shows to feature films on Substack.”

More niche creator platforms are also unveiling new options. For instance, gaming company Roblox announced last month that creators can now offer in-game subscriptions for purchase within the experiences (i.e., digital spaces) they have made.

Others, too, are looking to capture a larger share of consumers’ creator subscription spending. Take, for instance, OnlyFans, which made its name on adult content but is looking to expand its base to include other kinds of creator subscriptions. The company has its LMAOF comedy series, for instance, as well as culinary content and fitness videos.

Yet not all creator subscription efforts are fated for success. Last month, Tumblr shared that it was ending its Post+ creator subscription program, stating that it could “no longer justify” the cost of keeping the program in operation, given the low usage rates. Perhaps the space is becoming overcrowded.

Cost is a concern for many consumers. The report “Subscription Commerce Readiness Report: Bridging the Gap Between Subscription Conversion and Retention,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and sticky.io collaboration that drew from a survey of more than 2,200 U.S. consumers, revealed that cost is the most common reason people bow out of subscriptions, with 56% of consumers citing it as a reason for canceling a service in the previous year.

Plus, PYMNTS Intelligence and sticky.io’s “Subscription Commerce Conversion Index: Subscribers Seek Affordability and Convenience” found that 48% of consumers paying for a membership subscription “would cancel the service if unable to pay other essential bills.”