Update: Instagram Plans a Subscription Model
Instagram is currently preparing a payment model - unlike Telegram, however, it will not be about restricting advertising, but about supporting content creators. Here you can find out what innovations users and content creators can expect.
Support Via In-App Purchases
With the introduction of subscription models, many popular services have already created another mainstay for making money. Now the social media app Instagram is jumping on the bandwagon, albeit with the intention of financially supporting the platform’s creators. Followers will be able to support their favourite influencers in the future through in-app purchases. It will work in a similar way to the donation system on Twitch.
Extended Earning Potential
For some time now, Instagram has been pursuing a strategy of giving content creators more options for making money from their posts. However, the planned subscription models could restrict access to certain content to such an extent in the future that the pressure to take out a subscription would be relatively high. For influencers with several million followers, this results in a lucrative source of income - even if Instagram takes its share of it. Additionally, the app will probably continue to display advertisements as well.
Better User Information
As part of the intended changes, Instagram has made it a priority to provide its users with even better information about new features in the future. The reason for this was undoubtedly the failure of the platform a few weeks ago, because if such a malfunction should happen again, users would probably be even more annoyed due to the payment model.
No More Swipe-Up Links?
The swipe-up is mostly used in influencers’ or companies’ stories to direct followers to external websites. Instagram is changing this function based on a test run a few months ago. The platform dared to take the first cautious step in this direction two months ago. Up to now, only verified profiles or profiles with more than 10,000 followers were allowed to use this feature. Verified accounts clearly represent the authentic presence of a public person or brand, a company or a blog - recognizable by a blue tick behind the user name. The account user has to request this check mark from the parent company Facebook. However, the criteria for awarding the check mark are somewhat opaque.
Starting in the summer, selected accounts with a lower number of followers and without verification were able to share swipe-up links. The platform has now replaced the classic swipe-up movement and is testing stickers instead. According to Vishal Sha, Head of Product at Instagram, these fit with the way the network is used much better. The results of the test run led Instagram to completely discontinue the conventional swipe-up function starting August 30th. Only link stickers are available since then. The new feature is initially only available for verified accounts or profiles with more than 10,000 followers. However, Instagram is considering offering the function for more stories.
The new function also offers significantly more interaction options. When using the old swipe-up links, it wasn’t possible for users to react to the shared content via emojis or direct messages. Link stickers now enable direct feedback on stories with links.
Exclusive Content For Followers
In June 2021, Instagram announced new earning opportunities for content creators. In the future, anyone who creates content will be able to offer content exclusively for their own followers. In addition, influencers will be able to directly advertise products to their followers this way. In a first test run, Instagram also plans to allow users to sort the content they want to see by topic, allowing them to discover the products in which they are actually interested in.
Increased Protection Against Insults
If a post receives a lot of attention, the owner will be able to use the “Limits” function to limit comments and direct messages in the account. The main reason for this feature was the recognition that public figures in particular receive hurtful comments from people who have only recently followed the profile. This is evidenced, for example, by the racist insults against players during the European Football Championship in 2021. Instagram therefore would like to try to track when an account receives an unusually large number of comments or messages in the future so that they can recommend to the owner of the profile to activate "Limits".
In addition to increased content control, Instagram also wants to go directly to the source of hate speech and warn users who try to post hurtful comments of the consequences of their actions. So far, when attempting to disseminate such content, a single warning was issued to the author. If the user repeats his or her efforts, Instagram reinforces its warnings with a reference to the community guidelines and a statement that the comment in question will either be hidden or even removed if the user continues to insist on publishing his or her content. In future, this machinery will be set in motion the first time they attempt to post hate speech.
No More Aggressive Direct Messages
Instagram wants to incorporate a filter function in the future not only for posts, but also for direct messages. This is intended to curb the increasing flood of offensive direct messages. The feature makes it possible to sort out spam as well as hurtful or poor quality content from the rest of the messages. Users will also be able to hide comments on posts if they are offensive but still comply with the platform’s rules.
On the Way To the Video App
Last year, Instagram took the first step away from being just an image platform with the introduction of the reels and paved the way to thrive against the competition from TikTok and YouTube. Now Instagram wants to increase the focus on videos and give this format even more space.
Contents in full-screen format and immersive content are planned - 360° videos that allow a view in all directions from the camera's point of view. The company is at the same time adhering to the “mobile first” strategy. In doing so, developers start working on mobile versions of their applications and then adapt them to larger screens. Instagram does not yet plan to take a closer approach to the features of its competitor TikTok.
New Functions - New Pitfalls
However, Instagram’s realignment also brings new problem areas: Many users underscore their videos with music by well-known artists. If the licensing rights aren’t clarified, the rights holder may demand licensing fees in the worst case. And even users who want to advertise certain offers to their followers have to exercise caution: If a promotional post isn’t properly marked as such, the user can be fined for surreptitious advertising. With all the excitement about the new possibilities, it’s all the more important not to neglect the legal aspects of social media use.