Meta today owns three very popular messaging apps and social media platforms 一 WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. In a vision to grow its ad business further in the future, Meta will be looking at more ways to add possible paid features across WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram 一 all of three which individual has over one billion active users and collectively has over five billion monthly active users.
A new report from The Verge says that Meta has passed an internal memo to employees last week which says the company is setting up a product organization to identify and build “possible paid features” for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Let’s take a look at the details.
WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram: Meta’s New Monetisation Experiences
This new division is Meta’s first foray into building paid features across its main social apps, which can be called the three pillars of the company. The new unit is being set up after Meta’s ads business took a serious hit in terms of revenue in the second quarter of 2022. The newly formed group will be called New Monetization Experiences, will be led by Pratiti Raychoudhury, who was previously Meta’s head of research.
The report further says that Meta has no plans to let people pay to turn off ads in its apps. This is because a huge chunk of Meat’s revenue comes from the ads. While the company already has several paid features across its apps, the company hasn’t made charging users a priority until now.
As of now, Facebook group admins can charge for access to exclusive content, and virtual stars can be purchased to send to creators. On the other hand, WhatsApp charges certain businesses for the ability to message their customers. Lastly, Instagram recently announced that creators could also begin charging a subscription for access to exclusive content. Although, In June, Mark Zuckerberg said the company wouldn’t take a cut of transactions from paid features and subscriptions until 2024, eventually that might change as well.
Talking to The Verge, Meta’s VP of monetization overseeing the group, John Hegeman said “on the flip side, I think if there are opportunities to both create new value and meaningful revenue lines and also provide some diversification, that’s obviously going to be something that will be appealing.” On the horizon, five years from now, Meta says the paid features will be a more meaningful part of its business as it will be more polished a few years from now.
Why “possible” paid features won’t be for regular users
While we still don’t know what kind of paid feature Meta will add to its apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and more in the coming years, these paid features would ideally be targeted at content creators or businesses and not ordinary users. In addition, even if Meta would add a paid feature for a regular user, that might be an optional one as the core functionality of these is expected to remain free forever. One of the reasons why WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram have so many active users is these are free apps and adding a paid function may not be ideal for Meta. Considering the conversation about possible paid feature is being discussed internally, we may not see the rollout of such features before 2023.
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