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Instagram’s paid creator subscriptions are still a tiny business

Instagram’s paid creator subscriptions are still a tiny business

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Meta said there are now 1 million active subscriptions to Instagram creators, just over a year after the subscriptions feature launched.

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The Instagram camera icon on a pink, blue, and black background
Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge

There are now 1 million paid subscriptions to creators on Instagram, slowly transforming the platform into a space where creators can get paid directly by their fans. It’s a big milestone but a small number for Instagram: the service has around 2 billion monthly users. Patreon, meanwhile, is estimated to have more than 30 million paid subscriptions — albeit with about a decade’s head start.

Meta announced the milestone today alongside some other news related to creators getting paid. The company is going to start promoting subscriptions in Instagram’s feed, putting a big “Subscribe” button at the top of every post so that non-paying followers know it’s available. Creators will be able to offer 30-day free trials, and Instagram is adding a tool to let creators bulk DM new subscribers to chat with them, which could help get fans to stick around.

The subscribe button appears across from the creator’s username above a photo.
Instagram is adding a “Subscribe” button on feed posts for creators who offer paid subscriptions.
Image: Meta

Instagram has been steadily expanding where its subscription features are available. Subscriptions initially launched in the US in July 2022 and then expanded to dozens more countries over the following months. Meta says it’s still expanding additional paid features, like “Instagram gifts” — essentially, paid tips — to more countries, too. The company still isn’t taking a cut of the money that creators make, though it plans to do so eventually.

Meta also lets creators offer subscriptions on Facebook, so the company’s total creator subscription business is certainly bigger than the 1 million figure announced for Instagram. (Meta hasn’t shared a number on the total number of Facebook subscriptions.) The company has started offering subscriptions itself, too: there’s the Meta Verified subscription for $12 per month in the US, and then there’s the ad-free subscription for €9.99 per month in the European Union.

There’s clearly an effort underway at Meta to get more money coming in directly from users, rather than having to rely so dominantly on the mercurial ad market. It seems to be slow going for now, but these are still fairly nascent efforts, too.