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Meta is planning to add more pay-per-click features to Facebook and Instagram.

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, is planning to add new paid features to the three social media apps. The company is setting up a new division that will work on the potential features that it can hide behind a paywall. Called New Monetization Experiences, the group is led by Meta’s head of research Pratiti Raychoudhury.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp will offer exclusive features to paid users

According to The Verge, Meta told employees about this plan in an internal memo last week. As the publication notes, this would be the company’s first major foray into paid features. This comes after the tech biggie reported its first-ever yearly decline in ad revenue in Q2 2022. Changes to ad tracking on iOS and an overall decline in digital ad spending affected the business. It is now looking for more ways to make money.

Facebook and Instagram already offer various sorts of paid features for creators. These features allow fans to support their favorite creators by tipping them or subscribing to their channels. Meta doesn’t take any cut from these earnings, at least not yet. But even when it does, the company doesn’t want this commission to be its only other major revenue source apart from ads.

Of course, ads on Meta apps aren’t going away. The company doesn’t plan to let users pay to remove apps from the platform. John Hegeman, Meta’s VP of monetization overseeing the New Monetization Experiences group, told The Verge that the company wants to “build new types of products, features, and experiences that people would be willing to pay for and be excited to pay for.”

Unfortunately, he didn’t elaborate on what type of features they are looking into. John suggested that Meta would begin nice and slow with this plan. It doesn’t see paid features bringing substantial revenue in the short term. Instead, the company wants to gradually expand this method of monetizing its social media platforms and make it an integral part of its business in about five years.

Other social media platforms already offer such exclusive features

Meta isn’t the first social media company that wants to offer exclusive features to its users hidden behind a paywall. The likes of Twitter, Snapchat, and Telegram already have such paid features — Twitter Blue, Snapchat+, and Telegram Premium, respectively. You pay a monthly fee to access those exclusive features, which are available on top of the existing free features. Snapchat+ has already proven to be a massive hit, adding over a million subscribers in less than two months. Meta is observing what these companies are doing and plans to build its paid features accordingly.

“We’re obviously paying attention to what’s going on in the industry,” said Hegeman. “And I think there are multiple companies that have done interesting things in this space that I think hopefully we can learn from and emulate over time”. It remains to be seen how the company begins.

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