How will Meta's paid subscription feature impact the influencer marketing ecosystem?

According to experts, while it will help content creators monetise better, promote smaller creators, and provide authenticity and credibility, it is unaffordable by many and can change how creators' content is prioritised on the platform

Akansha Srivastava
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Following the footsteps of Twitter, Meta announced the testing of a new subscription service earlier this week that would let Facebook and Instagram users pay for a verified account. The Testing has first begun in New Zealand and Australia this week and will roll out to other countries soon.

Through this offering, Facebook and Instagram subscribers will get extra protection against account impersonation and direct access to customer support. It will also help increase authenticity and security across Meta platforms.

While it may not impact the public at large, it will have a huge impact on content creators as the service aims at increasing creators’ reach and visibility.

Several influencers pursue content creation as a full-time job and rely completely on income generated from brand partnerships.

Meta Verified is aimed at influencers and others who use social media for their business but aren't notable public figures.

According to industry experts, while it will help content creators monetise better, promote smaller creators, and provide authenticity and credibility, it is unaffordable by many, can change how creators’ content is prioritised on the platform and increase spam accounts.

The pros

Jag Chima

According to Jag Chima, Co-Founder of Iplix Media, the new Meta update will provide creators with new tools or features to enhance their content or reach a wider audience, which can in turn help them grow their following and generate more revenue.

“For example, the update could improve the platform's algorithms to better promote content from smaller creators or offer new ways for creators to monetise their content, such as through subscriptions or ad revenue sharing,” he added.

Rubeena Singh

Even Rubeena Singh, Country Manager India & MENA- AnyMind, believes that it could also turn out to be a good offering for micro-influencers.

She said, “Many creators fail to receive the recognition they deserve because of the algorithms. With Meta verification, these creators will now be able to attain the long-standing credibility they were seeking.”

The blue badge verification system implemented by Meta is designed to provide an additional level of authenticity and credibility to the profiles of creators and public figures on the platform.

Bhavita Shah

For Bhavita Shah, Head of Business of Boomlet Media, while this update will increase the credibility of creators on the platform, it will also help reduce instances of impersonation and cases of fake profiles that often spread misinformation.

“Verified creators’ profiles will improve the trust among the users of the platform,” she said.

Apoorv Bhatnagar

Apoorv Bhatnagar, Co-Founder of The Plug Media thinks that verification more than authenticity has also become a status symbol. “In a good way - creators should feel more motivated and responsible to create better content every day,” he commented.

The cons

For US $11.99 per month on the web or $14.99 per month on Apple and Android operating systems, Meta will use a government identification to verify a user's account and give the account a blue badge.

As per experts, the amount demanded by Meta for subscribing to blue badges is not affordable for many, especially nano and micro-content creators

Sagar Pushp

Sagar Pushp, Co-founder and CEO, ClanConnect, said, “There won't be many takers for the paid verification in the first place as it costs Rs 1,200. Meta has introduced this subscription at a very high cost, even higher than Netflix. Not many creators will see value in this feature.

He further said, “A blue tick will not have great value for influencers unless there is a significant utility or a unique feature provided to them along with the verified symbol. However, simply giving a blue tick in exchange for a government ID and a monthly amount will not impact the creators or the ecosystem.”

Ritesh Ujjwal

As per Ritesh Ujjwal, Co-Founder and CEO, Kofluence, the update could potentially change the algorithms and how content is prioritised on the platform, which could result in some creators experiencing decreased visibility and engagement.

Until now, the creators who have earned the blue ticks are the basis of their popularity, hard work and consistent creation of unique content. But with this update, anyone can buy a blue tick without any consistent effort.

Boomlet Media’s Shah said that this might force the creators to get Meta verified to remain competitive on the platform.

Singh of AnyMind Group said that the availability of blue ticks by just paying a sum will reduce the credibility of the platform.

She said, “The verified badges were considered to be an identification of authenticity and status. Only premium brands/celebrities/public figures with huge followings online and offline were granted this supreme status on these two platforms. With this new rollout, any user who is competent in purchasing the Meta verification will be entitled to the blue tick.”

Even Iplix Media’s Chima seconded that at present, it is a status symbol for creators. “If it will be accessible for all, this perception will change,” he said.

Chima said that it could also lead to a proliferation of fake or impersonated accounts with verification badges, which could undermine the integrity of the platform.

Ujjwal of Kofluence added that the use of the feature is a concern since some may see this blue badge verification as a way to falsely represent themselves as legitimate or influential. “This can lead to a lack of trust and reputation at stake. However, this feature’s long-term impact on the creator’s ecosystem still remains to be seen.”

Although, he also said that the availability of a blue verification badge for purchase does not necessarily diminish the value of verification for creators who have achieved it through quality content over time. “While it is true that the badge can now be obtained by anyone who’s willing to verify themselves and pay for it, I believe the verification process is still subject to review by the platform and may not be granted to everyone who applies.”

Plug Media’s Bhatanagar emphasised that creators should not create content with the agenda of achieving the blue tick. It’s always an added bonus that a platform recognises a creator as authentic and then grants him/her the verification. He commented, “We should not deviate from the essence of it and as managers - we should constantly push for making improvised and trendy content. A blue tick should not be the only motivator.”

Impact on brand-influencer partnerships

Brands are smart and they don’t gauge an influencer’s impact basis his/her blue ticks. Therefore, experts believe that paid blue badges will have a negligible impact on influencers and brand partnerships.

Bhatnagar said, “The brand and creator partnership doesn’t depend on a creator being verified or not. If the creator caters to the right audience, TG, demographic that the brand needs - this relationship cannot be hampered.

Chima commented, “It is too early to comment on the impact that this move is going to have on brand-creator partnerships. Most brands that deeply understand influencer marketing anyway do not pay much attention to the verification badge.”

Pushp seconded and said, “Even with paid blue ticks up for grabs, there are many other means to identify authentic creators who readily share the details and analytics around their profiles. A blue tick will not change that.”

He added, “In fact, an account with a paid blue tick can also have several bots or fake accounts following them. The blue tick does not become a determining factor for brands to select an influencer. Hence, this move will not change brand-creator partnerships in the slightest.”

Ujjwal concluded that brands are likely to continue increasing awareness and reach through influencers who have established a quality follower base regardless of how they obtained their verification badges.

“Ultimately, the success of brand-creator partnerships will depend on synergy across factors like the quality of the creator's content, engagement with their audience, and alignment with the brand's values and goals. The impact can be assessed better once the update is live in India and creators start making use of it,” he said,

IPLIX Media Boomlet Media The Plug Media blue badges subscription blue ticks Kofluence AnyMind Group Meta influencers Twitter content creators