Decoding Meta’s Business Subscription: A Marketer’s Perspective

Unpopular opinion. I think Meta’s subscription for businesses is a good thing. I know this isn’t clickbait. I actually think this is a good idea and here’s why. Hi, my name is Simon. I’m an award winning content creator and community manager with 14 years experience. I’ve worked on over 100 household brands. I’ve written two books on community growth online, and I don’t hate this move by meta. And look, if you’ve watched any of my content, I can tell you now I don’t very often speak positive about anything Zuckerberg does. In short, up till now, businesses have been able to so create an Instagram page or a Facebook page or whatever and largely not pay Zuckerberg anything. They can pay for ads, obviously, but they can start posting and it doesn’t cost them anything. These for subscription levels, which range from reasonable to, oh my god, that’s ridiculously taking the piss, specifically for brands.

Now over the last five or six years, I’ve seen a really interesting trend where brands wanna be people and people wanna be brands. So we can debate what that means. But for the purposes of this video, I’m gonna use Meta’s own definition, which essentially this includes creators, small businesses, or multinational brands now have the option. This is not mandatory at the moment, to get verified and get your post boosted out to more people and make sure that people don’t impersonate you. Pretty much everyone I know, marketing who has posted about this or spoken about this or even text me about this has said how much this is given in the IC.

Now I understand why on the face of it, that’s doing that for you. But from my perspective, if you understand the business model of the platform, I actually, I get it. I sort of understand what they’re doing here. Before you jump into the comments, I don’t think they should be charging us the great unwashed, the actual audience that they need for that platform. You shouldn’t be charging us for anything. We should absolutely get the platform for free.

But for brands who have a budget for this sort of thing, I mean, they’re spending enough money on ads, believe me, I’ve seen the sort of numbers that people spend on ads over the last 10,14 years. Like they’ve got budget for this. I’m another friend who sells ad slots in TV, you know, TV shows. And again, you would never expect to get those for free. I also create an edit podcast for people, and I have great relationships with different podcast networks and all of the networks that run on ads who like insert them in between like shows or whatever. Again, if you’re a brand and you want one of those outslots, you wouldn’t get that for free.

But on social networks, as I said, you can largely start a channel, build up an audience and not, never pay them any money. Mentally, that is becoming harder to do, but it’s still possible. So as subscription or some sort of regular charge was always gonna come to people’s second screen, that’s marketing lingo for your phone. Do you understand why? I don’t think this is a completely bad and cool from Meta’s perspective, we need to understand the life cycle of social media sites and apps. All social networks follow these four steps in their life cycle because of the business model they’re built, and I’ll run you through it really quickly. Now at the start of their life cycle, they give away everything for free, right? Organic reaches, great. Everyone’s having a good time. No one’s paying for anything. Why? Because they wanna get you on the app. They wanna get you hooked on the app, and they also want to sort of get the attention to come to the app so that they can, part 2, sell our data. Now they need enough data from our browsing history and from, you know, the viewership and stuff in order for advertisers to be interested in it.

Step two, essentially what they’re doing is taking all the data from the back end, all the data from the front end, and selling it to advertisers in order to customize the target audience for their ads better so that they can be seen by people who might want to buy their .

Just say very quickly, throughout my entire career in marketing, I’ve only dealt with this section. Like I deal with organic reach only. I have done paid advertising before about maybe a year and a half, two years of the 14 that I’ve been in this industry. But mainly I put out stuff that’s good. So it so it gets organic reach. I don’t pay for reach. However, I should say at this stage, what they often do is they lower the organic reach you get in order to make you pay for it, which is very much Mafia boss shaking down sort of someone for some money tactics. But hey, it works free. This is where meta is going. This is what they’re doing right now. They are clawing back the value for themselves. Now they realize that, for example, you know, advertisers can be fickle and they can leave and they can try other platforms and they can bounce around. They need some sort of reoccurring revenue model. And unfortunately, that involves a subscription to offer certain features at a premium or at the cost for we, the great unwatched, we get annoyed with all the ads or all of the costs are involved and we don’t see the value that our input is getting back for us. So we leave the platform loses advertisers because obviously the advertisers gonna follow us, whoever we go. And eventually the platform just dies or it gets sold off because it can’t operate under this business model. Because as you can see, this business model ultimately fails.

Before I finish this video on YouTube, I’ve done a full video explaining and certification and why it’s a problem for all of us who are building businesses or building our marketing channels on rented ground, which is essentially what you’re doing when you build a channel on something that you don’t control, that you can be deleted from at any time, you’re building a rented ground. So if you wanna watch this video, it’s on my YouTube channel, be LinkedIn my bio. And yeah, it’s called in certification.

Come as no surprise to anyone watching this video that Facebook or meta, you know, co, you know, parent company have shareholders who are always the problem in this situation. They have been promised for ever growth, which is not possible or sustainable. So maybe stop offering that. But as a result, meta need to keep their revenues increasing every single year as ad spend from brands is both fickle and seasonal. In some cases, it’s all over the place. And they need to find a way of making sure that they have X amount of money coming in to basically pay shareholders their dividends at the end of every year. And a great way of doing that is offering a subscription. All brands want a way of being seen more. That’s what their whole marketing budget is. And especially the cost of living crisis, any brand or any company worth their sort double down on marketing because there’s the same amount of money in the world. They just need another way of convincing you to spend it with them. People won’t pay for this.

You know, there’s the reason why Elon is struggling to get people to subscribe to his, you know, X Premium X, whatever he’s calling it these days, to be honest with you, I think some of the features make sense. So for example, I’ve mentioned impersonation Protection. So many se famous people, celebrities as well, who are brands, by the way, as well as like businesses have people who want to impersonate them. And frankly, if you don’t have this, it’s an insurance policy now to basically make sure that if someone does impersonate you, you’re verified. You can get that taken down.

That’s very clever. I mean, it should be standard, but understand why they’re monetizing that. I think a brand can get value out of this. 350 dollar a month. By the way, it sounds like a lot to you and I, which, and is a lot of money. But to a brand who might have, let’s say, a 10K budget for ads over a month. That’s not a lot, but I don’t think they actually get value for this. So I do think in the short term, this is actually quite a good move. In the medium to long term, this will absolutely backfire because what will happen is Zuckerberg will almost certainly push for us to get verified, which only means we need to give him our IDS, which we should never do, or our wallets and credit card information, which again we should never do, or to get ourselves verified. And that I honestly think, will be the final nail in the coffin. I think that’ll be the death of the site because you’ll have a certain portion of people who will do it. Obviously, there’s always gonna be those people. But I think the vast majority of people will go, hang on, I don’t get enough value out of this to give you my credit card details and pay a monthly subscription or hang on.

I honestly don’t think that it’s worth me giving you my ID in order to see an update from my nan that frankly she could text me. I’m speaking absolutely candidly. The only reason a person not brand up person would subscribe to meta is to get a ad free experience. And then you’ve got two subscription models butting heads against each other, working, trying and working against each other. And you can’t have that in a business. It’s just not possible.

So Jerry’s Final 4 in summary, I understand why this is giving a lot of marketeers the EC, but honestly think it makes sense to charge brands and not charge people. I honestly think they’re doing something here. That’s is their only move. What else are they gonna do? They need to keep shareholders happy or buy back all the stock, which they’re definitely not gonna do. So I don’t think they had another choice. And I think the way they’ve handled it is mid.

Oh, those are my thoughts. As I said, if you wanna learn more about certification, there’s a video on my YouTube channel, which link to my buyer. But if you’re a market here or you work in social media or you’re a brand and you’re thinking, what the , I’m gonna have to pay to subscribe to meta. What do you think? Do you think it’s a good idea? Do you think it’s a bad idea? Let me know in the comments. Generally, like to know all of your opinions. Thanks or goodbye.