It seems like all of our “free” social media platforms are looking at how content creators (and the business, too) will have monetization tools. Twitter last month announced its Super Follow feature, which allows users to subscribe to their favorite artists, writers, and other creators for additional and exclusive content. Now it looks like Instagram is working on something similar, calling it “Exclusive Stories”, which means it will live in the Stories section of the app. There are not many details about it yet, as it is still in development.
Instagram confirmed for Tech Crunch they are actually working on something, but the screenshots circulating are still just internal prototypes. The feature is still in early development and is not yet available for public alpha testing. This means that they are not yet free to discuss any details, so the information we obtain may not be official, but may come from screenshots of the prototype. Even if they are not official, we can get an idea of their plans.
Creators will be able to post “Exclusive Stories” that only “members” can view. We can assume that members will subscribe to the creator’s content for a certain monthly fee. This is similar to how Patreon does things, but this time, the content will be hosted in Stories. They cannot be screenshots, but the creator can add them to their Featured. A message will tell them to “save this to a Highlight for Your Fans” so they can have something to see when new fans finally subscribe to you.
This feature is apparently just part of their plans to help creators monetize. Instagram boss Adam Mosseri has previously said that they are looking into things like subscriptions, tips, and even NFT. The monetization tools you are looking for fall into three categories: commerce (branded content, affiliate marketing), users who pay creators directly (closed content, suggestions, paid-type products), and revenue sharing with things like IGTV and Reels.
Since all of these are still in the prototyping or planning stages, we don’t really know if and when we’ll see something this year. But we can expect some announcements and changes soon as Mosseri has said that they are moving away from being just a photo sharing app.