Instagram has long been a home for influencers, but it wasn’t until a year ago that it started offering ways for them to earn money directly on the app. Now, Instagram is “exploring” subscriptions and a marketplace for NFTs, said Instagram head Adam Mosseri in an interview. (You can read the full Q&A here.)
“There’s different ways to facilitate a financial relationship between a fan and a creator,” Mosseri said Friday from his home in San Francisco. “Being able to subscribe to some differentiated or unique or exclusive content actually feels more additive as a fan than seeing an ad.”
Subscriptions for Instagram influencers would likely allow them to sell access to exclusive material, similar to how creators on Patreon sell memberships for special content. Twitter teased a similar feature earlier this year called Super Follows, and YouTube already offers channel memberships that give paying fans extra perks like special emoji.
These would add to a slew of features Instagram and its parent Facebook have rolled out in the past year to court influencers, including ad revenue-sharing and a way for them to accept tips during livestreams.
Mosseri said an Instagram creator fund is "not off the table," similar to those that YouTube and Snapchat have introduced to pay people to make videos.
“I’m personally more bullish and excited about building monetization products that help them make a living over the long-run than I am about writing checks directly, but I'm not opposed to writing checks,” he said.
Instagram is also considering a marketplace for NFTs, the one-of-a-kind digital collectibles that range from memes to artwork. Last week, an artist named Sean Williams tweeted that Instagram had contacted him about a potential NFT product.
“For NFT artists, Instagram is often the platform of choice to showcase their work,” Mosseri said. “I love the idea of us doing more in that space.”
As TikTok’s popularity exploded, Instagram rolled out its own short-form video competitor Reels. Mosseri conceded Reels is “way behind TikTok and YouTube in terms of how much time people spend and other key metrics,” although it’s gaining momentum in India and Brazil.
On Monday, Instagram said it would give creators more metrics about Reels, such as the ability to see stats like the number of accounts the video reached or how many people saved or shared it.
“What TikTok has done so well, and I think one of their greatest strengths, is they don’t just serve those who are already established. They're also great at identifying and helping new talent breakout in the first place. And that's something that I think we can learn a lot from,” Mosseri said.
And yes, the head of Instagram has a TikTok account, although he doesn’t post on it. “I’m a big fan of TikTok. I think they do really good work,” he said. “My TikTok [feed] is mostly comedy and dance.”
Here’s what else is going on...
💰 Deals & Debuts
Beacons, a San Francisco-based startup that lets people put more than one link in their social media bio, raised a $6 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Li Jin’s Atelier Ventures and The Chainsmokers’ Mantis Fund also participated. Notable people using Beacons include the singer Sia and actor Russell Brand. Their Beacons link takes fans to a landing page of other links, including a personal website, other social media accounts and merchandise.
Clubhouse said 1 million people have joined its new Android app. The social audio platform also said all iOS users in the U.S. can now send and receive payments, its tipping feature, whether they’re a creator or not.
SiriusXM is launching TikTok Radio, a new music channel featuring trending songs and sounds from TikTok, hosted by DJs and creators on the short-form video app. Its subsidiary Pandora is launching playlists curated and hosted by popular TikTok influencers, including Bella Poarch, who recently released her first song, and Christian Shelton, who sang in a Super Bowl commercial this year.
Christine Deputy joined Pinterest as chief people officer. Deputy, who previously worked for Nordstrom as its HR chief, will report directly to Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann.
📈 Big Number
Pinterest said it now handles more than 5 billion searches every month. That’s up from 2 billion in 2018.
“As people prepare for a post-pandemic life, searches for outfits, vacations, and home renovations are at all-time highs,” Naveen Gavini, Pinterest’s senior vice president of products, wrote in a blog post. Searches for weddings have also bounced back.
Andrew Chen, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, spoke in a recent Clubhouse room about investing in and joining the board of Maven, a startup offering online courses taught by creators and experts. Chen said while some creators like to write newsletters or make videos, there’s an "entire category here for teaching" and "it’s going to be really big."
✨What’s That Trend✨
On TikTok, anyone can be “bestie,” ranging from your actual best friend to a complete stranger. The term, which is used in a positive way, started becoming popular after a viral video of a woman saying “bestie vibes only” over and over again. The sound from her video has been used in 72,000 other TikToks, but “bestie” shows up in comment sections.
👀 What We’re Reading and Watching
• The Gen Z food stars of TikTok (New York Times)
• NFT of soon-to-be-deleted 'Charlie bit my finger' YouTube video sells for over $760,000 (CNN)
• How does a TikTok star take their career to the next level? Music (NBC News)