Technology

Facebook Tests Paid Subscriptions for Groups

By / Jun 21, 2018 (Jirsak/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Facebook, which has a robust network of private groups on its platform, is piloting a program that will allow some group admins to create exclusive subscription-based sub-communities offering premium member-only content.

Facebook’s private communities have been gaining steam as an alternative to traditional pages, but they take a lot of time and work to manage. The company’s latest move is designed help group creators monetize their communities so they can offer more engaging content and a better experience to their members.

Facebook on Wednesday announced a pilot program that will allow selected group admins who manage large communities to offer paid, subscriber-only sub-groups.

The move is interesting for Facebook, which tends to monetize through advertising, rather than membership-style options. The company said the program is an extension of an existing strategy to offer financial support to content creators.

“Subscription groups were created to make it easier for admins to provide these experiences with built-in tools, and to save them time so they can focus on offering members-only content,” the company wrote in a news release. “For members, they’re now able to sign up and manage their subscription through the Facebook app for iOS and Android.”

The groups will cost anywhere from $4.99 to $29.99 per month, according to a Fast Company report.

Facebook is testing the program with groups focused on a variety of topics, including one that offers cleaning advice; one that covers college preparation for students and their parents; and a meal-planning group.

Sarah Mueller of the group Declutter My Home, for example, is now offering a secondary subscription-only group called Organize My Home, which offers more interactive content like tutorials and live videos.

“With the new Organize My Home subscription group, I will be able to provide this new community with more interactive ways to having an organized home like mini-projects, group challenges, trainings, and live Q&A, while still keeping the original group as a robust community for getting free advice and motivation,” Mueller said in the Facebook statement.

The new offering comes as interest in subscription-oriented services seems to be growing. In recent months, a startup called Substack announced a paid email newsletter service, paywalls have gained momentum, and Patreon has become a popular option for many independent creators looking for a way to fund their creative outlets without advertising.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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