In the past week, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta would be rolling out a new product, Meta Verified across their Facebook and Instagram platforms, and everyone went a little crazy over the news. Some people thought it was the best thing since sliced bread while others were sceptical that it was just another money grab by a big corporation. Today I thought I’d share my thoughts about this feature and what it could mean for us as business owners.
Firstly, for those who might unsure, let’s break down what verification is and why it’s lucrative.
When an account is verified, you’ll see a badge with a blue verification tick next to the Instagram handle. Essentially, this was created so that people of notoriety could verify that their account belongs to them and that they are whom they say they are, distinguishing them from impersonators or parody accounts.
In recent years, the blue checkmark has come to be seen as somewhat of a status symbol due to the fact that they were rare and up until now Instagram has been very selective about who can get verified. So that brings us to Zuck’s big announcement, that Instagram would now be allowing users to get verified by paying a monthly subscription fee.
In their blog post, Meta states that they’ll “begin testing a new offering called Meta Verified, a subscription bundle on Instagram and Facebook that includes a verified badge that authenticates your account with government ID, proactive account protection, access to account support, and increased visibility and reach.” They went on to say that they’d start with a gradual test, here in my home country, Australia, and New Zealand later this week to learn what’s most valuable, hoping to bring Meta Verified to the rest of the world soon.
The monthly subscription will be available for US $11.99 on the web and $14.99 on iOS and Android. In Australian dollars, this works out to be around $19.99 and $24.99 monthly.
As stated on their official blog post, the Meta Verified subscription will include:
- A verified badge, confirming you’re the real you and that your account has been authenticated with a government ID.
- More protection from impersonation with proactive account monitoring for impersonators who might target people with growing online audiences.
- Help when you need it with access to a real person for common account issues.
- Increased visibility and reach with prominence in some areas of the platform– like search, comments and recommendations.
- Exclusive features to express yourself in unique ways.
The eligibility requirements for Meta Verified include:
- Users must be at least 18 years of age and accounts must meet minimum activity requirements, such as prior posting history.
- Applicants must also submit a government ID that matches the profile name and photo of the Facebook or Instagram account they’re applying for.
At the time of writing this, businesses are not eligible to apply for Meta Verified but from what I understand, the company hopes to roll this out for business soon, following the trial period.
Okay, so let’s get to my thoughts on this.
Firstly, I find it interesting but not surprising that Meta has introduced a subscription model for their business. This follows from the recent introduction of paid verification on Twitter by Elon Musk, who could clearly see that this model of business was far more lucrative than relying solely on ad revenue.
In fact, many companies in the online space have been using subscriptions as a lucrative business model for years, so it’s actually a little surprising to me that it’s taken this long for social media platforms to follow suit.
Instagram has had a real issue with scammers impersonating business accounts and running fake giveaways. One of my agency clients experienced this recently, with someone impersonating their business and even reaching out to their followers via DM, asking them to click on suspicious links. We were able to have the impersonation account removed but it was a process that required mass reporting of the scam account and in my opinion, took longer than it should have for Instagram to take action. So, for this reason in particular, I see paid verification as a big positive for businesses because it’s going to help protect their customers or clients from these types of scams.
The next big benefit I see in paid verification for business is increased visibility. At the moment, we’re reliant on the algorithm to decide whether our post will be shown to new users and featured on explore so having something in place that ensures you get priority exposure is a massive benefit. Of course, you can invest in ads on the platform but ads can be complicated and if not done correctly, quite costly for businesses, so for the sake of paying a small monthly fee to have your content shown to more of your followers, along with new users, again I believe it’s worth the investment.
The next massive benefit to paid verification is real-time customer support. This is an area both Facebook and Instagram have been lacking in for a long time so I’m glad to see they are finally making this a priority. Hopefully, now they’re making more money from this subscription model, they’ll be able to invest in great customer support people to help with common account issues. So many times, clients have contacted me about contacting customer support. Most recently, a former client of mine reached out because their account was wrongly suspended which caused massive stress for them as a business so having a real person you can speak to when issues like this arrive is a huge advantage.
It’ll be interesting to see what new, exclusive features we’ll have access to but I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned for that as nothing specific has been mentioned yet.
The only con I can think of would be if Instagram was too lenient with whom they granted subscriptions. If they allow anyone and everyone access to this, it would inevitably reduce the exclusivity element of the verification badge so I’ll be curious to see how it rolls out.
As of the time of writing this blog, I don’t yet have access to the subscription but as soon as it’s available, I’ll definitely invest in it so I can share an update with you and let you know if it is indeed worth the money.
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