Meta's Little Blue Check is Going to Cost You


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The Money Potential For Meta

Do you want your profile to stand out from everyone else? You might be one of the few that Meta is counting on to help make up it's $10 billion loss due to Apple Store's tightening of information.

With Meta Verified, you can upgrade your profile with a blue check mark for a fee.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded explores the pricing structure behind Meta's verified badges and how it affects consumers as well as businesses. 

Blog Meta Upcharge For The Blue Check 2.21.23

Pay For Your Verified Badge

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has just introduced a new verification service called Meta Verified. With this feature, users will be able to pay a fee of $11.99 or $14.99 depending on whether they purchase it through the website or Meta's iOS apps. This move could generate billions in revenue for social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Additionally, consumers will now have to pay fees to the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store when purchasing certain apps. Elon Musk is also pushing for users to pay for verified badges on their profiles. With these changes in place, businesses should consider if introducing a check box would revolutionize their own business models.

Meta's Little Blue Check Is Going To Cost You

Did you see the latest scoop? Meta, the social media behemoth formerly known as Facebook, has taken a cue from Elon Musk and introduced a new paid feature - Meta Verified - which grants users a verified badge. While this development might not mean much to you personally, it carries weight with the folks at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They are seeing billions flashing into their future bank accounts. Yes, BILLIONS. Just with a bit of change of a check box. 

Twitter took a beating by being the first to change the social game, while Meta's making a splash with this latest move. If you're itching to grab that coveted badge, you can sign up via the website instead of the Google Play or Apple Store. But here's the kicker - the monthly fee is $11.99 if you purchase it on the web and a whopping $14.99 if you do it through Meta's iOS apps. Talk about a price-gouge pet peeve!

I get the cost of business, but that absolute transparency in stating that users have to pay that fee - which never existed before- was entirely randomly made up as a business best-case scenario for making the most money.  Both Google Play Store and Apple App Store have changed a percentage of sales revenue in recent years as a fee for hosting and distributing apps on their platforms. Google Play Store's and Apple Store's standard fee is 30% of the app's revenue for most app and in-app purchases. For subscription-based apps, which Meta should be, Google has historically reduced the fee to 15% for subscriptions that have been active for more than 12 months.


The Money Potential For Meta

Facebook has 2.963 billion users every month.

.064 is Facebook's typical engagement rate on their platform, which you have to assume they will use to advertise this "upgrade."  So let's make up math and guesstimate and use that as our base of how many people will even pay attention and sign up.  

That's 189.6 million people. 

Let's say just .064 again sign up because, why not, which is 12.13 million people. 

Multiply that by their $11.99 purchase.

The new, VERY ridiculously conservative number is $145.5 million monthly and $1.746 BILLION yearly in new revenue.

My numbers need to be corrected - they are WAY too low. That means (WAY) more than $2 billion dollars will be generated yearly, just putting a little blue check box or badge next to your profile photo. And that's just one of the many social platforms out there that are turning to a paywall to generate money now that Apple has screwed up cookies and the ability to serve ads.

Now - Apple has cost Facebook $10 billion just last year alone. So there IS a reason why the platforms are scrambling. 

Now my numbers are made up, and you know they are making more than that. But what other businesses can decide to add a checkmark THAT COSTS THEM NOTHING to revolutionize their business?  I need to figure out this strategy for Hollywood Branded. Let me know if I can add a check box next to your name, and how much you are willing to pay. :)

As for influencers and celebrities who proudly display their verification badges, they might soon have to shell out cash to keep them - Musk is already making noises about it!


Consumers Pay For The Extra Fees App Stores Charge

Well, thanks to their fiscal strategy, consumers are now getting stuck with the bill for those pesky fees that apps must pay to these two platforms. I get it, every business is focused on the bottom line, and there is undoubtedly transparency in stating that the consumer is paying a higher fee if they sign up on the app instead of the website.  But it still bugs me. They just pulled this random number out of thin air to start charging for a check - to maximize their profits. That's not a low subscription fee, either. You could get 2 to 3 streaming platform subscriptions for that same price.

For those curious, both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store charge a percentage of sales revenue as a fee for hosting and distributing apps. Typically, the standard price for Google is 30% of the app's revenue for most purchases, including in-app purchases. However, for subscription-based apps like Meta, Google has historically dropped the fee to 15% for subscriptions that have been active for over a year.

Apple App Store charges that same standard fee of 30% for most app purchases and in-app purchases, although they cap it for apps with revenue below $1 million, allowing those apps to have a chance to use that savings to market and grow their brands. It's mutually beneficial - the app benefits, and then too will Apple one day when they can go back to charging the higher fee in the years ahead on an app with a higher chance of making it past year one.  That's one of the fees facing the brand, too - both stores charge fees for other services, including payment processing and advertising. 


Consumer Pass Through Is The New (And Old) Norm

It's not like Meta is the first to pass on the cost incurred to consumers.  McDonald's and other fast food restaurants have run with this strategy since the minimum wage exceeded $15. Your McDonald's value meal is now similarly priced, at least in California. McDonald's has gradually increased its prices over the last few years to keep up with rising costs with a big focus on labor, passing on overhead demands to the customer. 

  • 2018 - 2.5%
  • 2019 - 2.3%
  • 2020 - 2%
  • 2021 - 10%
  • 2022 - 10%

After a good Google session, I saw the same metrics quoted in a few places. That means in 5 years, McDonald's has roughly increased the cost of everything by about 24%, with the most significant increases in 2021 and 2022. From the price tag on my last Quarter, Pounder, it seems even higher. 

Now you know what we treated ourselves to this weekend. 

McDonald Price Gouges

But come on - really? A separate fee for web usage versus phone usage is just... stupid. Of course, most people scroll through their feeds on their mobile devices. 

So what's your game plan? Are you going to buy the badge and get your credentials verified?

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