The Future of Social Apps: Monetization, Connection, and the Creator Economy


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 29, 2023

4 min read


The Future of Social Apps: Monetization, Connection, and the Creator Economy

In today's digital landscape, social apps have become an integral part of our lives, connecting us with friends, family, and even strangers from around the world. However, as these platforms continue to evolve, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the past. By examining the experiences of platforms like Goodreads and the Web 2.0 revolution, we can gain insights into the future of social apps, including monetization strategies, the importance of meaningful connections, and the rise of the Creator Economy.

Goodreads, a popular book-recommendation platform, has found success by leveraging the power of data and community loyalty. Through its promoted book campaigns and access to success indicators for books, the platform has become a valuable resource for publishers and readers alike. However, there is untapped potential for Goodreads to further monetize its business. By bringing third-party applications, services, and content offerings directly to its members, the platform can create a true social commerce site, similar to Facebook's platform strategy. Scaling the community to a larger point will be crucial for any prospective social network looking to explore new business opportunities.

Another important lesson can be drawn from the Web 2.0 era, which revolutionized social networking about 15 years ago. During this time, the focus was on building large networks with feeds for discovery, creating a sense of competition for engagement among followers, and monetizing through advertisements. However, the next generation of social apps is shifting towards a more reactionary movement. Instead of prioritizing quantity, the emphasis is on quality connections. Small networks and algorithm-driven platforms are being developed to foster genuine relationships between individuals. Creators are also seeking more control over their audiences, leading to the rise of direct monetization methods such as subscriptions and NFTs.

In the Creator Economy, new apps are emerging to cater to the needs of creators who want to establish a direct connection with their audience. This shift is driven by the desire to overcome the limitations imposed by existing platforms that often come between creators and their followers. With the availability of various business models, including NFTs, subscriptions, and e-commerce, creators now have more opportunities to monetize their content. However, the battle for dominance will extend beyond the front-end experience. The "back office," which includes tools for content creation and management, will play a crucial role in attracting creators to different platforms. Simplifying the process of authoring 3D content, interactive media formats, and audio integration will be key areas of focus for future social apps.

Looking back at the Web 2.0 era, it becomes evident that building critical mass and fostering engagement are essential for the success of any social app. Viral loops, which encourage users to invite others to join the platform, can still be effective in driving growth. However, it is important to focus on building a single community and achieving saturation before expanding to adjacent networks. By learning from past experiences, social apps can optimize their growth strategies and create a sustainable user base.

In conclusion, the future of social apps lies in effective monetization strategies, meaningful connections, and catering to the needs of creators. Platforms like Goodreads have shown the potential of leveraging data and community loyalty to drive revenue. The next generation of social apps will prioritize quality connections over quantity, allowing creators to have more control over their audiences and monetize directly. Additionally, simplifying content creation processes and exploring new media formats will open up exciting possibilities for social apps. To thrive in this evolving landscape, social apps must focus on building critical mass, fostering engagement, and optimizing growth strategies.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Emphasize the value of data: Social apps should explore opportunities to leverage data and provide valuable insights to publishers and users. This can create additional monetization avenues and strengthen community loyalty.
  • 2. Prioritize meaningful connections: Instead of focusing solely on building large networks, social apps should prioritize fostering genuine relationships between individuals. Small chat groups and algorithm-driven feeds can simplify the user experience and enhance engagement.
  • 3. Empower creators: Social apps should provide creators with the tools and support they need to establish a direct connection with their audience. By offering a range of monetization options and simplifying content creation processes, platforms can attract and retain top talent in the Creator Economy.

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