Meta to offer an ad-free platform in the EU

January 26, 2024 Posted by Liam Walsh Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Meta to offer an ad-free platform in the EU”
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Liam Walsh

Liam is a Co-Director at Intelligency and heads up the agency's Digital Intelligence & Paid Social activity. Over the last decade, he has worked with brands from the world of sports such as Premier League clubs to entertainment such as Channel 4 and Disney.

This month Meta reiterated their plans to launch an ad-free version of their Instagram and Facebook platform for users in the EU. This move has been influenced by regulations such as the Digital Services Act, however, it can also be seen as a test of how much users value their privacy.

What are the benefits of an ad-free model?

Facebook & Instagram users are being charged 12.99 euros per month to live in an ad-free social media world which also opts them out of any personalised ads that come from their data being gathered. Whilst this may be attractive to some users it is worth noting that it could be beneficial to Meta. They can replace lost ad revenue with this subscriber model and present new opportunities.

Ad-free models aren’t new, with many streaming services having adopted this over the last few years and social media sites such as X (formally Twitter) expressing their desire to trial an upgrade of its existing reduced ad-premium service Twitter Blue. For users, this model can provide more privacy and fewer interruptions whilst simultaneously financially supporting the businesses. If this does work in the EU, then users worldwide should expect to be offered this option in the future.

Is everyone tired of personalised ads?

Interestingly, not all Meta users are interested in paying more to lose their personalised ads. A 2022 study found that 81% of Gen Z users in the US were supporters of personalised ads and their data being used in this way, whilst 57% of Millennials also agreed.

Here in the UK two-fifths of UK subscribers are in favour of having data-driven ads. Furthermore, there is a financial situation which plays a part in a user desire to remove data as many won’t want to start spending nearly £30 a month of ad-free services from X, Facebook and Instagram, on top of the costs they already pay for streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon.

What could be the best way to maintain the status quo in the marketing ecosystem is for brands to create content that prevents ad fatigue and provides users with a space that is thoughtful and relevant.

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