Imgur Subscription Model
As a product & engineering intern at my previous company Imgur, I took it upon myself to evaluate the potential future of Imgur moving to a subscription model to earn an additional source of income.
After getting some experience with front-end development at Imgur, I wanted to see what the product side of things was like. I created my own project to do a competitive market analysis and see how other companies like Imgur are making money. From this I discovered they may be missing a good oppourtunity to increase the revenue on their platform aside from ad revenue.
In doing this research, I looked first at companies that were very similar in terms of the products they offered. Social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram were on my short-list to evaluate how they made money and if they offered anything like a subscription plan. But I also looked at companies a bit less similar, like Adobe, someone who has really dove deep into the subscription market, and evaluate how they have done over time.
My research consisted of looking at news articles and finding any information about ad revenue and/or subscription offerings that I could, compiling all of this information into a big Google sheet so that I could make a side-by-side comparison of all of my findings.
I also did a breakdown of how Imgur was currently making their money. Looking at how much revenue they earn per user, and also breaking it down by how active the users were. Even with only revenue estimates, I was able to find that the top 25% of users (determined these people were the most likely to be interested in a subscription offering) brought in X dollars of revenue to the company per month. Based on this number, I was able to come up with a suggestion for my pitch as to what the subscription offering should include, and at what price.
Ultimately, I pitched the idea to a room filled with the CEO, head of product, head of engineering, and a few other C-Suiteers that Imgur should introduce a subscription plan offering to get rid of advertisements on the platform. I was able to make a strong enough case for improving the experience for the power-users of the platform - people who would rather pay X dollars a month to a platform they felt passionate about, rather than being bombarded by ads.
I left my internship in the summer of 2019, unsure if the company would act on this idea or if it was just a silly intern project. Sure enough, in the summer of 2020, just about one year later, they released their Imgur Emerald subscription plan at $5/month to remove ads on the platform. I'm not saying it was all because of me, but hey, maybe I helped push the idea along! 😉