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EMAC 2023 Annual

Paid Social Media: Review and Research Agenda

Published: May 24, 2023


Sara Alida Volkmer, Technical University of Munich; Martin Mei├čner, Technical University of Munich


This conceptual paper outlines current developments towards paid services in social media and discusses how these developments will affect social media marketing stakeholders. We begin by developing a working definition of paid social media. We then outline recent changes in the social media landscape by describing small platform offers as well as changes of established platforms that concern paid services. The paper thus outlines monetization strategies that are used by the upcoming platforms. Moreover, we discuss how a shift towards paid social media will affect influencers, social media users, and companies. Paid social media involves several changes in power dynamics, e.g., when followers begin to crowdfund the influencer who then no longer relies on sponsorships for income. We conclude by providing a research agenda with open questions in this novel field of social media research.