Patreon appears to be gearing up for a big 2022, with numerous changes and features being teased for release on the crowdfunding platform next year.
In a new webpage located at ‘Next.Patreon.com‘ (you know it’s significant when they set up a whole subdomain for this announcement), Patreon reveals that there are several new features in development for 2022. Here are my thoughts on a few things they’re teasing :
– “Patreon Video”: For the first time, you’ll be able to upload videos directly to Patreon. Previously, creators had to upload Patron-exclusive content to Vimeo or YouTube for the best experience. Patreon-hosted videos should come as a welcomed addition to creators who want to ensure that the work they’re making for Patrons is only accessible to those who financially support them.It remains to be seen if being able to host video directly on Patreon will be a premium service, or if this will be available to everyone at no extra charge.
– “Improved Posting”: Patreon says that they’re working on a “brand new posting experience with an improved design, robust formatting and multimedia tools, and autosave drafts.” I’m eager to see what they do here, because I do find the current content management system to be a bit clunky. A GIF posted on Next.Patreon.com makes it look like their new post system will be block-based, similar to what WordPress has introduced in recent years, where you place virtual ‘building blocks’ into a post in order to design each post.
– “Content Organization”: Patreon says that new ways to organize your posts are being “explored,” so this improvement sounds further off than others. Currently, there’s just two ways for users to sort through your content: The search bar (which itself is a relatively recent addition to Patreon for users), and Tags. For the latter, this has required the creator to assign tags to each post, and you had to tell Patreon which tags you wanted to feature in a row across the top of your Patreon page. The Featured Tags section has been the only way to jump to a collection of posts.I hope Patreon provides creators with better ways to feature older content, and that they move away from the tag system being so prominent. Let creators feature certain posts they’re very proud of, or are very popular, that will help retain Patrons over the longhaul.
Speaking of content organization, I’ve had a gripe for a while that I’d love for them to fix: When you’re on the Add Post page, you can’t see which tiers receive which benefits. For those of us with tiers that hold a lot of benefits (and especially for those of us with multiple Patreons), it can be hard to keep track of which benefits are in what tiers. I would love for Patreon to list out the benefits of each tier on the Add Post page. It would save us all a little time and stress!
– Improvements to Billing: This will probably be one of the biggest changes, if not the biggest change, to Patreon we’ve seen since its inception. Currently, Patreon charges all Patrons at the start of each month, no matter when they pledged to the Patreon. This means that if a fan joins your Patreon on December 29th and you have the Charge Up Front setting turned on, they will be charged on that date and again on January 1. (Many creators may not have the Charge Up Front setting turned on. In that case, if a fan pledged on December 29th, they actually wouldn’t be charged until January 1)
In a blog post dedicated to this topic, Patreon says that they will test charging fans on the day that they first became a Patron, rather than the first day of the month. So using the same example above: If a fan becomes a Patron on December 29th, they will be charged on the 29th of each month henceforth. This will alleviate confusion and in some cases frustration, because some fans don’t like being ‘double charged’ if they’re pledging at the end of the month and then getting billed again a couple days later. (It’s worth noting Patreon does try to make this clear while they are pledging).
If this all sounds a little confusing, that’s because it is. And that’s why Patreon is trying to make changes to billing. Patreon also says that this will open up other opportunities that creators and fans have been begging for, including the ability to purchase Patreon gift cards, trial periods, and more. You can read more info on the changes at the link above.
The changes to billing are very far out, and Patreon is trying to be as clear as possible up front so that there are no surprises. They’ll be testing this new system with a small group of creators before rolling it out to everyone.
I welcome the updates to billing if only so they can roll out gift cards and trials. These are two features that our fans (and the family members of these fans) have asked for over the years, and I believe it would help us drive many more sign ups. I can’t say that I’ve heard the same ‘double charge’ complaints that other creators say they’re hearing, and I don’t feel like it’s affected our performance on Patreon. Nonetheless, I welcome these updates because they ultimately will be a better solution that the current setup.
At the moment, the only downside I can see to what Patreon’s calling the ‘hybrid billing model’ is that a fan who is already pledged to other Patreons prior to becoming a Patron of yours will not be charged for joining your Patreon until they are charged on the normal day they are for charged for the other Patreon subscriptions they’re already pledged to. They don’t want to charge fans multiple times throughout the month, which I agree is the right call (Otherwise a fan might start canceling Patreon subscriptions if they see many of them on their bank statements). Still, the problem here is that the creator won’t get a fan’s money up front, like the Charge Up Front setting provides now. Patreon will need to explain to creators that this is ultimately for the best in order to eliminate confusion and smooth out the billing process.
Elsewhere on Next.Patreon.com, the platform teases under-the-hood improvements like ‘a stronger foundation’ for faster and more reliable experiences, improved playback on content (including “higher quality media, smoother playback experience, and the ability to pick up where you left off” — all things creators can appreciate), and ‘a simpler, cleaner design.’
Patreon does not offer a specific release date for any of these changes other than saying they’ll roll out in 2022. I will write about any significant changes here on the blog once they’re released!