How to Build a Subscription App Like Patreon?

Updated on Dec 18th, 2023

Every artist craves some appreciation from their audience, and appreciation can be displayed in numerous forms. Some followers donate money to the favorite charity of their beloved artists, some just buy subscriptions, and some share their work to gather a larger audience. Since digitization has taken over the world, the numbers of artists and performers over the internet have increased. With them, there has been an incredibly high demand for various membership apps. Artists of various genres like podcasters, YouTubers, writers, journalists, artists, comedians, and other creatives need support and appreciation from their audiences. For these artists, nothing is better than a membership app where the users purchase a subscription, and they deliver some extra perks to the members of that specific group. An app like Patreon delivers these performers a convenient means of monetizing their output in a unique way. The key concept of Patreon is crowdfunding, which is based on an exchange of exclusive content for a donation. 

An app like Patreon is like a dream come true for those artists that have no means to convert their content into money. The internet has a trend every day, and the artists that follow the trend gains more followers hence, more subscriptions. The revenue generation of these community apps is skyrocketing high, and it is why more entrepreneurs are interested in community app development. Let’s understand Patreon.

What is Patreon and How it Works?  

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Patreon is a membership app for creators to monetize their subscriber base. Patreon delivers excellent business tools for content creators to manage the revenue of their subscriptions. Through Patreon, the creators associated with it earn a monthly income in exchange for delivering exclusive content to their user base. In addition to the payment processing fees, Patreon charges these artists a five to twelve percent commission on their monthly income. It is mainly used by digital content creators such as Youtubers, comedians, podcasters, etc. 

Patreon is based in San Francisco, USA, and has been launched in the year 2013. However, due to censorship claims, it has faced some backlash from various high-profile creators. Patreon is appreciated by a number of creators all over the world, and the majority of creators on it are since the start and have seen various diverse changes. 

Subscriptions are the main revenue source of the community app. However, users can start for free, but later they have to give five percent of their monthly income. Patreon has launched a three-tier pricing system that has three different levels such as Lite, Pro, Premium, and charge 5%, 8%, and 12% of the monthly income, respectively. 

How Patreon Works?  

Any creator can create an account on Patreon and share the link of his profile with their followers. Creators and subscribers on Patreon are called Patrons. When their followers become Patreon members to support their favorite artist, they can communicate with their artist through a feed on their page. There are a number of things a creator can do on this famous membership app, such as post text, images, videos, and create polls. As Patreon works on a tier system, it hides some of the posts from the users of different tiers. 

Patreon avails a tailored RSS feed support for podcasters. At the time of joining the platform, it creates a link for a specific podcaster that can share with their subscribers, and that custom feed link is specially made for a particular subscriber. Hence, the content on that link will only be available to a subscriber who has the link. Apart from customization, Patreon also has an integration of Discord servers that artists use to connect with their subscribers over chat or organize events. 

Patreon handles more than six million patrons in which more than sixty percent of them have joined the platform in the last three years. The number of supporters per artist depends on their following, but more than 187,000 artists are supported by at least one patron. Over the years, it has raised total funding of more than 257.1 million US dollars. Today, Patreon is valued at $1.2 billion. 

Top Features to Consider in the Subscription App Development  

Subscription apps have multiple features that avail the ease of access to both the creators and their supporters. However, most of these ergonomic features are common in any app, such as onboarding, profile creation, etc. There are certain features that really awe the users and attract them to your community app. Here are some of the most preferred features to be considered in your community app development process.

Automatic Suggestions: Any membership apps have a number of creators, and this feature suggests various other creators to them they may like based on their browsing pattern. An automatic suggestion is a feature that keeps the users engaged on your platform for a long period. 

Fetch the List of Supporters: Various creators love to give a shoutout to their top supporters on their main platforms and to do that, they need a list of the contributors. This feature allows them to get a list of supporters along with their personal information. 

Custom URL: A number of creators are dependent on the donation and subscriptions; hence, to increase their donation figures, they need to share the link with their user base. This feature allows them to create a unique URL to be shared with their supporters.

Live Stream: Creators love to organize live sessions with their user base from time to time and connect with them or showcase their latest project to boost their popularity. Integrating a live streaming feature will boost the popularity of your project.

Community Feed: Your community app should have a news feed type section where creators broadcast their contents, and users can share their reactions. It also helps creators in creating polls to analyze their audience better. 

Instant Messaging: Your project should have a messenger that allows users to connect with their creators based on their subscription plan. You can ask your community app development company to integrate a fabulous messaging system. 

Creator Lens: It is a recent feature introduced by Patreon on their platform. Content creators can share their life behind the screen with the audience with a specific subscription through this feature.

Early Access: This feature is not a new one but is most effective in the genre of membership apps. Creators allow access to their subscribers to access content earlier than the other users who have not taken the subscriptions. 

Subscription App Development Process  

The first step in the development process of an app like Patreon is to gather intel about the genre and know more about the competitors. Examine various business models and strategies of your competitors and try to understand the market trends. Conduct thorough market research and, based on the gathered data, come up with a great strategy that will deliver you the community app of your expectations.

On the front-end side, your app should have an alluring yet simple design that attracts a larger number of users. Ask your subscription app development company to deliver an ergonomic design that represents your core values. 

On the back-end side, make sure your app has a strong architecture. Implement extraordinary security and storage features that can be improvised as per requirements. Hire mobile app developers with extensive knowledge to strengthen the back end of your app.

Now that you have decided on the features, front end, and back end of your app, you should implement the testing phase. Execute a number of tests from different perspectives to detect any kind of bugs or errors in the code or the development process. Remember, users, don’t like an app with technical errors. If any problems are detected, ask your mobile app developers to solve them at the earliest.

After the testing phase has been completed, move towards the deployment phase. Hire proficient QA engineers for the process and let them check the app as per the standards. When QA clears your project, move towards the launch. It is always recommended to launch a beta version first and collect valuable feedback from the customers. If the feedbacks are extremely good, then go for a full-fledged launch.

Technologies To Consider  

An app like Patreon uses advanced technologies to support its massive operations. On the front end, it uses React, and on the back end, it uses Python. Patreon uses Python for the purpose of statistical analysis, behavioral analytics, etc. It uses a Redshift database to analyze most of its data. 

Various successful membership apps use a set of technologies for different purposes; you can also implement them in your app for better functionality. For application and data applications, various subscription applications prefer JavaScript, Python, Node.js, React, NGINX, MySQL, Cloudflare, Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, Firebase, Redux, Flask, Amazon RDS, Socket.IO, Objective-C, Less, Realm, Nikon, etc.

For the purpose of various utilities, various app like Patreon use Google Analytics, Stripe, Mandril, Amplitude, Braintree, Embedly, Sift Science, etc. For the purpose of DevOps, these apps use GitHub, Git, Docker, Ansible, Sentry, AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Datadog, Pingdom, Crashlytics, etc. To analyze their business, performance membership apps use various business tools such as Slack, G Suite, Asana, Zendesk, etc. 

Monetization Models  

As the name suggests, any subscription app is dependent on various subscriptions for its revenue generation. Patreon uses a tier system of subscriptions to generate a large portion of its total revenue. You can implement various monetization models for your app that delivers you a handsome revenue, such as: 

Early Access to Exclusive Content: Users are always excited about the next content of their favorite creators, and they pay for early access to content. You can implement this model in your app and offer early access to the users and charge a fee. 

Payment Processing Fee: Levy a charge on the payment processing of creators. All the apps of this genre charge a fee to each creator for their monthly payment processing. 

Exclusive Access to Online Events: Anytime a creator announces an online event with limited seats, subscribers are always ready to pay for booking their seat. You can either charge the creator and their fan base to get the limited seats. 

One on One Conversations: You can charge a fee to the users apart from their subscription plans to get a personal interaction with their favorite creators. 

Team Requirements  

Any mobile app development team has a basic structure of five main members that are responsible for the development of an app. Your budget decides whether you hire each of them individually or directly hire a team. A freelance team will cost less, but the quality of the product may vary. On the other hand, hiring a full-fledged mobile development company will deliver you results based on your expectations. 

The team structure should consist of a Project Manager who supervises the overall project with his/her skills and experience. Next in line are the QA engineers that make sure the quality of the project. The Testing Engineer comes next, that analyzes the product through various perspectives and reports any bugs and errors that are resolved by the core members of the team, the mobile app developers. UI/UX designers are the most important part of the team as they give your app a look you want your customers to see.  

Factors Affecting the Cost  

The cost of your community app development process depends on a number of factors. These factors can be regulated as per your requirements and expectations from the app. The number of features to be integrated into your app will fluctuate the cost. The more extensive features your app will have, the more the price will increase. 

The selection of technologies integrated into your app will also affect the cost. Your choice of mobile app development partner will also affect the development process cost. However, a reliable mobile app development company will assist you with feasible engagement models that are tailored as per your requirements. The location of the development will also affect the cost as various countries and regions have different costs.  

The Bottomline  

The number of content creators is going to increase in the coming years as these platforms deliver them handsome pay. More people are switching their fields to become digital content creators. You can benefit from this scenario by developing a subscription app that matches the expectations of your users. A reliable development partner can help your app in achieving great heights of success in terms of revenue generation and user base. 

Matellio can help you with your subscription app development with its team of highly skilled developers. Our team is equipped with vast technical skills and years of learning. We have created several membership apps with extraordinary performance and great reviews. We have a reputation as a mobile development company with a higher rate of client retention. Let us turn your idea of a membership app into a reality, get in touch with us now!

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