Path Monetizes With A $14.99 Per Year Premium Subscription And Introduces Private Sharing

“Private” social network Path is ramping up its monetization machine with a premium subscription service that will allow users to access all of its stickers and filters for $14.99 a year. It’s also getting a little more intimate, with new features that will allow its users to share moments with specific friends rather than everyone in their network.

With the latest version of the app — version 3.2 — Path is rolling out a new Premium tier for users who are crazy about stickers and filters and all the micro-transaction add-ons that Path has available. Path users who wish to upgrade to Premium can do so for $14.99 for a year on iOS or Android devices. Or they can upgrade for $4.99 for three months on iOS or $1.99 a month on Android.

Users will get access to all 30 sticker packs now, and Path continues to add more — approximately one new sticker pack per week. Premium users will also have early access to new sticker packs as they become available.

Stickers have been a big growth driver for Path, especially after the company enabled users to embed stickers in comments. Originally only available for private messaging between users, daily revenue has doubled since they started showing up in user’s comments as a new type of self-expression.

Path Gets More Private

The new version also gives users the ability to break their already small networks of friends into even smaller groups for sharing. Path famously limits the number of connections you can have to 150, which means that any thoughts, photos, or place checkins that you post have a smaller audience than, say, Facebook or Twitter. But Path has learned that its users wanted even more control over tho they were sharing moments with.

To that end, the company has introduced a new feature called ‘Private Sharing’ which allows users to select the friend or friends that they wish to broadcast moments to. Those moments will appear in other users’ feeds with a lock in the upper right-hand corner designating that it was privately shared. You can also see which of your friends have viewed that moment.

2 (1)Cynthia Samanian, a product manager at Path who worked on the update, told me that the Private Sharing feature was introduced to give users more control over who they were sharing with. “Private Sharing is all about context,” she said. “It’s another way to share moments that matter to specific people.”

In addition to Private Sharing, Path 3.2 provides users with the ability to create a trusted “Inner Circle” of friends. Like moments that are privately shared, Inner Circle posts will only appear in designated friends’ feeds, and will be designated by a star. Users can refine their feeds so that they only see moments from their Inner Circle, and they can set more granular push notifications to include only posts from their nearest and dearest.

Path’s 150-friend limit is based on Dunbar’s number — which suggests that there’s a cognitive limit to the number of relationships a person can have at one time. But even within that limit, people have concentric circles of friends. The app’s Inner Circle solves a problem that Path has had for a while, enabling users to share only with those closest to them.

photo 5-4While Path is allowing users to refine their friends down to an Inner Circle, it won’t introduce other circles for users to corral their friends into. “We have no plans to add any other groups,” Samanian said.

Path has grown to more than 20 million users, but it’s looking to add more, thanks to a strategic partnership with Deutsche Telekom. Path will be pre-loaded on mobile phones that users get from the carrier. Deutsche Telekom subscribers will also get a free year of Path Premium, so they can sticker to their hearts’ delight.

Path’s latest update comes on the heels of the company opening up its API to 13 new content partners, bringing a wide range of new types of content into the app. The company has raised a total of $41 million from investors such as Redpoint, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Digital Garage, CrunchFund*, Jerry Murdock, Mark Pincus, Yuri Milner, Allen & Company, Greylock Partners, and other angels. It’s also in the process of raising up to $50 million more.