Despite several efforts to pay creators post covid, Instagram already boasts a graveyard of now-defunct programs. In March, Meta announced it would be putting two monetization programs for creators on ice: Digital collectibles (Instagram’s NFT feature) and the Reels Play Bonus. In 2022, Instagram also shut down IGTV ad revenue and its test of an affiliate marketing program.
And so the question still persists; How can creators make money on Instagram in 2023?
One method is user-pay, where followers pay creators for their content using Instagram-native tools like the tipping features Badges on livestreams and Gifts on reels. There are also subscriptions, which let creators share paywalled content on their Instagram pages. Mark Zuckerberg said in June that Meta won’t take a cut of revenue from monetization tools like Badges or paid subscription features until 2024.
Commerce tools like shops for creators are still active, and since July, Instagram has also doubled down on its creator marketplace where brands and influencers can collaborate on sponsored posts.
And later this year, more ad-revenue share options will make their way over to Instagram following Facebook’s own test of revenue sharing on reels.
Paid in Tips
Similar to Twitch’s “Bits” or TikTok’s “Gifts,” Badges are a way that fans can tip creators while livestreaming on Instagram using IG Live. In November 2021, the platform expanded access to Badges for all eligible US-based creators who are over 18 and have at least 10,000 followers.
Badges was first announced in May 2020 following a surge in IG Live usage and rolled out to a wider audience in October 2020. Facebook has its own version of this, too: “Stars.”
Instagram has now rolled out its “Subscriptions” feature to all eligible US-based creators. The Subscriptions feature lets creators share gated content, from exclusive stories to livestreams, in a fashion similar to that of Patreon or OnlyFans. Facebook also has a subscriptions feature.
Creators who are over the age of 18, have a public-facing creator or professional account, and have more than 10,000 followers are eligible to utilise this feature, according to Meta. Creators set the price points.
Instagram initially expanded some shopping features to creator accounts in 2020, allowing influencers with merchandise collections or products to set up their own “Shops” on the platform. As part of a 2021 update, Instagram said it would make it easier to open new shops and link business accounts within a creator’s main account.
While these creator-focused features remain, the platform has been scaling back other shopping initiatives, including removing the shopping tab from the platform’s homepage in September 2022.
Instagram also used to offer a feature, which it killed in February, that let users shop for products during live streams. The move came as the platform pivoted its strategy from shopping to digital advertising.
Instagram has tapped a small group of US-based creators to test the revenue-share model, but has not yet disclosed more details about the program.
This is not Instagram’s first ad-revenue-share program, though. Last year, Instagram shuttered IGTV and its in-stream ads model. Some creators were able to earn a percentage of the ad revenue generated on certain Instagram videos. The program was similar to YouTube’s Partner Program, which pays creators a percentage of revenue from Google-placed ads on videos.
Meta has also been testing its Ads on Reels program for Facebook creators for a year now and plans to bring ads to Instagram reels later in 2023.
The NFT Feature is Over
In March, NFTs and the Reels Play Bonus program were the latest Instagram creator monetization programs to get the boot.
After the company paused its Reels Play Bonus program on Instagram and Facebook last month, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said in an Instagram story post that the bonuses were “ROI negative” and Meta was losing money by paying out creators.
Instagram will be redirecting its efforts away from its NFT feature called “Digital Collectibles” and focusing on “other ways to support creators, people, and businesses,” Meta’s commerce and fintech lead Stephane Kasriel said in a tweet.