Instagram’s Creator Marketplace struggles to deliver for influencers

Instagram’s Creator Marketplace is a tool that connects brands with influencers for sponsored content. However, many influencers have been left disappointed with the product so far, citing issues ranging from low pay rates to little traction from brands. In this article, we’ll explore why the Creator Marketplace has left many influencers twiddling their thumbs instead of scoring brand deals.

The marketplace’s early promise

Initially, most creators were optimistic about the potential of the Creator Marketplace to bring them brand deals. According to some, the Marketplace began to warm up as Instagram onboarded more brands and rolled out new features. By November, the feature was showing creators exciting deals from well-known brands like Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty.

The marketplace’s current state

However, as the test has lingered on, some creators said the Creator Marketplace has lost its luster. Only three creators Insider spoke with out of the 17 had signed any deals with brands through the marketplace. “Over the last couple of months, I feel like the creator marketplace has died down a little bit,” said content creator Melanie Demi. “There are very few campaigns available, and if they are, they are with brands who are offering $100 to $200 for a couple deliverables.”

Low pay rates are off-putting to creators

According to documentation creators shared with Insider, the opportunities promoted on the marketplace appeared similar for creators regardless of their follower size and niche. The going rates for brand deals run between $100 and $1,000. But on closer look, some of those projects listed by brands are actually offering store credit, gift cards, or $100 worth of products. Some brands’ listings required retaining the rights to the content, which would normally cause rates to increase by at least 10% per month on top of a base fee.

Creator marketplaces risk being ‘exploitative’ hubs

Brands themselves are the ones setting the rates, not Instagram. Even on the TikTok creator marketplace, it’s the same. Recent data from Hashtag Pay Me showed that, on average, creators were paid almost three times more when making deals directly with brands than through Instagram and TikTok marketplaces. “Creator marketplaces should provide a more equitable way for the creator middle class to source opportunities,” said Qianna Smith Bruneteau, founder of the American Influencer Council.

Influencers are increasingly pushing for fair compensation for their work, and services like Clara and Hashtag Pay Me are helping them benchmark payments. The Creator Marketplace’s lack of quality brand deals and low pay rates is making it an unattractive option for many influencers. While Instagram’s Creator Marketplace is still in its “testing phase,” its current state is not inspiring confidence in its ability to deliver for creators.

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