Are you a creator or influencer? Follow this easy guide on how to monetize content on Instagram and start making money in just a few steps! Instagram content monetization has evolved a lot over the years. Back in the day, monetization was only available to a handful of creators who achieved major celebrity status on the internet.
The creator economy today allows pretty much anyone to earn money for having a following on any social platform. The amount of followers don’t really matter anymore, what brands care about the most today is your engagement levels. You might not earn as much as the Kardashians but by diversifying your income sources using monetization techniques, you can turn your Instagram hobby into a stable source of income.
How exactly does monetization work on Instagram?
Monetization on Instagram is a little different from YouTube. While YouTubers are paid a cut of ad revenue generated on their videos, Instagram is primarily an open marketplace for brands to place promotions on influencer accounts.
This is called branded content monetization and this is the primary (but not the only) way content creators make money on Instagram. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need millions of followers to start earning money. Micro-influencers are influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers (and usually very specific niche content).
A lot of brands are actively collaborating with micro influencers instead of big-time celebrities. That’s because micro influencers have a super-targeted niche audience that usually generates higher conversion rates for marketers.
Average Micro-Influencer Engagement Rate
Average Mega-Influencer Engagement Rate
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
As the creator economy matures, micro influencers have been able to charge a lot of money per post (sometimes even up to $1,000 per post) due to their strong opinion and reputation in a niche. If you’re able to establish a loyal follower base (even if it's just 2,000 to 10,000 followers), brands will find it worthwhile to reach out to you and discuss a potential sponsorship deal.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can use whatever tactics you can to get followers quickly. Brands have complex tools that allow them to monitor your profile’s engagement levels.
Engagement levels tell a brand whether or not your audiences actively respond to your content in a positive way and respect your opinion. So your audiences must be real and your content should resonate with them. Once you have a strong follower base and a steady stream of highly engaging content, only then you can start thinking about monetization.
5 ways to monetize Instagram content
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to monetize on Instagram. You can combine them to create multiple income streams, however, it’s better to focus on the highest paying tactics first.
Let’s take a look at the 5 ways to monetize Instagram content.
1. Sponsorship deals
Sponsored posts are the bread-and-butter of monetization on Instagram. Brands regularly reach out to influencers with an above-average following for a shoutout or a product review.
Depending on the industry and the size of the brand, as a creator you could get free products or cold hard cash in exchange for in-feed videos, Story posts, or Reels.
Brands usually ask you to tag them, show their product in action, and to put in a good word for them in a video. Some brands send you an entire script on what to say, others give you full creative freedom.
The latter usually happens when there’s a very good match between the brand and your content values. If you have credibility in the niche, brands will trust you to promote them in whatever style or format you prefer.
What to look out for
- Don’t forget about Instagram content monetization policies! You must put a #sponsored hashtag on every sponsored post to avoid getting reported.
- Use the paid partnership label when accepting payment or free product for a Story or any post in the feed.
- Research a brand before accepting a sponsorship deal. Working with a brand that has poor credibility or values that conflict with your audiences is a surefire way to damage your own reputation.
- You don’t have to wait for brands to discover you. You can be proactive and reach out to brands by yourself by using a social marketplace like Paysenger.
2. Social marketplaces
In today’s digital economy, creators are a valuable asset to brands because their content drives engagement at a much higher rate than traditional marketing.
Social marketplaces such as Paysenger allow brands to connect with creators in their industry and order content in large volumes. By setting up a creator account on Paysenger, you can easily sell content to brands and even offer shoutouts on other platforms like Instagram.
For example, if you’re an Instagram model looking to get sponsored by clothing brands, create a Paysenger account as a fashion influencer. Brands can easily find you by using search filters.
What’s more is that you don’t need to have any back-and-forth communication before agreeing on a price or requirements. You simply advertise on your profile what you can offer and how much you expect to get paid.
If brands agree, they place an order on your profile and can directly transfer payments to your Paysenger wallet. It’s a seamless way to scale your income through sponsor collaborations.
3. Recurring subscriptions
Subscriptions let your audiences pay recurring monthly payments to show their support in exchange for exclusive content. This is especially powerful for creators with highly niche content and audiences.
By using subscriptions, your income does not depend on view counts or your number of followers but rather the amount of money your specific audience is willing to pledge to support your work.
If you already have an audience, creating a business plan around subscriptions is quite straightforward:
- Ask your audiences what they would like you to make exclusively for them.
- Offer a subscription to exclusive content and promote it on your Instagram.
- Keep making more of such content for your most loyal supporters.
This is a much more reliable way to earn money on Instagram because it offers you a stable stream of income, unlike ads or sponsorships. Ad revenue is unpredictable because it depends on algorithms and views which can fluctuate.
Brands work with creators whose audiences might be interested in purchasing their products. This is not always the case for creators who produce niche content for a highly specific audience.
What to look out for
Subscriptions on Instagram are still not available to everyone. The feature can be accessed by creators in the US, who:
- Are residents of the US
- Have over 10,000 followers
- Are 18+ years old
- Comply with Instagram’s Monetization Policies
Subscriptions are available on an invite-only basis to creators based in Canada, Australia, and the UK.
If you don’t comply with Instagram’s requirements, you can always use third-party platforms like Paysenger or Patreon to sell subscriptions instead. These platforms were created to support creators to get recurring income
4. Livestreams Badges
Instagram Badges is a way for fans to support their favorite streamers during a livestream. Users can purchase Badges for $0.99, $1.99 and $4.99 to support creators.
As a creator, you’ll have to enable Badges on your account to avail this feature. It’s still a fairly new feature, so a lot of users don’t know about it. Make sure you tell your fans about it so they know how to support your livestreams.
To enable Badges on your profile:
- Go to your Professional Dashboard.
- Select Set Up Badges.
- Go Live.
What to look out for
If you don’t have the Set Up Badges button in your Professional Dashboard it means you’re not eligible. According to Instagram’s eligibility requirements, you must:
- Be based in the US.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have over 10,000 followers.
Badges are available on an invite-only basis to users in the following countries:
- United Kingdom
If you’re from one of the invite-only countries, then head over to Settings to check your invite status.
5. Affiliate marketing
Instagram launched its affiliate marketing program in 2021 and it's one of the oldest ways to monetize content on the internet.
Affiliate marketing can be explained in three steps:
- You share a unique trackable link to someone else’s product.
- Users click on the link to view the product.
- You get paid a commission each time a sale is made.
Ever since its 2021 update, Instagram affiliate allows all creators to add links in Stories as long as you tell your audiences that you’ll be getting a cut on every sale.
You can also add links to in-feed post captions:
Influencers on Instagram make a lot of money but you’ve probably realized by now that the platform’s monetization requirements are quite strict.
According to Statistica, 87% of all Instagram users are outside of the US which eliminates the majority of potential content creators from using Instagram’s monetization features. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from building an Instagram following.
By using third-party monetization platforms like Paysenger, you can always turn your Instagram following (or loyal audiences on any internet platform) into a source of stable income.
Get a boost on your content creator journey by joining Paysenger today. Monetize your content, get paid for producing viral videos, earn crypto tokens for building engaged communities, and much, much more!