If you ever wondered how to make money on Instagram, you’re not alone. The platform avoided creator monetization for a good while, but since it started sharing ad revenue in 2020, it’s introduced more revenue-earning features. Here’s a guide on how to make money on Instagram.
Do Instagram users get paid?
Yes! It’s become a legitimate source of income for many users, with everyone from micro-influencers to megastars getting in on the action. To put it into perspective, The Rock earned more than $1.5 million per post in 2021.
You’re probably not going to make Dwayne Johnson money, but you can certainly earn a good slice on the platform.
How do you start making money with Instagram?
Like other social media platforms, there’s more than one path to cash. Here they are!
1. Partner with brands
Find a brand that suits you and your content, creating tailor-made sponsored posts that chime with the brand and your online persona. You negotiate the terms of the deal, so the stronger your channel and the more engaged your followers are, the higher the wage. On average, an established micro-influencer can earn between $250 and $300 for a sponsored post.
Partnering with brands for sponsored posts is currently the best way to earn on Instagram, but it’s not a direct monetization option – as in, Instagram doesn’t get a say when it comes to how much you make from a particular deal. However, there are other ways to get paid straight from Insta.
2. Go Live with Badges
You can enable badges during Instagram Live sessions. These are little tokens your followers can buy to support you financially, at $0.99, $1.99, or $4.99 increments. They show up in the Live session as hearts, which is kinda cute. Creators receive 100% of the Badge revenue, minus any pesky taxes or service fees.
Badges are essentially tips, meaning viewers can show their appreciation during a Live session with more than just words. There’s a cap of $250 per viewer each session, so if you’re lucky enough to have a millionaire watching, this isn’t the best way for them to support you. But, for fans who want to reward you with a little something, this is perfect.
3. Allow ads on Instagram Video
Enable ‘In-Stream Video Ads’ and let commercials roll through your videos on Instagram. If you choose to do so, you’ll receive 55% of any ad revenue – the same cut YouTube takes.
How much you earn depends on how many views you rack up, and it's paid monthly. It’s also a passive form of income, meaning you don’t have to do anything extra to make that money. As long as you do you and achieve the engagement, that money’s yours.
4. Open up shop!
If you’ve got stuff to sell, hop on board. By converting to a Business or Creator account and uploading a product catalog, you can broaden your product or service’s reach and appeal through Insta.
Before this option existed, creators had to externally link to their merch, either in their bio or posts. Housing your products on Instagram Shopping makes it easier for your current followers, alongside new fans, to access everything you sell under one roof.
You can integrate your shop within your content, too. For example, if you’re selling hats, wear that hat in your next post. You’ll obviously look great, and when people wonder where they can buy one, they’ll tap the tag you’ve assigned the hat, and it’ll link them straight to the product page in your Instagram shop. Nice!
5. Reach new milestones and receive Bonuses
The ‘Gram has rolled out a few nifty ways to incentivize content creators in the form of Bonuses. You earn a one-time Bonus when you enable ads on Instagram Video, for example.
Reels Play Bonuses also become available once your Instagram Reels receive an – as yet unspecified – amount of views. Once activated, you have 30 days to rack up views on Reels you've selected yourself: the more views, the more money. Payment thresholds are personalized, with one creator claiming they'd need 359 million views to receive $35,000.
Gifts were also rolled out on Instagram Reels in 2022, allowing viewers to send fun little tokens to their favorite creators. These Gifts can then be converted to real-world currency.
You’ll probably need some music to drown out the sound of cash registers clacking. We’ve got you covered.
Does Instagram pay you for 1,000 followers?
There isn’t a magic number that determines when you start earning money on Instagram, as your worth is determined through quality rather than quantity. You need decent levels of engagement for brands to become interested in you and your ad-worthiness to grow – 10,000 low-engagement followers are probably worth less than a buzzy fanbase that constantly comments. However, those first 1,000 followers are a crucial first milestone – read more about how to reach that here.
You can make money on Instagram through brand partnerships agreed outside the platform and with affiliate marketing, too. Affiliate marketing means reaching out to an online merchant that offers affiliate programs, like Amazon Associates or ClickBank, and promoting their products in your content.
You’ll be given an affiliate link or promotional code, which you then share on your posts, Stories, or Instagram bio. If viewers use those links to purchase the highlighted products, you’ll earn a commission. Commission rates usually flit between 10 and 20%, depending on whether the partnership is pay-per-click or cost-per-acquisition. If it’s the latter, that means the ‘worth’ of the customer, how much they’ve spent, and more will factor into how much you end up getting paid.
However, to make money directly through Instagram, like we mentioned earlier, you’ll have to get approved for payment.
How do you get verified on Instagram for payment?
To earn money through Instagram, you need to comply with their Partner Monetization Policies. This includes:
- Living in an eligible country
- Sticking to Instagram’s Community Guidelines
- Following Instagram’s Payment Terms
- Abiding by the platform’s Content Monetization Policies
- Sharing accurate, honest information when required
You’re not allowed to monetize if you’re an elected politician or government official or running to become one. You also have to gain a ‘natural, authentic audience’ and maintain a ‘sufficient follower base.’ Instagram doesn’t publicly list that number, but it’s generally accepted that 1,000 is a solid place to start. If you artificially inflate your following or buy followers who offer no real engagement, you can risk having your account demonetized.
If you’re ready to start making it rain, ensure you don’t lose any income due to licensing hiccups or the incorrect use of music.