Instagram Is Going to Start Paying Influencers

Instagram wants to make it easier for creators to profit directly on the platform

instagram influencers
Influencer culture is changing. Instagram is trying to keep up.
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / May 28, 2020 10:51 am

Instagram is often thought of as the birthplace of modern influencer culture. But while the platform has led some of the great influencers of our time to internet fame and fortune, Instagram itself has never paid any of the creators responsible for turning the photo sharing site into the epicenter of the 2010s influencer boom.

Historically, Instagram influencers have monetized their activity on the platform through external brand partnerships with little involvement from Instagram. But influencer culture is changing, and as its stars flock to platforms like YouTube and TikTok, which have made it easier for influencers to earn money directly through the platforms themselves, Instagram is preparing to follow suit.

Earlier this week, Instagram announced several new features that will allow creators to earn money directly on the platform, including ads on IGTV, sales through Instagram Shopping and monetary tips in the form of badges fans can send to their favorite influencers on Instagram Live.

The IGTV ads will begin appearing on the platform next week. Instagram will split ad revenue with creators, pocketing no more than 45 percent.

Instagram users will also be able to support creators directly with the use of paid “badges” they can send on Instagram Live. Badges will cost between $0.99 and $4.99, with creators keeping 100 percent of the money earned (though Instagram has said it could roll out a revenue-sharing agreement for badges after the test phase is over). Users who purchase badges will receive one, two, or three heart icons next to their usernames, depending on how much they paid, which Instagram says will make those usernames more prominent in live feeds.

According to the New York Times‘ Taylor Lorenz, these changes are poised to “drastically alter the influencer moneymaking landscape,” marking a new wave of influencer culture.

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