Instagram creators who have used the platform to launch full-time careers have, to date, relied on indirect sources of revenue like branded content and merchandise sales to support their livelihoods.
First, starting next month, Instagram will add the ability for users to purchase “badges” during Instagram Live videos (pictured above) to show support for their favorite creators, similar to Twitch’s Cheer animated emoji. Badges will be priced in three different tiers — at 99 cents, $1.99 and $4.99 — and in the initial test period, Instagram will share all of that revenue with the creator partners.
Second, Instagram next week will begin running ads in IGTV, the platform’s long-form video destination, with at least 55% of the advertising revenue shared with creators. Initial brands that will be running IGTV ads include Sephora, Puma and Ikea.
“Providing a variety of monetization tools is crucial in order to support all creators on Instagram, from emerging digital stars to established entertainers and everything in between,” said Instagram COO Justin Osofsky. “We’re excited to add these two new revenue streams to the mix of tools for creators to help them generate additional income to fuel their work.”
At first, the Instagram monetization features will be limited to a small set of hand-picked creator partners.
The Instagram Live badges will start rolled out in the U.S. in June with a “small group of creators and businesses,” according to the company. In the next few months, it plans to expand badges across the U.S., Brazil, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain and Mexico.
Badges will appear next to a user’s name throughout an Instagram Live video, and fans with badges in Instagram Live will stand out in the comments. Creators will see a list of all badge purchasers, so they’ll be able to give supporters shout-outs during a livestream.
IGTV ads will initially appear when people click to watch IGTV videos from previews in their Instagram feed. The video ads will be built for mobile — each up to 15 seconds long — and Instagram plans to test various ways of delivering the spots, such as the ability to skip an ad.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram has seen an explosion in using of livestreaming: The company says Instagram Live views jumped 70% from February to March 2020. That accelerated Instagram’s plans to launch badges.
“We’ve seen interest [among Instagram users] in support for online creators. It resonates quite well with fans, who are engaged in and invested in creators,” said Jim Squires, Instagram’s VP of business.
Instagram creators participating in the badges test include @CharleeAtkins; IGTV creators in the advertising trial include @haileysani, @salicerose and @avani.
In addition to Instagram Live badges and IGTV ads, Instagram also is trying to help creators expand their e-commerce and branded content businesses on the platform. It recently announced Live Shopping, which will let creators and brands tag products during their live videos. In the next few months, Instagram says, it will expand shopping access to more creators who want to sell their own products. Instagram also plans to widen access to Brand Collabs Manager, a marketplace brand to connect with sponsors, to all U.S. creators over the next few months.