Instagram today revealed that, at long last, it’s rolling out a few ways for its creators to earn money directly from their posts. The platform is currently testing both ads for IGTV and a subscription service for those who use Instagram Live. It’s a start, at least.
Ads on IGTV have been in the works for a few months now — we first heard of them back in February. The ads will be about 15 seconds long, and will appear after you click the “Watch IGTV Video” button from a preview. The company will test various ad formats in the coming months, including the ability to skip them, to see what everyone responds to. It’s not a surprise to see IGTV getting its first ad-based feature, given how much experience Facebook has with that on its own platform.
The second feature Instagram is testing is Live badges. If a follower wishes to support a creator directly, they can purchase a badge that will mark them out during Instagram Live broadcasts. Badgeholders will have access to special emoji and “placement on a creator’s list of badge holders.” It sounds a bit similar to Twitch’s subscription tiers, though I’d have to see it in action before properly comparing them.
While the announcement itself was somewhat vague on details, Instagram COO Justin Osofsky gave The Verge some of the exact financial details. Creators who run IGTV ads will get 55 percent of the revenue, while badges will be available in tiers ranging in price from $0.99 to $4.99. Osofsky adds that IG won’t collect a percentage on the initial test of badges, but will once they roll out to more creators.
One of the sticking points of Instagram has always been that there’s no way for creators to make money directly from what they post or livestream to the platform. Influencers can make money from sponsorships and brand collaborations, but not directly from their own work. Besides the fact that a creator who doesn’t want such partnerships is left with no real options, leaving potential revenue at the mercy of third parties also opens up-and-coming creators who don’t know any better up to potential scammers, hackers, and other such scummy people. Instagram‘s tried to curtail some of that with its Brand Collabs Manager, which provides insights from a creator to partnered brand — this eliminates the need for shady analytics sites, a major source of said scams.
So now Instagram‘s myriad creators can start making a buck without having to deal with such things, though it won’t be for a while. Instagram will test both IGTV ads and badges with small groups soon.