Instagram might finally be allowing its stars — its IGTV stars, that is — to make money directly from their content. It’s internally testing a Partner Program that lets IGTV creators run ads on their videos. If it works on Facebook, then why not give it a try on Instagram? It’s better than nothing, which is basically what creators have had up to this point.
Instagram is working on IGTV Ads to let influencers monetize their content by running short ads on their IGTV Videos pic.twitter.com/wOhbnpsfjL
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 7, 2020
The images come from — who else? — Jane Wong on Twitter. According to the images she unearthed, IGTV users would be able to “earn money by running short ads on your IGTV videos. It sounds very similar to Facebook‘s mid-roll ads, in which content creators reap the revenue from the ads. It makes sense that it’s the first monetization option on the Facebook-owned platform — it works on Facebook, so it stands a good chance of working on Instagram.
Up to now, all the money Instagrammers make comes from sponsorships with outside brands, which pay to have their products hawked on IG pictures. It can be a very cloak-and-dagger endeavor, and Instagrammers can frequently fall victim to scammers and hackers claiming to offer them lucrative deals.
At first blush, it might seem odd that Instagram is using this on IGTV, considering it’s backed off on promoting the site. It’s removed the IGTV button from the main page (which it says no one really used) in favor of allowing users to discover IGTV vids via the Discover page and other places on the site. That said, last April IGTV’s talent lead told The Verge that “IGTV is going to be the first monetizable platform on Instagram. It’s just a matter of when.” Again, since mid-roll ads are already a tried-and-true (if somewhat annoying for users) staple of Facebook, it makes sense to go there first.
It’s no secret that we’ve been exploring this. We focused first on making sure the product had legs — else there would be little to monetize in the first place. IGTV is still in its early days, but it’s growing and so we’re exploring more ways to make it sustainable for creators.
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) February 7, 2020
That said, I very much hope it’s not the only monetization option Instagram is working on — and I hope we’ll also find out what kind of revenue split the creators can expect. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said on Twitter that the site is exploring “more ways” to help out its creators. While I’m not the greatest advocate for the influencer lifestyle, I do think it’s about time a program like this came along.
Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch this was an internal prototype, and it could be a while before we see this in the wild.