Turning Double Taps Into Dollar Bills–The Ultimate Guide on Monetizing Instagram

Ewa Studio/Shutterstock, Remix by Caterina Cox

While TikTok and YouTube might be seen as the launching point for flashy social media stars raking in millions of dollars every year, Instagram is holding down its corner of the market. Influencers, content creators, and brands have come to recognize the platform as both a tool for marketing and a home for revenue-generating content on and beyond the familiar grid. So if you’re looking for information on how to monetize Instagram, you’ve come to the right place.

Why should you monetize Instagram?

Although there are ways to make money using Instagram that require more work than just posting your usual content (and we’ll get to those), there are also several monetization options for eligible creators that are as simple as enabling a setting in the app. If you’re going to be creating for Instagram anyway, why not allow your work to generate revenue for you in the process?

But you may be on the fence about using Instagram to grow your content creation or influencing platform in general. Keep in mind there are 2.04 billion monthly active users on Instagram, making it the fourth most active social media platform behind Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube. 

It’s also continuing to grow at a solid pace, and parent company Meta has made it clear that they want Instagram to be able to compete with platforms that are perhaps more well-established for earning income. This has led to Instagram continuing to test out new methods of monetization for its top contributors over the past several years, allowing them to be at the forefront of experimenting with new earning opportunities.

Different opportunities to earn money with Instagram have different requirements.

Generally speaking, Instagram monetization requirements include having to reside in an eligible country, following the Community Guidelines, and agreeing not to boost your follower count or engagement through artificial means. 

You’ll also be expected to adhere to Instagram’s Content Monetization Policies, which means you can’t monetize content that includes the following:

  • static or looping videos
  • image slideshows
  • misinformation
  • material copyrighted by someone else
  • engagement bait 

Other types of content can also limit or prohibit monetization, including posts that include strong language, sexual or explicit content, violence, criminal behavior, or debated social issues. You can find out more here.

Check out Passionfruit’s guide to getting verified on Instagram in 2024

Six official ways you can monetize on Instagram

Instagram offers several ways to monetize your content directly through its platform, which certainly has its benefits. It keeps things simple and streamlined, from set-up to payout. The drawback is that not all of these opportunities are available to everyone—some are currently invite-only and others may have certain minimum requirements that need to be met by accounts to be eligible.

But whether you’re at a point in your Instagram career where you can benefit from direct monetization or not, it can be helpful to know what options are available.

1. Offer subscriptions

Subscriptions are a great way to offer exclusive content and perks to your most dedicated followers. You get to set the price point, as well as opt into promotions managed by Instagram to encourage followers to subscribe and stick around. In return, they get access to subscriber-only content you share, including regular posts, reels, stories, and even lives. Subscribers also get a badge next to their name, which can help you single them out in your comments and be sure to keep them engaged.

To offer subscriptions, you have to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have a professional (business or creator) Instagram account
  • have at least 10,000 followers

2. Partner with brands

Instagram is currently testing out a program that allows brands and creators to connect directly through an in-app creator marketplace. You’ll be able to select brands that you’re interested in working with as well as note broader topics that you feel would be a good fit for your audience. You’ll be able to set up a creator portfolio right there in the app for brands to browse as they are looking for influencers they want to connect with.

Instagram’s creator marketplace isn’t the only way to partner with brands, but if you qualify, being able to message brands in the app, as well as keep track of your ongoing partnerships and projects, can greatly simplify the process.

To join the creator marketplace, you must:

  • have a professional (business or creator) Instagram account
  • reside in the U.S.

3. Earn badges via Instagram Live

Badges are a way for viewers to show support for their favorite creators during live streams. They function as tips and can be purchased at $0.99, $1.99, and $4.99 price points if your account is eligible and you have set up badges via the Professional Dashboard. 

Fans who buy them will have a little heart show up next to their name so you can thank them for their support. And you’ll get to keep all revenue from badges, “minus applicable taxes and fees,” including the 30% cut taken by Google or Apple for in-app purchases.

To make money with badges, you have to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have a professional (business or creator) Instagram account
  • have at least 10,000 followers
  • live in the U.S. or be invited by Instagram if you reside in another eligible country

4. Accept gifts

Gifts on Instagram function similarly to badges in that they are essentially a way for viewers to tip their favorite creators. Unlike badges, which are only available via Instagram Live, gifts are given on Reels.

Followers (and non-followers) can purchase digital goods called stars and redeem them for digital gifts to show their appreciation for your work. Creators earn $0.01 for each star received.

To earn money through gifts, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have a professional (business or creator) Instagram account
  • have at least 500 followers (U.S. creators) or 1000 followers (non-U.S. creators in other eligible countries)

5. Enable ads on Reels

Instagram previously offered a bonus program that rewarded select influencers based on how well their Reels performed. Although that was discontinued in early 2023, the platform currently offers performance-based payouts by incorporating ads on Reels. If your Reel can be monetized with ads, you’ll earn money from Instagram as you get more and more views.

Because this feature is still in testing, we don’t have full info or transparency as to how it functions, and it may change in the coming months.

To earn money with ads on Reels, you have to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have a professional (business or creator) Instagram account
  • be located in the U.S.
  • be invited directly by Instagram to join 

6. Open a shop

Instagram makes it easy to set up shop and sell your products directly through their platform. Now, this option may not be ideal for everyone, but if you have merchandise that correlates to your Instagram presence, why not take advantage? Selling directly on Instagram gives you the ability to tag your products in your posts, creating a path of minimal resistance between marketing to your followers and them completing their purchase right there in the app.

Check out: How to use hashtags on Instagram effectively

Ways to make money on Instagram that aren’t in-app

For those who don’t qualify for official monetization through Instagram just yet, or who are looking to expand their horizons and delve into other ways to earn an income through the platform, don’t worry, there are options for you, too.

1. Partner with brands

As mentioned, you don’t have to go through Instagram’s creator marketplace to find brands to work with. You can always reach out to them directly, or brands may even start contacting you. Make sure you have a portfolio ready to go, and if you’re the one initiating contact, it’s not a bad idea to start by identifying a need in their marketing and outreach that you could help serve.

Be prepared to explain what you can bring to the table through your content and your audience, and don’t forget to know your value when the offers start rolling in.

2. Affiliate marketing

If you’re confident in your ability to influence your audience, then affiliate marketing can be a nice way to bring in some extra cash. With this option, you’re paid every time your followers click on a personalized link to a product or service and complete a transaction.

There are tons of affiliate marketing programs out there, so do some investigating, find some affiliates that are a good match for your audience, and give it a whirl.

3. Start a Patreon

Depending on what type of content you create, it may be beneficial for you to start a Patreon account where you can offer exclusive content and perks to your engaged followers in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.

This is a particularly great option for those who are growing their presence across social media platforms and want to create a single space for subscription-based monetization.

4. Set up a tip jar

If Patreon is too much of an additional commitment or doesn’t make sense with your content, you can still offer a way for your followers to donate to you directly by setting up a tip jar. There are all sorts of options for this online, from linking to your PayPal, Venmo, or Cash accounts directly, or going through a third-party site like Ko-fi.

5. Promote other monetized socials

Funneling followers to your other social media accounts is often a good idea, particularly if you’ve been able to monetize elsewhere. You can do this with simple reminders, or by creating Instagram-ready snippets of content from sites like YouTube or TikTok.

Check out Passionfruit’s full guide to content repurposing for helpful tips and tricks.

6. Offer consultations

Experienced creators may be able to earn an income by offering consultations to fellow creators or even brands. Naturally, this isn’t for folks just starting, but if you consider yourself an expert on attracting followers, understanding analytics, crafting an Instagram aesthetic, and getting the most out of hashtags, put together a portfolio and advertise your services.

How many followers do you need to monetize Instagram?

There’s technically no minimum number of followers you need to start earning money on Instagram. Micro-influencers are out there making good money with niche content made for dedicated, engaged, but small audiences through a number of the methods outlined above.

However, if you are going to monetize directly through Instagram, specific programs do have a minimum follower threshold you’ll be expected to hit before becoming eligible, including:

  • Subscriptions: 10,000 followers
  • Badges: 10,000 followers
  • Gifts: 500 followers (U.S.-based creators) or 1,000 followers (eligible creators based outside of the U.S.)

How many followers on Instagram do you need to make $1000 per month?

Making money on Instagram is usually more about how engaged your followers are than pure numbers—which means that there’s no easy way to calculate how much money you could make based on how your follower count grows. There are other variables to consider as well, such as how saturated your niche is, how many monetization options make sense with the type of content you create, and so forth.

That said, a survey conducted by HypeAuditor in 2021 found that micro-influencers with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers were averaging $1420 per month through various forms of Instagram monetization.

Tips and tricks for earning money on Instagram

With all those money-making options in mind, here are a few additional helpful hints to get you started on Instagram.

1. Keep your contact info accessible.

Make sure brands don’t have to dig to figure out how to contact you. Put your email address in your bio, set up a Linktree that leads to your website, and if you have your DMs open to everyone, make sure you actively keep tabs on them so you don’t miss an opportunity that comes your way.

2. Tag brands in your posts.

If you’re taking gorgeous pictures of home interiors or on-the-go fashion, tagging the brands you’re showcasing can be a great way to put yourself on their radar for future collaboration. 

3. Keep your audience engaged.

This is evergreen advice for creators and influencers across all social media platforms. Interact with your followers, make them feel heard, and take their interests and opinions into consideration, and they will stick with you. 

4. Pay attention to your analytics.

Assuming you’re set up with a business or creator account, you have access to helpful data about your demographics and the performance of individual posts that can help guide your posting choices in the future.

5. Master hashtags.

Hashtags help new people find your posts and Reels, and using them correctly can help you expand your audience simply and organically.

6. Stay up to date with FTC guidelines.

If you’re doing anything ad-related with brands, make sure you educate yourself about the required disclosures—even a whiff of trying to trick or conceal your affiliation with a company from your audience can bring trouble your way.

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