Influencers on Instagram earn money in many ways and dozens shared with us how much they make.
From sponsored content to getting tipped on IG Live, creators balance several streams of income.
Instagram and influencers go hand-in-hand.
The Meta-owned social-media platform has become a primary stage for influencers launching their careers.
Those careers can take off quickly. For example, the 26-year-old influencer Achieng Agutu, who had about 488,000 Instagram followers when Business Insider interviewed her, earned over $1 million in her first year as a full-time creator.
Influencers don't need tons of followers to start earning money on Instagram. As more brands turn to smaller creators like "nano" or "micro" influencers with under 100,000 followers, establishing a full-time career as a creator is no longer a pipe dream.
Typically, influencers rely on sponsored content to make money. From posting a picture to the main feed with #ad to sharing swipe-up links in a series of stories, sponsored content takes on many different shapes.
Rates for these types of brand deals also vary.
For instance, Nate White, a comedy creator who had 340,000 Instagram followers when BI interviewed him, had a base rate of $3,000. Meanwhile, Jour'dan Haynes, a nano influencer, told BI she can earn up to $600 per post.
To land on these rates, some influencers rely on formulas like charging brands $100 for every 10,000 followers. But not everyone agrees on one formula.
But if influencers negotiate well, brand deals can lead to big paychecks. For instance, one influencer with 275,000 followers told BI she had booked $700,000 in brand deals in six months. Or look at Justin Moore, a content creator and coach for influencers, who told BI that he has earned $4 million from sponsored content since 2013. Two micro influencers even told BI they earned six-figure yearly salaries as full-time creators.
Sponsored content, however, isn't the only income generator for these influencers — although it is generally the most lucrative.
Influencers on Instagram can also earn commissions on affiliate links, profits from selling merchandise, and proceeds from monetization tools Meta has introduced. One influencer who spoke with BI made an average of $5,000 per month through affiliate links alone.
Instagram is even testing an ad-revenue sharing program that lets creators earn money for high-performing reels on the app.
Other platforms, like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, have similar programs for short-form video formats. YouTube also shares ad revenue with creators for longer-form videos through its Partner Program.
BI has spoken with dozens of Instagram influencers about how much money they charge brands for sponsored content and how else they make a living using the app.
Here's a comprehensive breakdown of BI's coverage of how much money Instagram influencers make:
How much money Instagram influencers make from brand deals
Many influencers earn money on Instagram by working with brands on sponsored content.
In 2022, Instagram launched a test of its Creator Marketplace, which connects brands and influencers directly on the app. Although the feature has received mixed reviews from creators in its first year of testing, Meta introduced more features and partners in 2023.
While other influencer marketing has a presence across the social media ecosystem, Instagram is still where a bulk of deals are inked, according to a 2023 report by influencer marketing firm Mavrck. The report found that rates are also higher on Instagram compared to platforms like TikTok.
If the traditional brand-deal route isn't for you, lots of creators also work with brands by making user-generated content, known as UGC ads.
So how much money are individual influencers making on Instagram?
50 Instagram influencers told us how much they charge for and have earned from sponsored content. Here's a full breakdown of our coverage, in order of follower count at the time of interviews:
"Macro" and "Mega" influencers
How Instagram influencers earn money beyond brand deals
From earning a commission through affiliate links to getting tipped by followers on an Instagram Live, there's a host of supplementary sources of income for creators on Instagram.
How much money do influencers make by promoting links or selling their own products?
Influencers use platforms like LTK and ShopStyle to generate affiliate links or discount codes provided by brands to earn a percentage of sales. (Read more about the top affiliate platforms for influencers.)
Adding these links just got easier, too. In 2021, Instagram released the ability to add link stickers in Stories to all users — regardless of the follower count or verification status. Instagram now lets users include up to five links in their bios, too.
The platform also began testing native-to-Instagram affiliate marketing tools for influencers in 2021, but later shut down the program during the summer of 2022.
Using Instagram's suite of monetization tools
Since 2020, Instagram has announced several monetization features for creators. Although the platform's ad-revenue share program for ads played on IGTV (which rebranded to "Instagram Video") came to an end in 2022, creators have turned to reels as a way to earn money.
Meta has an entire entourage of executives dedicated to helping creators on the platform, including monetization.
In May, Meta announced that it would begin testing a new ad-rev share model on Instagram reels with a select group of creators. Instagram announced it was ending its "Bonuses" program for reels a few months prior — though in late 2023, the company began teasing a return of the program.
Creators can also make money on Instagram by receiving "Badges" or "Gifts" (tipping features for Live and Reels, respectively), launching Instagram Subscriptions, and selling their own merchandise or products in-app.
Selling courses, direct-to-consumer products, merch, and community
Influencers can sell their own products and merchandise directly through Instagram's shopping features, or leverage their audience to promote their own brands, DTC products, coaching services, online courses, or digital communities.
Travel influencers, for example, are turning their audiences and content into lucrative businesses with group trips and services like trip advising.
And some influencers, like Huda Kattan, go on to found brands that are worth millions — or even billions — of dollars.
Resale apps like Poshmark, Depop, and Etsy have become lucrative small businesses for many Instagram creators.
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