FOR YEARS, PEOPLE have been building their own brands and businesses on Instagram—and in turn, have helped Instagram build its business. While the photo- and video-sharing service has happily helped those users monetize their followings, that’s largely happened off-platform. Influencers make deals with brands to create sponsored posts, or set up revenue sharing to recommend specific products. Unlike video platforms YouTube and Twitch, Instagram has never put its content creators on the payroll—that is, until now.
Instagram on Wednesday announced two new ways for users with “creator” accounts to make money: ads on IGTV and badges for Instagram Live. The IGTV ads will start showing up next week, and Instagram will split the revenue, with at least 55 percent going to creators—comparable to YouTube. The company will also give fans the chance to sponsor their favorite creators and businesses with paid “badges” on Instagram Live videos, which cost less than $5 and place a small heart-shaped icon next to their name. Instagram is testing both features with a small group of creators (and advertisers, for the IGTV ads), before rolling them out more widely.