As Apple hosts its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Instagram and Facebook chose this time to test out its first-ever Maker Week. The three-day event is aimed at emerging and aspiring digital creators, complete with panels and virtual DJ sets on “Mythbusting Algorithms” and raising “trillions for a nonprofit that cares.”
During the first day of the event, Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement introducing new ways for creators to make money. In the coming months, Instagram will begin testing a native affiliate tool, which allows creators to recommend products available at checkout, share them with followers and earn commissions from the sales their posts generate. When creators make these posts, the text “eligible for commission” will appear below their username in the same way that sponsored content tags appear.
Available immediately, creators will be able to link their stores to their personal profiles, not just commercial ones. By the end of the year, select creators in the U.S. will be able to partner with one of Instagram’s commercial partners (Bravado / UMG, Fanjoy, Represent and Spring) for exclusive product launches on the app.
During Instagram Live videos, viewers can tip creators by sending them a badge, which costs between $0.99 and $4.99. Facebook Gaming has a similar feature called Stars, where a star is valued at 0.01. Starting this week, creators can earn bonuses for achieving certain challenges, such as starting with another account. In one promotional image, for example, Facebook is offering a 150 bonus for creators who earn 5,000 stars, the equivalent of $50.
“To help more creators earn a living on our platforms, we’ll keep paid online events, fan subscriptions, badges and our upcoming free standalone news products for creators until 2023,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “And when we do introduce a revenue share, it will be less than the 30% that Apple and others take.”
These updates mark Instagram’s latest push into affiliate marketing and in-app shopping, such as its redesigned Instagram Store and Shopping in Reels, which debuted last year.
“Our goal is to be the best platform for creators like you to make a living. And if you have an idea that you want to share with the world, you should be able to create it and spread it easily and simply, on Facebook and Instagram, and then earn money for your work,” Zuckerberg added during Maker Week. .
Creators may be enticed to experiment with these affiliate and storefront features, since for now, they won’t lose a share of their earnings on Instagram. But platforms like TikTok and YouTube offer monetization strategies that extend beyond e-commerce.
Last July, TikTok announced its $200 million TikTok Creator Fund, which allows popular posters to earn money from their videos. It’s unclear exactly how TikTok determines how much money to distribute, but it depends on the number of views, views engaged and other factors. In August 2020, YouTuber-turned-TikToker Hank Green estimated he would bring home about $700 from 20,000,000 TikTok views in a month, averaging about 3.5 cents per 1,000 views.
Meanwhile, YouTube announced a $100 million fund last month for top creators of YouTube Shorts, its TikTok competitor. The platform noted that over the past three years it paid 30 billion to content creators. Snapchat was paying a million per day to creators on its own TikTok competitor, Spotlight.
For users who don’t have millions of followers, these creator funds may not be high. Still, it offers a revenue stream based on views, outside of e-commerce or viewer tips. For now, Instagram can’t say the same.