Monetization

How To Make Money on Instagram in 2023: 6 Ways To Start Earning

by Kelsey McLellan · Updated Sep 30, 2023

Don’t let the TikTok hype fool you: Instagram isn’t going anywhere. The OG influencer platform is still here and — you know what? — it’s stronger than ever. Today, Instagram ranks as the fourth most popular social platforms in the world, boasting 2 billion monthly active users (that’s a full billion more than TikTok.)

Considering the platform’s massive global audience and reach, any creator would be smart to leverage Instagram as a way to earn money. If you’re new to Instagram or just new to monetizing on the platform, you may be wondering, “How do I make money on Instagram?” Each social media platform offers creators new and different ways to monetize their following, and Instagram has plenty!

If you’re interested in learning how to make money on Instagram, look no further. Our all-in-one guide lays it all out for you, giving you the tips and tricks you need to start making money on Instagram.

Can you make money on Instagram?

The simple answer is: yes, you can definitely make money on Instagram! Especially in recent years, Instagram has become a significant source of income for many creators, influencers, and savvy business owners who have learned how to monetize their Instagram audience. And there are many, many ways to do it.

Instagram offers creators a plethora of ways to earn money through the app, including brand partnerships, subscriptions, and more. And that’s just the beginning!

We’ve learned that there are tons of ways to make money on Instagram, but just how much money can you make through the platform? Read on to find out.

How much do Instagram creators make?

To put it simply: there’s no single answer to how much money Instagram creators make. In fact, there’s a massive range in the amount of income creators bring in through the app. Instagram creators’ incomes vary widely, from a few hundred dollars a month to over a million dollars per post or Reel.

So, why do Instagram creators’ incomes vary so widely? Since the Instagram influencer game is fairly new, there are really no regulations for how much influencers can earn through the platform. The amount of money an Instagram creator make depends heavily on a number of factors specific to each creator. When it comes to just how much money you can pull through Instagram, the metrics that matter most are your follower count and engagement rate. These two metrics speak to a creator’s reach (the number of followers they have) and how much influence they have over their audience (how much their followers like, view, and comment on their posts.)

Who are the highest paid Instagram creators?

Of course, it almost goes without saying that Instagram creators with larger followings and more engagement end up earning the most money through the app. Naturally, mega-celebrities (with mega followings) are at the top of the stack here.

According to an analysis by Influencer Marketing Hub, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who boasts the platform’s largest following at 581M, commands around $2,397,000 per post. More of the platform’s top-earning celebrities include Kylie Jenner, who charges an average of $1,835,000 for a post, and Selena Gomez, who rakes in $1,735,000 per post.

How much do smaller Instagram creators make?

Obviously, celebrities are the outliers. Not every creator has a follower count in the hundreds of millions. There are tons of Instagram creators with small to mid-sized followings earning a good income through the app. Let’s break it down.

When talking about the creator economy, creators are usually sorted into different “tiers” according to the number of followers they have. Using this tier system makes it easier to come up with estimated average earnings and it provides you with a framework you can use when negotiating rates with brands. The popular “tier” system can be broken down into:

  • Mega influencers (1,000,000+ followers)
  • Macro-influencers (500,000 – 1,000,000 followers)
  • Mid-tier influencers (50,000 – 500,000 followers)
  • Micro-influencers (10,000 – 50,000 followers)
  • Nano-influencers (1,000 – 10,000 followers)

Now that we’ve sorted out the main tiers of influencers, you’re probably wondering, “How much do these creators make?” Here’s a breakdown the median rates these creators are charging per Instagram post and Reel, according to a 2023 report by Later:

  • Macro-influencers: $5,000 – $7,030 per Reel
  • Mid-tier influencers: $175 – $625 per post; $500 – $5000 per Reel
  • Micro-influencers: $150 – $155 per post; $200 – $500 per Reel
  • Nano-influencers: $55 – $150 per post; $100 – $200 per Reel

As you can see, the sky’s pretty much the limit to how much money you can make on Instagram. It just depends on how much effort you want to put in to grow your audience and keep them engaged.

How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?

Obviously, to make any amount of money on Instagram, you’re going to need some sort of following. However, you don’t need to be a celebrity with a massive audience to earn money on Instagram.

Even if you only have 1,000 followers, you can still earn a good chunk of change through the app. As we saw, nano influencers can charge up to $150 per post and $200 per Reel — and that’s just a median. What’s even better is that Instagram actually shows a clear preference for smaller-scale influencers when it comes to engagement.

Even if you have a small following, if you’re willing to put in the work to post frequently, you can begin raking in a significant income. Those dollars add up! And so does the effort: by posting more frequently, you’re sure to start growing you following, you can begin charging even more per post or Reel. How’s that for motivation?

In addition to growing and engaging your audience, another way to earn more money on the app (regardless of how many Instagram followers you have) is to differentiate your revenue streams. Read on to learn how.

6 Ways to make money on Instagram

As we mentioned, there are many different ways to earn money on Instagram. Sponsored posts are just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s dive in!

1. Partner with a brand

Instagram is the platform of the influencer. And if you’ve reached influencer status, you can start getting paid to promote brands’ products through sponsored posts.

You probably already know this, but an Instagram influencer is a creator who has built a solid reputation and loyal audience by posting frequently and engaging with their followers on the app. As tastemakers, influencers hold considerable sway over their audience’s buying habits, and are able to convince them to buy into trends or purchase specific products.

Because of this, influencers have become crucial marketing tools for brands looking to sell their products and services. Today, brands will partner with Instagram influencers, paying them to promote their goods as part of an influencer marketing campaign. How it works is that the creator and the brand will negotiate and agree on a set rate per sponsored post.

How to land your first brand partnerships

Brand partnerships can be incredibly lucrative for Instagram creators, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars per sponsored post. To get noticed by potential brand partners — and to negotiate the most money from your brand partnerships — you’ll want to maximize your follower count and up your engagement rate.

Start small: begin posting consistently once or twice a week, then ramp up your content calendar. Also, don’t forget to engage with your followers by asking them questions and responding to their comments. To max out your earnings, you’ll probably want to prioritize Reels over grid posts. Recent reports have found that sponsored Reels earn creators almost double the revenue of in-feed Instagram posts.

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Earn money through Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

If you want to increase your chances of being spotted by a potential brand partner, you might want to check out Instagram’s Creator Marketplace. This platform is designed to make you more visible to brands looking to partner with creators. Essentially, it connects creators with brands, easily. The Creator Marketplace also allows you to manage all your brand partnerships in one place.

To start using Creator Marketplace, you’ll need to build out your profile by indicating the brands and interests that are most relevant to you. This ensures the brand opportunities you receive are in line with your personal brand, content, and audience’s needs.

After you’re set up, brands will be able to send you project invitations, which outline the details and requirements of a brand opportunity, as well as the project’s rate, all within the app’s handy messaging platform.

However, it’s worth noting that creators using this feature have expressed disappointment in its low payouts and the scarcity of big-name brands. Still want to give it a go? To join the Creator Marketplace, you’ll need to sign up for an Instagram Business Account or a Creator Account. From there, it’s all systems go.


2. Become an affiliate

So now you know all about brand partnerships. But did you know there’s another way you can work with brands to make money on Instagram? Thats right: you can earn money on the app by becoming an affiliate.

Affiliate programs are another popular way for Instagram creators to earn money through the app. In fact, Instagram hosted its own affiliate marketing program a few years back, which made it easy for creators to connect with brands. The platform pulled the plug on the program in 2022, but that didn’t discourage creators, who are now taking matters into their own hands. Let’s unpack just how they’re doing it.

How to start earning through affiliate marketing

While affiliate programs are similar to brand partnerships, there are some key differences between the two. While the revenue earned from a brand partnership is typically paid out in a sum agreed-upon in advance, affiliate programs work on a commission basis. This means you’ll be earning a percentage of the revenue per product or service purchased by your following.

To become an affiliate, you’ll first want to build up a solid reputation and a loyal Instagram following within a specific niche. These two are key, since being a successful affiliate hinges on leveraging the influence you hold over your audience’s purchasing decisions. The better your reputation as a tastemaker and the more engaged your following, the more money you’ll be able to make through an affiliate program.

Once you’ve built your following, you’ll want to start reaching out to brands for affiliate offers to promote and sell their products. Tons of brands across many different industries offer affiliate programs. That being said, you’ll want to target brands within your niche, so the products you’re promoting align as closely as possible with your audience’s interests.

Once you’ve engaged a brand, the brand will give you your own unique affiliate link or promo code, which you’ll share with your followers via Instagram posts, Reels, or even live videos. When your followers purchase the brand’s products through your link or with your promo code, you’ll earn a commission from the sale.

How much affiliate income can you make?

Instagram creators can earn a significant income through affiliate programs. Affiliate revenue depends on a few key factors, including the number of followers you have, and the number of brands you’re working with. Naturally, creators with larger followings and those working with more brands (thus, increasing their streams of revenue) stand to earn the most as affiliates.

Affiliate marketing contracts vary, but you can expect to earn around 5% to 30% commission per sale, with mid-sized influencers hovering around the 8% to 12% range.


3. Earn with Instagram subscriptions

Platforms like Patreon have made subscriptions a popular and lucrative way for creators to earn money. Now, Instagram has jumped on the movement, offering creators the opportunity to make money through paid subscriptions.

Instagram Subscriptions works similarly to those found on other social media platforms. In a nutshell, subscribers pay a monthly fee to access exclusive Instagram content, including posts, Reels, Lives, chats, and more, from their favorite creators.

Subscriptions are a great way to monetize because they garner you a recurring monthly revenue. In other words, they’re a consistent, reliable source of income, which is hard to come by in the creator economy!

Who is eligible for Instagram Subscriptions?

Are you ready for that sweet recurring monthly income? Before you can enroll in Instagram’s subscription program, you’ll need to determine whether you’re eligible.

Instagram Subscriptions are currently available to all U.S.-based users with a Creator or Business Account who meet the following criteria:

If you’re not based in the U.S., don’t worry! Instagram Subscriptions are currently available on an invite-only basis for eligible users based in Canada, Australia, and the U.K. And Instagram is looking to expand this list of countries in the near future. So, keep an eye on your inbox for an invite!

How to get started with Instagram Subscriptions

If you’re eligible, head on over to your Professional Dashboard to set up your subscription. Tap the Subscriber tab to view your subscriber list. From here, you can view your earnings, new subscribers, and cancellations, as well as manage your community, including restricting, blocking, or removing subscribers.

There are many ways you can make your subscribers’ experience worthwhile. First, consistency is key! You’ll want to make sure you’re offering your subscribers exclusive content according to a regular schedule, so they’re able to keep up and tune in. Next, show your subscribers some love. Your subscribers will be recognizable to you by the purple badge beside their handle. Show these special followers your appreciation by responding to their comments, and even shouting them out during your Lives.


4. Go Live with badges

You know all about monetizing posts and Reels, but did you know you can also make money by going live? Instagram’s Live badges feature allows creators to monetize their live sessions. Here’s how it works: when you go Live with badges, your followers can buy badges to support you and earn you money.

Who is eligible for Instagram Live badges?

You’re probably wondering how you can get started with badges. First, you’ll need to figure out if you’re eligible. Currently, this feature is available to all Instagram users in the U.S. meeting the following criteria. You must:

Not based in the U.S.? Access to badges is currently invite-only for eligible creators in the U.K., France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico. Here’s how to check your invite status:

  1. Head to Settings
  2. Tap Creator
  3. Tap Badges to view your invite status

How to get started with Instagram Live badges

You can get started with Live badges in just a few taps. Here’s how to enable badges on your Instagram account:

  1. Go to Profile and tap Professional Dashboard. If you’re eligible for monetization, you’ll see a button to Set Up Badges.
  2. Go live! Once you have access to badges, they’ll automatically be enabled for all your lives.

When a viewer purchases a badge, you’ll see heart(s) next to their username in your Live feed, as well as the total number of badges purchased and your total earnings for the session. Followers can purchase multiple badges per session in increments of $0.99, $1,99, and $4.99. Don’t forget to thank your viewers for the badges!

Live badges pays creators through direct deposit via your bank or PayPall account, so you’ll want to make sure you input payout information when you enable the badges feature. Cash out and watch the dollars add up!


5. Sell digital products

It’s official: we’re in the era of the digital product. From ebooks to online courses, creators across niches are all raking in cash by selling digital products. With the digital market poised to reach $617 billion this year, there’s no time like the present to start selling digital products. Why not sell them through Instagram, while you’re at it?

A digital product is anything you can sell online as a downloadable file. This includes templates, ebooks, digital artwork, and many more categories. Essentially, if you can dream it and download it, you can sell it online.

What are the benefits of selling digital products?

Selling digital products is a pretty low-effort way to maximize your income as an Instagram creator. This is because digital products require relatively little investment to create and sell. Because they live online, there’s no need for you to rent a brick-and-mortar store or maintain a physical inventory.

Additionally, digital products only need to be produced once. After that, copies can be sold over and over again, ad infinitum. This means digital products are a powerful source of passive income, which allows you to earn money while you’re off doing other things you love, like creating fun new content.

If you have digital products to sell and a decent Instagram following, you’ll definitely want to use your Instagram account to start earning money. After you’ve uploaded your digital product to your online storefront, promote your products through your Instagram posts, Reels, or live videos. Don’t forget to add a link to your store and products in your Instagram bio. Then, sit back and watch the cash roll in.

Want to cash in on digital products? Our AI-powered tool helps you create and sell digital products, easily. Try The Leap for free now.


6. Sell merch

Selling merch is another great way to monetize your Instagram following, all while engaging your followers. Think of your merch like a sports jersey and your followers as your biggest fans. From T-shirts and tote bags to mugs and water bottles, these pieces of physical merchandise are usually branded with a creator’s name, handle, or slogan, and are purchased by followers to show their support.

Widely available print-on-demand (POD) services make it easier than ever to sell merch as a creator. All you need to do is design your logo, and the POD service will print the product and send it off to your followers. That means there’s no need for you to maintain an inventory or deal with pesky shipping logistics.

As an Instagram creator, you can also take advantage of Instagram Shopping. This set of features lets creators set up their own storefront on Instagram and sell their products through photos and Reels across the app. It even lets followers purchase your merch in-app for a totally seamless experience.

So, how do I make money on Instagram?

You likely arrived on this page because you were wondering how to make money on Instagram. And now you know!

Instagram has become a lucrative source of income for thousands of creators around the world, with many earning annual incomes in the tens to hundreds of thousands.

From brand partnerships and affiliate programs, to subscriptions and digital products, there are plenty of ways to make money on Instagram, no matter how many followers you have. Our advice is to start small and slowly grow your streams of revenue (along with your following!) Once you’ve done that, your cash will grow too.

Want more tips for earning money online? Download our free guide on 12 ways to make your first $100 online to get inspiration from a dozen creators.

12 Ways to Make Your First $100 Online

Get inspiration and pro tips from a dozen creators who know how to make bank!

FAQ

Does Instagram pay creators?

Yes, Instagram does pay creators. There are a number of ways creators can make money directly through the app including Instagram’s Creator Marketplace, subscriptions, and Live badges.

How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram? 

There’s no minimum number of followers you need to reach before you can start making money on Instagram. You can begin earning money through the app with as few as 1,000 followers.

How can you make money with Instagram Reels?

Currently, there are no ways to monetize Reels directly on Instagram. In March 2023, Meta axed Instagram’s Reels Bonus Program, which paid creators to hit benchmarks for views on their Reels. Although, it seems Meta does have upcoming plans to expand its Reels monetization program for creators. So keep an eye out for that.

At the moment, the only ways for creators to make money from Reels include partnering with brands, becoming an affiliate, promoting and selling your own digital products or merch, and creating exclusive Reels via Instagram subscriptions.

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Further reading

kelsey mclellan
About the author

Kelsey McLellan

Kelsey McLellan is a writer and editor based in Toronto.
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