Video Monetization

How to Monetize Instagram: 8 Proven Strategies for Creators to Boost Earnings

By Elise Dopson
18 Min Read
Image showing examples of how to monetize your Instagram as a content creator.

You’ve already got a loyal following on Instagram—perhaps a few thousand strong—but you’re not making any money through Instagram. All of your content is free and you’re struggling to keep up with the pressure of creating new engaging content without any financial return.

It is possible to make money on Instagram through a combination of the monetization features offered by the social network, and by monetizing your most loyal fans outside of the Instagram app. 

We asked creators who are making money through Instagram to share the monetization methods they use. Here’s what they said. 

How to monetize Instagram and make money

  1. Launch a membership site
  2. Join an affiliate network
  3. Work with brands on sponsored posts
  4. Offer video ad placements
  5. Sell products through Instagram 
  6. Offer coaching or consulting services
  7. Host live streams to earn Badges
  8. Enable Instagram Subscriptions 

1. Launch a membership site

The most lucrative way to monetize Instagram is to start monetizing exclusive content. 

How? Offer your most loyal fans paid membership access to exclusive, high-quality content alongside a supportive community of people who share the same interests. We’re, of course, referring to membership sites.

A membership site is a place to bring your followers together and combine premium content with a thriving community.

Take Studio Bloom, for example—a fitness community created by Brooke Cates that offers pre- and post-natal workouts for new moms. To monetize their social following on Instagram, Brooke launched an online fitness membership site to offer online workouts in video form.

Studio Bloom’s Instagram videos act as a preview to their full paid workout videos. They use their Instagram account to get people hooked on their content and keep them wanting more, which creates interest in and referrals back to their independent video streaming site hosted on Uscreen.

Image showing different membership subscription plans for Studio Bloom.

Within just 10 months after launching, Brooke managed to shift her business entirely online. Studio Bloom now makes over $87K a month and continues to grow. They saw a 30% increase in subscribers in the last 3 months alone.

The creator funnel illustrates how your Instagram audience can turn into paying subscribers:

Image showing a creator funnel from an audience, to a community and finally to a membership.

At the top of the funnel (your Instagram account), you’re responsible for creating new content. Your followers talk to you, but there isn’t much interaction between members. It’s on you to start conversations. 

Your Instagram audience turns into a community when members start interacting with each other. This could happen through chat features, live streams, or question and answer sessions.

Finally, you start monetizing your Instagram followers when they subscribe to your membership, allowing them to access exclusive content alongside an exclusive community. This premium content includes the following formats:

  • Online course content
  • Webinars or on-demand videos
  • Templates
  • Live streams
  • Workbooks 

The added advantage of running a membership is you don’t have to get members talking. Just a few prompts and regular pieces of premium content means people pay a set monthly (or annual) fee to stay subscribed. 

Our research shows that with adequate marketing, 2% – 5% of Instagram followers convert to paying subscribers to video streaming services.

And the impressive results don’t stop there:

  • On average, Uscreen customers earn over 6 figures a month
  • Uscreen customers with membership apps generate 10x more subscription revenue
  • Memberships with active communities have 2 times less churn compared to non-engaged members

Unsure how to price your membership for your Instagram audience?

Find Your Perfect Membership Price

Use our free tool to pinpoint your ideal membership price in just 3 steps, leveraging a decade of data.

2. Join an affiliate network

Affiliate marketing is another popular way to monetize Instagram. It involves working with a brand or business as an “ambassador” to promote their products or services in exchange for a portion of revenue.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. Sign up as an affiliate
  2. Use the provided unique affiliate link or code in your post(s) or Instagram bio
  3. Receive a percentage of every purchase made

As an affiliate marketer, you could earn between 5% to 50% commission on each product you sell. It largely depends on the industry or type of product you’re promoting, the product’s price, and your affiliate partner’s profit margin.

Affiliate marketing is also one of the easiest ways to make money on Instagram because most products you’re already using have affiliate programs. The barrier to entry is low and thousands of top brands already have a self-enrollment program in place. It only takes a few minutes to sign up and get started. 

The best part: Instagram shopping is booming, and you can have your own Instagram Shop that showcases the products you’re affiliated with.

You’ve probably already seen affiliate marketing in action while scrolling through your Instagram feed. 

Take this Instagram post by The Rambling Spaniels, for example—a pet influencer boasting over 20K Instagram followers. When someone buys the robe using their affiliate code, Cooper and Sunny (and their humans) get a commission.

Image showing The Rambling Spaniel's Instagram post.

Getting started as an affiliate is a fairly straightforward process. Just hop over to Google and search: [product name] + “become an affiliate” to see if they have one or not. Then, simply fill in the necessary details to sign up. 

You can also consider an affiliate marketplace to get started. It’s a network that connects affiliates with merchants, such as Amazon Affiliate or ClickBank.

The most profitable income stream related to my Instagram would be the Amazon influencer program. By leveraging my following I can also create product reviews that get posted to Amazon and earn daily commissions. I have made over $6,000 year to date with limited time committed to this monetization strategy.

Ryan Thompson, founder of Seeking Discovery

It’s best to stick to goods and services that fit your niche and that you personally believe in, these will resonate most with your target audience, and have the largest impact. The last thing you want is your audience to feel like you’re selling them out by promoting products they’re not interested in. 

3. Take part in influencer marketing

A social media influencers’ ultimate goal is to work with their dream brands and earn big bucks.

Also known as influencer marketing, this option allows you to collaborate with brands to create sponsored posts which promote a product, service, or campaign. 

It’s a popular strategy: some 40% of Instagram influencers monetize their accounts with sponsored content. 

Influencer marketing posts typically focus on direct product placement through tutorials, giveaways, and unboxings. But you can diversify your channels by leveraging your Instagram followers and redirecting them to your own website, blog post, or email list.

Here’s an example from the Instagram account of nutrition and wellness influencer Elizabeth Moye. It’s a standalone post where she showcases Good Culture’s probiotic milk in a recipe:

Image showing HelloSpoonful's Instagram post.

You can see how Elizabeth seamlessly worked the product placement into a valuable piece of content. It’s more than just her holding a carton of milk and posing; it’s something that her audience can go away and use.

Instagram requires creators and influencers to disclose when they’re posting sponsored content. It’s best practice to mention when your posts are sponsored ads. 

You can do this by:

  • Using the paid partnership feature
  • Adding #sponsored or #ad hashtags
  • Mentioning it’s an ad in the caption
  • Saying it’s a gift from, or a partnership with, a brand

Despite the rules around branded content on Instagram, sponsorship deals can be a pretty lucrative venture. 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

Instagram’s influencer marketing tiers and rates

Influencer Marketing Hub’s research shows how much you could earn from a single sponsored post, depending on how many Instagram followers you have: 

  • Nano-influencers: With less than 10,000 followers, earn between $10 and $100 per post
  • Micro-influencers: With 10,000–50,000 followers, earn between $100 and $500 per post
  • Mid-tier influencers: With 50,000–500,000 followers, generate between $500 and $5,000 per post
  • Macro-influencers: With 500,000–1,000,000 followers, can earn between $5,000 and $10,000 per post
  • Mega-influencers: With more than 1,000,000 followers, generate over $10,000 per post
  • Celebrities: While follower count varies, they can generate over $1 million per post

Creator Shriya Boppana adds: “Per in-feed post, I make on average $300-$400. Per contract, I make $1,200—which is a few in-feed posts plus tons of giveaways and free merch every month of the contract duration.”

Image showing how the Partnerships messages get priority delivery on Instagram.
Source: Instagram

Instagram’s Brand Collabs Manager tool makes it easier than ever to get discovered for paid partnerships and connect with brands that best match your objectives. 

To be eligible for the Brand Collabs Manager tool, you need to have 1,000 followers and at least one of these criteria: 

  • 15,000 post engagements (number of people who have engaged with your posts through likes, comments, shares, and more) in the last 60 days. 
  • 180,000 minutes viewed in the last 60 days.
  • 30,000 1-minute views for 3-minute videos in the last 60 days. 

Another option is to research and identify your favorite brands and consider whether your audience will also obsess over these products. Then, engage with their profiles by leaving comments, liking their posts, and demonstrating your value as the superfan you are.

When you’ve started to see some interaction from them, you can slide into their DMs to see if they’re interested in working together. 

Graoh showing different levels of average feed post engagement rates.
Source: Later

Equally as important as your follower count are your engagement rates, so you should take advantage of Instagram analytics as part of your marketing strategy.

Research shows that the average Instagram engagement rate is 2.88% —but the higher, the better. A high engagement rate, even with a smaller audience, will net higher pay than a huge following that doesn’t engage with your Instagram posts. 

If your engagement rate is below 1%, you should work more on building your brand and getting traction with your audience. 

Alternatively, if your engagement rate is 3.5%, your followers are highly engaged, and you can expect a bigger return from any monetizing strategy you choose to implement. 

With that said, nano influencers can make a decent amount of money, especially if their engagement rates are high. We recommend you hit the 10,000 follower mark and an engagement rate of 2.5% or more before looking to monetize.

That’s because you can:

  • Sell to a larger number of people (if you have 2.5% engagement, you’ll reach 250 Instagram users).
  • Survey your follower base to get a clear idea of products/services they want to see.
  • Offer a larger return on investment to brands and advertisers.

4. Offer video ad placements

Product placements or video ads are as ageless as advertising, but the technique truly came into vogue with the rise of video.

A brand will pay you to feature their product in your Instagram stories or videos, and you’ll generate some cash for advertising it. 

Placements are measured by their CPM (cost per 1,000 views). Depending on your clout, what you’re spotlighting and to whom, there’s a wide range for potential earnings. Just remember the more views you generate, the greater the profit.

You can use these 4 types of video for product placements on Instagram:

  1. Reels: product placements with Instagram Reels can be anything from styling and make-up tutorials to snack reviews.
  2. Instagram Stories: showcase products in super-short, unedited videos from your daily life. 
  3. Long-form video: use longer grid videos for longer tutorials or reviews.
  4. Instagram Live: produce live videos if you want to get real-time engagements and questions. 

Emily Miller is a fashion influencer who uses product placement videos to monetize her Instagram following. She shows products she would personally use—like this sponsored post for Vanquish Fitness’ workout clothes.

Image showing Emily Miller, instagram influencer, post.

If you’re wondering how to get started with product placements, your best bet is to approach brands directly with your pitch and prepare your proposal in detail. 

5. Sell products through Instagram

If you already have loyal fans that want to experience your brand in the real world, selling your own merch is an excellent way to monetize your Instagram presence. Your products can either be part of your content or the content itself. 

So, which products should you sell on Instagram

Take a look at the people in your audience what they use, wear, consume or interact with daily. This can be anything from physical goods like clothes, accessories, or home decor to digital products like e-books, online courses, or presets.

The best part is that you get complete control over what you sell, how much you charge, and the design of your product.

But creating goods as your main source of content is a lot of work. You’ll deal with the logistics of creating your product/service—which is where the dropshipping model comes in good use. 

Dropshipping is a setup where you arrange for the manufacturer to ship merch directly to the Instagram customer. You completely bypass production, inventory storage, and shipping hassles. When setting up your own online store, just use a dropshipping app like Oberlo to coordinate the process.

Freelance writer Kat Boogaard, for example, dropships mugs from her online store and promotes them on Instagram: 

Image showing Kat Boogaard''s Instagram post.

Prefer not to deal with inventory altogether? 

If you have niche-related knowledge, you can create a digital product by organizing your knowledge and skills into a digestible format to teach Instagram users, such as:

  • eBooks
  • Online courses
  • Videos or webinars
  • Live streams 

And if you’re also monetizing your Instagram profile with a membership site, these one-off products make for great premium content that existing members can get access to with their subscription.

Take a look at Naturally Sassy’s feed, which shows major fitness, health, wellness, and dog inspo. She shares, health and wellness tips along with short snippets of her ballet-inspired fitness and wellness tutorials:

Image showing Naturally Sassy’s feed, which shows major fitness, health, wellness, and dog inspo.

These videos give Sassy’s attentive Instagram followers tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle with movement, breathwork, and food. She positions herself as an expert who practices what she preaches with high-quality content.

While her passive followers get a lot out of her informational Instagram page as is, her die-hard fans can get even more value from her online fitness plans:

Image showing Naturally Sassy's digital products.

Digital products are low-cost products that you can create once and sell forever.

They’re also high-ticket items to sell through Instagram. Specialized online courses—like The Part-Time Creatorpreneur by Ali Abdaal—retail for $799. Even just a few sales per month could help you turn Instagram into a full-time job. 

6. Offer coaching or consulting services

If you want to start an online business that doesn’t involve digital or physical products, then teaching people what you know is a lucrative way to earn money from Instagram.

Coaching or consulting both educate or help your audience solve a specific pain point they’re experiencing in their lives. That could include anything from learning how to do magic tricks to self-discovery through astrology—and everything in between.

While you do trade time for money when selling coaching services through Instagram, 1-to-1 services tend to command higher prices. Your followers pay a premium for the privilege of working with you directly. They can get answers, feedback, and advice from the creator they already know and trust. 

The simplest way to sell coaching services is to create a landing page that tells your Instagram followers about your service. You should include:

  • The problems you can help with
  • The goals you can help your audience achieve 
  • Testimonials from other clients you’ve coached
  • A link to book your coaching service (e.g. a Calendly link with a payment form)

Instead of relying on one-off sales, the most successful Instagram creators incorporate coaching into their membership programs. Research shows that 41% of creators monetize their membership with coaching or consulting services.

Take Jay Clouse, the creator of The Lab. He incentivizes his audience to pay for a more expensive membership tier because the VIP subscription offers 1-to-1 coaching. He’ll earn almost $3,000 each year someone stays subscribed. 

Image showing TheLab's membership plans.

7. Host live streams to earn Badges

Instagram has a bunch of native features to help creators earn money on the platform. 

One of them is Instagram’s Badges feature on Instagram Live, which helps you generate extra revenue from your live videos. Badges are a way for your followers to tip you mid-stream. Users can buy badges in increments of $0.99, $1.99, and $4.99. 

When followers give their badge to you, a heart appears beside their username and the tip gets deposited into your bank account by Instagram. 

The secret to making money with Instagram Badges is to build a loyal connection with your audience. That means:

  • Going live on Instagram regularly
  • Giving people behind the scenes access 
  • Interacting with followers in real-time, like answering their questions or asking for feedback

Some select creators also see success when they tell Instagram followers what the tip supports. If you’re a small influencer looking to quit your day job, for example, you could tell people how their Badges make that possible—and that when you do go full-time on Instagram, how much extra content they’ll get.

Image showing a professional dashboard in instagram for live streams.
Source: The Verge

Instagram Badges eligibility requirements

To qualify for Instagram Badges, you must:

  • Be located in the US and aged 18+
  • Comply with Instagram’s partner monetization policies and community guidelines
  • Have more than 10,000 followers on Instagram

8. Enable Instagram Subscriptions

If you have a large, engaged Instagram audience, you can create exclusive content and sell it through an Instagram’s subscription service that only your most dedicated followers can access.

With these Subscriptions, you can:

  • Offer exclusive, premium content to your subscribers
  • Choose the price you want to charge for your Subscription (monthly or yearly)
  • Receive payments directly through Instagram

For example, Chanel Kreuzer, an American artist and Instagram influencer who has 27,000 followers, charges $1.99 to access behind-the-scenes videos and art tips. If she has 200 paying subscribers, Chanel will earn $398 per month directly from her Instagram profile. 

Image showing Chanel Kreuzer's art subscription plan for Instagram

While Subscriptions is a good way for beginners to start making money on Instagram, the model is flawed for a few reasons:

  1. You don’t have control over your content—Instagram can close down your account at any time, without notice. You also can’t customize the experience, which could cause members to churn.
  2. Only people with an Instagram account can join your membership, which limits your potential audience. 
  3. Creators currently keep 100% of the revenue, excluding taxes. But we all know that this is going to change in the future as Instagram expands its monetization offering. 

The better option is to build a standalone membership website that you have complete control over. 

With Uscreen, you can see in-depth analytics about your paying members, stand out from other creators with a branded member experience, and host different types of premium content on a website you own.

Instagram Subscriptions eligibility requirements

Instagram Subscriptions is available to creators who:

  • Are aged 18+
  • Comply with Instagram’s monetization policies and community guidelines
  • Have more than 10,000 followers on Instagram
  • Are in a country where Subscriptions are available—such as the US, UK, and Canada
It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

Monetize your Instagram account today

Instagram’s native monetization features are an immediate, short-term solution to monetization. 

But the algorithm is almost always in control and is in constant change. And when it changes, creators usually take a hit. It also caps your potential for revenue growth, especially if your Instagram follower count is at a standstill.

If you want to upgrade your personal brand and turn your Instagram following into a media empire, build your own independent membership site.

Creators who monetize their Instagram following with Uscreen can bring content and community together in one membership portal—like a custom membership app (similar to how people use Instagram). 

Uscreen has helped creators earn $150+ million each year, reaching over 9.7 million end-users.

And we’re still growing.

Instagram monetization FAQs

How do you qualify for monetization on Instagram? 

To use Instagram’s monetization features—Subscriptions and Badges—you must be aged 18+, comply with the platform’s policies, and have at least 10,000 followers on a professional or business account.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when trying to monetize an Instagram account?

Navigating the Instagram monetization journey can be fraught with pitfalls. A common misstep is overlooking the power of genuine engagement. Remember, a highly engaged smaller audience can be more lucrative than a vast but passive follower count. Avoid putting all your eggs in one monetization basket; diversity in income streams—from offering your own branded memberships to sponsored posts—ensures stability amidst Instagram’s fluctuating algorithms.

What are the latest Instagram algorithm updates affecting monetization, and how can creators adapt?

Instagram’s monetization terrain is ever-evolving! While there haven’t been direct algorithm shifts impacting earnings since the latter part of 2021, the platform’s focus on video content, especially Reels, underscores a pivotal strategy for creators aiming to monetize. Instagram now favors engaging, interactive content that sparks conversations and builds communities. For creators, this means diving deep into video, honing in on a specific niche, and forging authentic connections with your audience.

How do I monetize my Instagram?

1. Sell memberships 
2. Earn tips with Instagram Live Badges
3. Promote affiliate links
4. Secure brand sponsorships
5. Set up Instagram Subscriptions
6. Offer coaching services
7. Sell digital products
8. Sell merchandise 

How many followers do I need to monetize my Instagram?

You don’t need millions of followers to generate revenue on Instagram. According to a HypeAuditor report, you can earn up to $1,400 per month with just 1,000 Instagram followers.