Instagram is developing a range of monetization tools for its users, including creator-owned digital shops, affiliate product links, and a “branded content marketplace” that will match brands with creators and facilitate on-platform negotiation of sponsorship deals.
“In almost any positive vision for the future, a lot more people are getting to engage in creative work rather than just job that they find monotonous,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an April 27 live stream with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri. “Our goal, across the whole company, is to be able to to support millions of people having a job doing creative work.”
Instagram, which launched in 2010, has been notoriously slow to introduce creator monetization: its very first user revenue tools–purchasable live stream badges and IGTV ads–debuted just a year ago, in May 2020.
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But the platform now appears to consider creator monetization one of its top priorities.
The first tool Instagram is developing is an extension of its ecommerce hub Shop.
Zuckerberg didn’t give specifics about what creators can expect with the tool, but said Instagram has done “a bunch of work” around ecommerce, and has seen digital shops become increasingly important as COVID-19 restrictions forced brick-and-mortar shops to close or dramatically reduce capacity.
“Online stays open,” Zuckerberg said. “And one part of being a content creator business model is you create great content and then you can sell stuff. So having creator shops is awesome.”
Instagram’s Shop tab rolled out to all U.S. users last year, and presents users with a range of digital storefronts offering “fresh collections and products from brands and creators, as well as special curations from our social shopping channel, @shop,” per the platform. Presumably a creator-inclusive version of the tab would place user-made shops alongside those run by brands.
Instagram is also developing an affiliate tagging system for creators, Zuckerberg siad. Through it, creators will be able to tag products and/or brands in their posts, and then earn a cut of revenue if their link generates sales. Zuckerberg didn’t give specifics like how much revenue creators will earn, whether Instagram will take a cut, or when the feature might launch.
Instagram wants to be the middleman in creator-brand sponsorships
Last up, Zuckerberg and Mosseri unveiled an in-progress “branded content marketplace” they seem to hope will help centralize dealmaking and regulate how much creators are paid.
“I worry some people are getting overpaid,” Mosseri said. “Some people are getting underpaid. We just want to facilitate that in a responsible way.”
Mosseri added that a brand could come to Instagram’s marketplace and look for creators who can help it advertise to, for example, twentysomething women in a specific country. “And we could be like, ‘All right, here’s 50 creators that you should talk to,’” he said. “And then yeah, you can facilitate them. We can make it easier to connect.”
From the creator side, Mosseri added, “we would love to help creators vet brands,” though he says that currently, “I don’t know how that would work.”
Zuckerberg said Instagram plans for the marketplace to have “very favorable terms to creators.” He did not specify what the terms would be.
“We’re not building this from the perspective of us trying to make a lot of money,” he said. “Our view is that if we help creators make more money on their content, that’ll help a broader creator economy emerge, which will make it so there’s more content across the services.”
Facebook is projected to report more than $25 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2021.