How to Monetize Your Instagram Account in 2023

How to Monetize Your Instagram Account in 2023
08 June, 2023 • ... • 6909 views
Natasha Zack
by Natasha Zack

Instagram bloggers are the 21st century movie stars, kind of. The glam and glitter of the top influencers’ lifestyles are so fascinating anyone would wish to be in their place. But as you can guess, bloggers don’t make money out of thin air: the glittery Instagram page is just the tip of the ice. But what lies beneath? What exactly should one do to be a star on Instagram? And is it even possible for “ordinary” people who weren’t born with silver spoons in their mouths? 

Hang on. We’ll tell you all the secrets and explain how to monetize Instagram in 2023. We can’t promise you stardom, though — but a decent income is quite an attainable goal.

What is monetization on Instagram?

Before moving on to actionable advice on how to monetize your Instagram account, let’s define what monetization on Instagram is. 

As the term suggests, monetization has to do with money — so, simply put, Instagram monetization is the process of drawing monetary profit (directly or indirectly) from the content you publish on Instagram.  

Basically, there are only two types of Instagram monetization: 

  1. Monetizing the content you are already putting out there on the social network. 
  2. Using Instagram to promote or sell products and/or services you produce. 

In this article, we’ll zoom in on both types and share the best ways to monetize your Instagram in 2023.

But first, let’s take a look at these impressive statistics. 

  • 75% of marketing specialists say Instagram is important for their influencer marketing campaigns. 
  • Influencer marketing industry is projected to grow to approximately $21.1B in 2023.
  • In 2023, Instagram remains the undisputed leader among all social media channels when it comes to influencer marketing.
  • 67% of marketers budgeting for influencer marketing planned to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2023.
  • The average cost per post has jumped to an all-time high in 2021 for all non-celebrity Instagram influencer tiers.

Can anyone monetize an Instagram account?

But the next big question is, can anyone make money on Instagram? If you’re a regular person with neither a big name nor a vast number of followers — is monetizing your Instagram account still feasible? 

In fact, it is. 

In spite of a popular belief that one needs millions of followers to become a social media influencer, it has little to do with the actual state of affairs in 2023. According to the Influencer Marketing Benchmark report 2023 by Influencer Marketing Hub, marketers today prefer working with nano- (39%) and micro- (30%) influencers ahead of macro-influencers (19%) and celebrities (12%). That means, if you have at least 1K followers (the starting point for nano-influencers), your chances of securing a deal with a brand are already quite high. 

Instagram influencer tiers
Source: Shopify

But wait — why are we only talking about influences? And is it strictly necessary to be an influencer to monetize an Instagram account? Read on to find out.

What do you need to get monetized on Instagram?

From setting up your professional account to proactively promoting it, here are the essential conditions necessary for Instagram monetization. 

Condition #0. Set up an Instagram creator/business account

The ultimate thing to do before proceeding with monetization is to switch your account to professional to access creator tools, monetization options, and statistics. 

To do that, follow these three steps:  

  1. Switch your account to “Professional” in your account settings. 
  2. Pick a category depending on what best describes the nature of your activity on Instagram.
  3. Choose your account type (“Creator” or “Business”). There are some slight differences between these types that you might want to tap into, but the general recommendation is to go with “Creator” if you plan to monetize your content and/or build a personal brand and with “Business” for promoting a business and selling products.
  4. Fill out your profile information, add contact information (email, phone number, website URL) and (optionally) add Stories Highlights. Tip: you can choose not to display your contact information if you handle all your conversations in Instagram messages or for privacy reasons.   

Feeling confused? Here’s a video step-by-step guide on how to set up an Instagram creator/business account from social media expert Jerry Potter.

To share more information, redirect traffic from Instagram to other platforms, and get data for website analytics, you can also add an Instagram link in bio through popular tools like Linktree. Additionally, you can link your professional Instagram account with your Business page on Facebook if you plan to share content between platforms and use Facebook to work with your professional Instagram profile.  

Condition #1. Be a good content creator

After setting up your profile, you can proceed with posting professional content to engage your followers and get new ones. What you need to be aware of, however, is that the competition is enormous with so much content of different types out there. That means you’ll need exceptional content creation skills to stand out from the crowd. 

The good news is, you can learn to be a better content creator — either by taking online courses and workshops, self-educating, or simply practicing regularly. If you’re a business owner promoting your own products or services, you can even outsource some tasks — for example, editing your Instagram reels and stories, or proofreading your copy. 

Condition #2. Deliver content regularly

The next important thing is that you have to put out your content regularly to keep your followers and engagement rates. That means coming up with a mind-blowing reel and then disappearing altogether for a couple of months is not an option. 

Then again, posting content, especially of average quality, on an hourly basis can lead to no less disastrous consequences. So, the general rule is to stick to several posts a week and a few stories frames every other day until you determine the ideal cadence by analyzing your followers’ activity. 

Need some numbers to use as a benchmark? 

Data from a 2023 Instagram Stories Benchmark Report by Rival IQ can help. According to the report, the average brand posts an Instagram story 6-17 times per month. As for the number of frames (individual photos or videos), the median number for brands is just 2 frames per day, with the first frame being critical for retention rates. 

However, if you do need to post a sequence with a higher number of frames, it’s okay to do so, experts mark. Generally, retention doesn’t flatline with more frames after the initial drop, so just be sure to concentrate on the first frame.

Condition #3. Be an expert in something

While being an expert in a certain field is not always considered necessary for bloggers, expertise is essential for monetizing an Instagram account because you need something to consolidate your audience around. 

Topics most popular on Instagram include beauty, fitness, and traveling, but you should only choose them if you’re actually an expert. Alternatively, you can monetize your knowledge in a professional field: marketing, language learning, healthcare, or whatever you have a proven track record in. And if you’d just rather be a lifestyle blogger, keep in mind that they are also experts in a way: their area of expertise is creating an exciting reality show out of their daily experiences.  

Condition #4. Be consistent

But what if you’re not sure what you’re best at yet? At the beginning, allowing yourself time to test the waters and determine your niche if perfectly normal. But once you make up your mind and start working toward monetizing your account, being consistent is a must. 

Put simply, you cannot be a beauty blogger today, a fitness trainer tomorrow, and a gardening expert next Sunday. Such inconsistency will confuse your followers, and they won’t trust you as an expert in any of these topics at all. The only exception is lifestyle blogging — however, your content strategy still has to stay focused, as well as your online image. On Instagram, you can’t allow yourself to be “all over the place”. 

Condition #5. Have a fan community

While all the above is important, monetizing an Instagram account is still virtually impossible without enough dedicated followers — your fan community, that is. The good news is, you don’t need millions of subscribers to thrive. 

So, how much is “enough”? As mentioned earlier, a starting point for nano-influencers is 1K followers; for micro-influencers, it is 10K. Have over 50K (100K according to some sources)? Congratulations, you are a macro-influencer, and the sky’s the limit. Have fewer than 1K? Then, it’s a good idea to grow the number before proceeding with monetization.

Important

Apart from the follower count, the quality of your follower base should also be a priority. These days, marketers can easily figure out how many of your subscribers are active, and how many of them are only there for the count. That means 1K active, engaged subscribers give you better chances of securing a deal than 10K dead weight. 

Not trying to secure a deal with a brand? You still need active subscribers who can potentially be your customers, right? So, make sure your follower base is clean and avoid ‘gray’ methods (mass following/liking/viewing, etc.).

Condition #6. Be proactive

Last but not least, just having a large number of followers or producing tons of stellar content won’t get your account monetized. To make money on Instagram, you need to proactively promote your account, seek out monetizing opportunities, try different options, and constantly watch the trends to know what works best at the moment. 

To begin with, you can study the list below and choose the options that suit you best. 

How to monetize Instagram: 8 best options for content creators and experts

Now, you’re equipped with enough knowledge to start monetizing your Instagram account. So, here are the 8 ways you can try in 2023, from paid subscriptions and sponsored ads to selling your own products. 

In-platform Instagram monetization tools

As a social network committed to supporting its content creators, Instagram offers several ways to monetize content using its own built-in monetization tools.   

Paid subscriptions

Instagram Subscriptions is an in-platform monetization tool allowing creators to earn money by offering paid access to unique content for their most loyal fans.

The feature originally introduced in 2022 works in a similar way to other popular platforms — for example, Patreon. For a recurring monthly payment, subscribers can watch exclusive live videos, view stories, and gain access to other gated content the creator shares on Instagram. Still, there are currently considerable limitations for creators, like you need to be 18+ and have 10K+ followers to access the tool.

Best for: 

  • Proficient and disciplined content creators who can produce quality content quickly in sufficient quantities. 
  • Content creators with a large number of loyal fans. 
  • Content creators with sufficient experience in live streaming. 
  • Full-time content creators who can devote enough time to their Instagram accounts. 

Not a good fit for: 

  • Inexperienced content creators who are just starting out. 
  • Business owners whose main focus lies outside content creation. 
  • Part-time content creators who have other major commitments. 

What about the money? 

Content creators can choose the monthly fee they want to charge within the range determined by Instagram: from $0.99 to $99.99. 

Badges

The Instagram Live badges feature was first introduced in 2021 as an incentive for content creators who do live streams on Instagram. These badges allow viewers to “tip” bloggers during live broadcasts to support them and help them reach their goals.

However, not all creators are eligible for this monetization option. To access badges, you have to be over 18 years old, have 10K+ followers, and comply with the platform’s policies and guidelines. Moreover, badges are currently only available in select countries: the US, the UK, some EU countries, and some countries in Latin America.   

Best for: 

  • Content creators, influencers, and business owners with expert knowledge of their subject and exceptional live-streaming skills.
  • Content creators, influencers, and business owners with a big loyal fanbase. 
  • Content creators, influencers, and business owners with clear, measurable goals. 

Not a good fit for: 

  • Content creators, influencers, and business owners who don’t enjoy going live on Instagram. 
  • Lifestyle bloggers who cannot share anything viewers might find useful or entertaining (like lectures or live shows).  
  • Content creators who need a stable, predictable income from their Instagram account. 

What about the money? 

Subscribers can buy badges worth $0.99, $1.99, or $4.99, which might not seem much. However, one subscriber can buy many badges for up to $250 during one broadcast. 

Ads on Reels

Since being introduced a few years ago, Instagram Reels has become one of the top-performing content types on Instagram. Naturally, this couldn’t happen without help from talented creators — and Instagram recognized their efforts by offering Reels Play milestone bonuses until March 9, 2023 as an incentive. 

Currently, the bonuses program is being gradually discontinued. But Reels creators can expect to get their share from the new feature: Ads on Reels. According to Meta (Instagram parent company), it will offer performance-based revenue for ads placed on reels — that is, the payout to creators will depend on the number of plays and not the ad revenue. However, this feature is still in the testing stage, so it’s too early to discuss the details. 

Creator marketplace

Instagram’s Creator marketplace is another brand-new in-platform monetization tool that is currently being tested with select creators. The idea behind it is to offer a new way for creators to connect with brands in the wake of the platform’s native Affiliate program’s demise (more on that later). 

According to Instagram, this tool enables creators to be discovered by brands, set up a portfolio, manage their brand preferences, add branded content interests, and more. However, it is too early to say whether it’s going to be a viable monetization tool for content creators on the platform. 

Other ways to monetize Instagram

If in-platform Instagram monetization tools are insufficient or unsuitable for you (which is often the case), you can try other popular ways to monetize your Instagram account. Here they are. 

Influencer marketing

Influencers vs. content creators: What’s the difference? 

Before we move on, let’s get this one straight: social media influencers are not quite the same as content creators. Content creators are users who post content online, while influencers are content creators who have 1K+ followers and earn money through content posted online. However, when it comes to monetization, most options imply having at least 1K followers, so the actual difference is subtle. 

Additionally, there is another category of content creators active on social media: business owners. These are content creators who own a business that makes money through creative content posted online. To avoid confusion, we’re not discussing business owners who use Instagram for promotion only (without actually selling anything through the platform) in this article.

Instagram influencers make up only a fraction of all content creators on this social media — just 9-19%, according to a recent study by Adobe. However, this might be the fraction with the highest earning potential — and the most convenient “working schedule” as well. 

The reason is, Instagram influencers earn money through brand deals. So, in the best-case scenario, they can negotiate financial conditions and determine when to take deals and how often. On the downside, securing brand deals calls for a proactive approach — that is, for constantly sending out pitch emails. Moreover, producing quality content in-between deals is also a must in order to retain follower numbers and engagement rates. 

Here’s what a typical Instagram influencer sponsored ad looks like:

A typical Instagram influencer ad
Source: Instagram

Best for:

  • Content creators with at least 1K followers and high engagement rates. 
  • Content creators with great business communication skills. 
  • Content creators with marketing and advertising skills. 

 Not a good fit for: 

  • Content creators who don’t have enough followers yet, or whose engagement rates are currently low.  
  • Content creators who have objections to advertising other brands’ products or services. 
  • Business owners. 

What about the money? 

Instagram influencers’ earning capacity largely depends on the tier they currently belong to (i.e., the number of followers they have). According to a report by IZEA, nano-influencers charge an average of $901 per post, while micro-influencers and mid-tier influencers (50K – 199K followers) charge $1,516 and $3,087 per post respectively. However, the exact numbers fluctuate depending on the details of each specific deal. 

Affiliate marketing

Before, Instagram had its own in-platform affiliate program for creators, but it was laid to rest in August 2022. Luckily, there’s nothing to stop you from landing affiliate deals without Instagram as a mediator: in 2023, you can still use affiliate programs and networks or proactively approach businesses via email.

Because affiliate marketing is a form of partnership where you typically earn a commission from businesses for each product sold (or, in some cases, for each lead received), it lowers the risk for brands as compared to influencer deals. That’s why affiliate marketing is a perfect way to monetize Instagram for content creators who know their audience well but are not necessarily fully-established influencers. 

Here’s a typical example of an affiliate post from a beauty influencer. The image caption contains a unique code that enables affiliate partners to track where their customers come from and award commissions. You can also add codes and links to your videos or even feature them in your profile description.  

Affiliate marketing on Instagram
Source: Instagram

Best for: 

  • Content creators and influencers who know their audience’s interests and preferences well. 
  • Content creators and influencers who want to monetize Instagram but don’t want to make content creation their full-time job. 

Not a good fit for: 

  • Content creators who need stable and predictable income from their Instagram accounts. 
  • Content creators who have objections to promoting other brands’ products on their accounts. 
  • Business owners. 

What about the money?

Affiliate marketing is growing globally, with 25% of brands currently working with bloggers on affiliate deals. However, the commissions these bloggers get vary greatly depending on the niche and the specific company. In some cases, commissions can reach 80% — for example, in the online dating niche. There is also evidence that affiliate marketing can be quite lucrative in the media — for example, an Insider article mentions a blogger making $5000 per month through affiliate deals.

Selling your own products

If you or your company produce physical products, you can sell them right from your Instagram account, without redirecting your customers to any outside platforms. This is called social commerce, and it’s a big global trend. That’s why many businesses have their online shops on Instagram. 

But since there is a list of requirements a business has to answer to be able to sell directly on the platform, you might prefer to simply provide a link in your bio redirecting your subscribers to your online shop outside of Instagram. 

For example, celebrity influencer and business owner Victoria Beckham prefers to sell her products online using LikeShop, a popular link in bio tool:  

Best for: Content creators and influencers who know their audience’s interests and preferences well. Content creators and influencers who want to monetize Instagram but don’t want to make content creation their full-time job. Not a good fit for: Content creators who need stable and predictable income from their Instagram accounts. Content creators who have objections to promoting other brands’ products on their accounts. Business owners. What about the money? Affiliate marketing is growing globally, with 25% of brands currently working with bloggers on affiliate deals. However, the commissions these bloggers get vary greatly depending on the niche and the specific company. In some cases, commissions can reach 80% — for example, in the online dating niche. There is also evidence that affiliate marketing can be quite lucrative in the media — for example, an Insider article mentions a blogger making $5000 per month through affiliate deals. Selling your own products If you or your company produce physical products, you can sell them right from your Instagram account, without redirecting your customers to any outside platforms. This is called social commerce, and it’s a big global trend. That’s why many businesses have their online shops on Instagram. But since there is a list of requirements a business has to answer to be able to sell directly on the platform, you might prefer to simply provide a link in your bio redirecting your subscribers to your online shop outside of Instagram. For example, celebrity influencer and business owner Victoria Beckham prefers to sell her products online using LikeShop, a popular link in bio tool:
Source: Instagram

Best for: 

  • Businesses selling physical products. 
  • Businesses with target audiences on Instagram. 

Not a good fit for:

  • Businesses selling non-physical products or physical products that are not popular on Instagram.  

What about the money? 

As you determine the price of your products yourself, your earning potential is only limited by the number of sales you can hit. However, various taxes may apply, depending on your location, type of product, etc.   

Teaching, coaching, and consulting

If you are good at some trade other than content creation, you can monetize your knowledge and expertise by showcasing them on your Instagram account and becoming an “expert-type” blogger. That’s the way many teachers, coaches, and other professionals choose — and it brings great results, too. 

The downside is, this way of Instagram monetization is indirect. That is, the content you post mainly serves a promotional purpose, “warming up” potential customers till they purchase your products or services — typically, online lessons, courses, or consultations. On the bright side, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the in-platform monetization options we mentioned earlier — plus you can sell physical products, too.    

Here’s how education blogger Krystal L. Smith is making the most of her Instagram account: 

An education micro-influencer on Instagram
Source: Instagram

Best for: 

  • Professionals with expert knowledge and outstanding results. 
  • Freelancers, contractors, and business owners looking for ways to promote their work. 

Not a good fit for: 

  • Content creators without expert knowledge on any subject other than creating their own content. 
  • Professionals lacking self-presentation skills.
  • Professionals who are too busy to devote enough time to their Instagram accounts. 

What about the money? 

The exact sums are difficult to calculate due to many variables. However, it is safe to say that being a prominent Instagram blogger enables experts to earn significantly more than they would without a blog. For those who are just starting out, profit is typically moderate, but ‘star’ bloggers have a very high earning potential.

How much can you earn from monetizing an Instagram account?

Whichever way to monetize your Instagram account you choose, you’ll need to put in some work before it pays off. But will the outcome be worth the effort? More precisely, how much money exactly can you earn on Instagram? 

First off, time and effort invested in Instagram accounts usually do pay off. But the exact sums depend on what type of monetization you opt for, how many followers you have, how much time and effort you put in, and other variables.  

Typically, in-platform monetization tools bring less profit than other monetization options such as being an influencer or an “expert-type” blogger. However, top creators can earn considerable sums provided they work hard plus have exceptional skills and a loyal fanbase. 

According to an Adobe report, an average content creator makes $61 per hour, which is approximately $122K annual income for full-time content creators. However, this report is not platform-specific, so it includes data for content creators across multiple platforms.  

For Instagram influencers, numbers vary depending on the influencer tier they belong to. As mentioned earlier, an average influencer can earn $901 per post and up, according to an IZEA report; as an Adobe report indicates, an average wage for an influencer is $81 per hour, or around $162K annually for full-time influencers.   

Still, research estimates give a very superfluous overview of the earning potential of content creators and influencers. Actual numbers depend on a lot of factors (often unpredictable), so there are both mind-blowing success stories and miserable failures in real life. That means you can end up on any side of the spectrum — so it’s essential to hedge your risks before deciding to invest time and effort into monetizing your Instagram account.   

Key takeaways

Now, let’s revise the key points.  

  • Basically, there are only two types of Instagram monetization: monetizing the content you put out there or using your account as a vehicle for your products or services. 
  • Whichever way you choose, you need to be a proficient content creator and to have exceptional communication skills to succeed. 
  • To begin monetizing Instagram, setting up a professional profile is a must. 
  • Depending on the specifics of your Instagram presence, you can use in-platform monetization tools such as Instagram subscriptions or Live badges, or other ways of monetization such as working with brands to produce sponsored content or selling your own products. Tip: you can also combine different monetization strategies to maximize your profit. 
  • While content creators and influencers are not exactly the same in theory, most monetization options imply having at least 1K followers to your account (the starting point for nano-influencers). 
  • Potentially, an Instagram account can bring in a sizable income — but in order to earn a lot, you’ll most likely need to work full-time. 
  • Your actual income will depend on a number of factors, and these can often be unpredictable. So, it’s essential to hedge risks and make sure you have your bases covered just in case. 
08 June, 2023
Article by
Natasha Zack
I’m a professional journalist with 10+ years of experience. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with various kinds of media — print, online, broadcast. Currently, I write copy for brand media and teach English part-time. I also have my own edtech passion project dedicated to teaching English via Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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