- Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe is a micro influencer who makes most of her money from brand sponsorships.
- But she has seen increasing revenue from affiliate marketing since she began using Instagram’s new tools.
- Influencers with access to Instagram’s beta test can post photos, Stories, and livestreams with these features.
Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe is a full-time “micro” influencer with just over 16,000 Instagram followers, and a feed filled with pictures of outfits and daily Stories with her most recent finds or favorite sales.
The biggest piece of her revenue is sponsorships, which she made over $8,000 from last month, Everett-Ratcliffe told Insider. But she also made over $500 last month from affiliate marketing, a part of her income that has increased rapidly as she’s relied more on Instagram’s native affiliate marketing program.
In June, Everett-Ratcliffe was invited to join Instagram’s early test of its affiliate program. Influencers have long been using these affiliate links across platforms like Instagram and YouTube — and even blogs — to earn a commission off of the sales they drive through their content. Often, they rely on third-party platforms like LTK (formerly RewardStyle), Impact, or ShopStyle.
Now, influencers like Everett-Ratcliffe can do it all directly within the Instagram app. The program, which started small with a handful of select creators and brands, has expanded during the last few months.
“Before it felt like a test,” Everett-Ratcliffe said. “Now, it definitely feels more like a program.”
Today, Instagram’s program has about 80 brands available for influencers to tag in posts, Stories, or livestreams. Each brand determines its own commission rate, some rates on Instagram as low as 1%, others as high as 20%. And during the holiday shopping season, some brands may expand their rates to up to 25%, according to a Meta spokesperson.
Eligible creators can also add shops to their Instagram page to showcase the products they’re promoting and earn a commission.
Until recently, Everett-Ratcliffe would typically make about a hundred dollars each month with the revenue generated through affiliate links through ShopStyle, she said. ShopStyle was her primary way of linking to products from brands like Abercrombie.
But she said in recent weeks she’s been relying more heavily on Instagram’s links than on ShopStyle’s, and has seen her income increase.
Each week, she’ll post at least three in-feed posts that are shoppable and eligible for commission, she said. She’ll often share carousel posts, with one page tagging the clothing she’s wearing, and another tagging beauty products she used.
In October alone, Everett-Ratcliffe was paid a total of $508 from Instagram for her affiliate commissions, she told Insider. Insider verified these earnings with documentation provided by Everett-Ratcliffe.
Shopping on social media is evolving rapidly
As social shopping picks up speed in the US, platforms like Instagram are pumping out features left and right to grab a slice of the market. The according to eMarketer.trend is already a massive industry in China, generating an estimated sales revenue of about $351 billion in 2021,
Influencers play a big role in this evolution of shopping on Instagram (and social media, more broadly). Instagram’s director of product for shopping, Layla Amjadi, called influencers the “new multi-brand retailer.”
And recently, Instagram has started letting some creators activate affiliates on IG Live — an incentive to get creators on board with live shopping, a key part of social commerce.
Everett-Ratcliffe tested this feature out in November, sharing a haul of holiday styles she curated from Gap Inc. brands like Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic.
During the livestream, she was able to offer viewers a discount for the brands, she said. Although she saw the purchases going through on the live, the detailed analytics aren’t shared with creators yet, Everett-Ratcliffe said.
With more e-commerce tools rolling out on Instagram, Everett-Ratcliffe is now having to decide how often to use them.
“Part of me is like, when do you draw the line?” Everett-Ratcliffe said. “When is it too much shopping and in your face too much?”