- Instagram is a top hub for influencers and content creators.
- From brand deals to getting paid directly by Instagram, there are a lot of ways to cash in on the app.
- Here are the ways influencers make money on the app, and how much they’re making.
Getting sponsored by brands is the top way that influencers make money on Instagram. But it’s not the only way.
Content creators and influencers often have several streams of income at once. From selling products directly on Instagram to getting paid by Instagram itself, there are many ways to make money on Instagram in 2022.
Here are the 5 top ways influencers are earning money on Instagram:
- Working with brands on sponsorships
- Earning commission from affiliate links or codes
- Selling and marketing DTC goods or merch on Instagram
- Linking to exclusive, paywalled content
- Getting paid by Instagram directly
For instance, lifestyle influencer Jera Foster-Fell earned about $2,700 in a recent month for raking in millions of views on her Instagram Reels, which is one of Mark Zuckerberg’s top priorities. She gets paid by Instagram through the “Reels Play” bonus program, which is part of Meta’s broader pledge to pay $1 billion to creators through 2022.
Other creators are cashing in on Instagram’s option to add links to stories, a tool that was expanded to the general public in 2021. There are a number of brands and third-party platforms like LTK (formerly RewardStyle) that let creators generate affiliate links and earn commissions from the sales they drive.
While some creators may only earn a couple of hundred dollars here and there, others like skincare influencer Vi Lai have turned affiliate marketing on Instagram into a lucrative business. (Read more about how Lai earns about $5,000 a month.)
Instagram is also testing its own native affiliate program that pays creators for sales made directly on the Instagram app.
Creators often sell their own merchandise or other DTC products on Instagram, too.
Some of the companies that help creators make and sell merch also have close ties to Instagram. For example, Spring, a merch company formerly known as Teespring, partnered with Instagram at the end of 2021 to incentivize creators to link their Spring products directly on Instagram. In return, some creators earned extra cash. (Read a list of the top 9 merch companies.)
There are also a growing number of startups, apps, and platforms that are expanding the ways creators can earn money on Instagram. For instance, link-in-bio startups, such as LinkTree, allow creators to direct followers to their OnlyFans or pages for exclusive, paywalled content. And Instagram also has its own version of paywalled content called Subscriptions, which launched early this year.
Insider has interviewed dozens of influencers and industry insiders about how exactly they make money and how much they earn:
Getting paid by brands is still the main source of income for most creators
Brand deals have grown to be more than just a quick photo post. They’re often robust campaigns and include video elements, like Reels, as well as content that can be repurposed across platforms.
Plus, some influencers are doing dozens of brand deals a year. For instance, Emma Cortes, a lifestyle influencer with 47,000 Instagram followers, signed a total of 68 sponsorships last year, most of which included a number of different deliverables, like in-feed posts, stories, and videos.
In order to get deals, influencers don’t need huge followings. Mary Margaret Boudreaux started “taking social media seriously” when she only had 1,500 Instagram followers.
Depending on how an influencer (or an influencer’s manager) pitches or negotiates a deal, brand partnerships can easily pay the bills. And even if they don’t have managers or agents, creators can score sponsorships by reaching out to brands through DM or email. (Read 3 brand outreach email templates an influencer uses to get deals.)
Here’s our full list of interviews with 22 influencers on how much money they make working with brands on sponsored posts:
How much “macro” and “mega” influencers get paid by brands
- Alexa Collins, a lifestyle influencer with 1.2 million followers
- JaLisa Vaughn-Jefferson, a lifestyle influencer with 275,000 followers
- Katy Bellotte, a lifestyle influencer with 176,000 followers
- Macy Mariano, a travel and fashion influencer with 102,000 followers
- Jade Darmawangsa, a YouTube creator (382,000 subscribers) with 52,000 Instagram followers
- Symphony Clarke, a TikTok creator (200,000 followers) with 26,000 Instagram followers
How much “micro” influencers get paid by brands
- Jehava Brown, a travel and lifestyle influencer with 70,000 followers
- Nick Cutsumpas, a plant influencer with 63,700 followers
- Ashley Jones, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 45,000 followers
- Emma Cortes, a lifestyle influencer and podcast host with 47,000 followers
- Britney Turner, a lifestyle influencer with 27,000 followers
- Caitlin Patton, a lifestyle influencer with 22,000 followers
- Mary Margaret Boudreaux, a lifestyle influencer with 20,000 followers
- Gigi Kovach, a part-time lifestyle blogger and mom of two with 13,500 followers
- Tyler Chanel, a sustainability influencer with 12,000 followers
How much “nano” influencers get paid by brands
- Khadijah Lacey-Taylor, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 9,800 followers
- Julie Tecson, a lifestyle influencer with 7,000 followers
- Laur DeMartino, a nano influencer and full-time college student with 5,200 Instagram followers
- Jen Lauren, a part-time lifestyle influencer with 2,900 followers
- Amber Broder, a part-time skincare influencer and full-time college student with 2,300 followers
- Kayla Compton, a part-time lifestyle influencer with less than 2,000 followers
Creators also earn money through affiliate links and by selling their own merch
Instagram is a powerful platform to drive purchases — whether that’s to a brand an influencer likes or a brand an influencer owns.
Some influencers use Instagram to promote their resale stores on apps like Depop or Poshmark, too.
Here’s how 6 influencers are using Instagram to drive sales and make money:
How much influencers make through affiliate marketing
How much influencers earn selling merchandise and other products
There are also a growing number of ways to get paid by Instagram directly
Compared to YouTube, Instagram may have been late to the game paying creators, but in 2022, there are several ways to make money from Instagram.
Here are 5 examples of how creators are getting paid directly by Instagram: