‘I was banking on that income’: Instagram is abruptly shutting down its affiliate marketing bonuses, which used to pay up to $400 a month

  • Instagram launched its native affiliate marketing program for creators in 2021. 
  • Since then, the platform has incentivized creators to use the tool by paying them extra cash. 
  • Now the platform is discontinuing those payments.

Instagram Affiliate is ending its incentive program on June 30.

Instagram Affiliate, one of several monetization features that the Meta-owned platform has launched in the last year, is the platform’s native affiliate marketing tool that allows creators to earn a commission off of sales they drive.

For several months, eligible creators were given the opportunity to earn extra cash on top of the affiliate commissions.

As with other products on Instagram — like Reels — the platform paid a bonus to select creators who used the new feature. Other platforms, like Amazon, have also leaned into this incentive model to get influencers to use their software.

Instagram offered to pay creators a maximum of $400 per month if they shared 10 in-feed posts or live videos using the tool — or $40 per use — according to the company’s help desk. That’s in addition to any commission earned from the brand. Meta also offered an “approximate commission match” for creators.

Meta declined to comment on the status of its affiliate incentives. However, Instagram’s help center says the program will come to an end on June 30 and that all earnings made prior will be paid out.

The platform was also offering creators a one-time incentive of $200 to post affiliate-enabled Reels. Instagram did not comment on if this incentive will also end on June 30.

Instagram’s affiliate program has become a lucrative tool for Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, a full-time creator with 56,000 Instagram followers. 

On Tuesday, she saw a notification in the app that read, “Content and commission incentives from Meta will no longer be available after June 30.”

The incentive was a reliable bonus on top of her affiliate earnings, Everett-Ratcliffe told Insider. 

“You kind of become almost dependent on it, like when you’re budgeting,” she said. “I was banking on that income.”

Meanwhile, Camille Carter, a creator with 28,000 Instagram followers, told Insider that the incentives have helped her cover administrative expenses and photographer fees. 

“Although these have been small financial incentives, it felt good to finally get some kind of reward for posting free content for brands, even if the brands themselves weren’t directly paying me,” Carter wrote in an email. 

Another creator with about 200,000 Instagram followers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Insider that the change won’t affect their income since they have only used Instagram’s affiliate tool on Stories, which aren’t included in the bonus program.

This isn’t the first time Instagram has put an end to or drastically changed a monetization program. Earlier this year, four creators told Insider they were making less money than before from the Reels Bonus program, without much of an explanation from the platform.

While Everett-Ratcliffe will continue using Instagram’s affiliate feature regularly (in addition to other affiliate marketing platforms, like ShopStyle), she said she won’t feel pressured to create 10 affiliate posts in a month for the sake of maximizing the incentive.

“It’s just a reminder that you should never put all your eggs in one basket,” she said.

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