- Influencers on Instagram earn money in a multitude of ways.
- From sponsored content to getting tipped on IG Live, creators balance several streams of income.
- We spoke with dozens of creators who shared how much money they earn.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Instagram and influencers go hand-in-hand.
The Meta-owned social-media platform has become a primary stage for influencers launching their careers. And they don’t need millions of followers to earn money on Instagram.
But it’s not so straightforward to start earning money on Instagram. Unlike YouTube, Instagram doesn’t yet have a comparable payment system in place like YouTube’s Partner Program. Typically, influencers rely on sponsored content to make a living. From posting a picture to the main feed with #ad to sharing swipe-up links in a series of Stories, sponsored content takes on many different shapes.
Rates for these types of brand deals also vary.
For instance, influencer Alexa Collins — who has over one million followers — charged upwards of $1,000 for a sponsored Story on Instagram when Insider spoke with her. Meanwhile, Tyler Chanel, a micro influencer, told Insider she’d start at $100 for an Instagram Story and goes up from there, depending on the content and deliverables.
To land on these rates, some influencers rely on formulas like charging brands $100 for every 10,000 followers. But not everyone agrees on one formula.
But if influencers negotiate well, brand deals can lead to big paychecks. For instance, one influencer with 275,000 followers told Insider she had booked $700,000 in brand deals in six months. And two micro influencers told Insider they’d earned six-figure salaries as full-time creators in 2021.
Sponsored content, however, isn’t the only income generator for these influencers — although it is generally the most lucrative.
Influencers also make money on Instagram through commissions on affiliate links, profits from selling merchandise, and proceeds from monetization tools the platform is slowly rolling out. One influencer who spoke with Insider made an average of $5,000 per month through affiliate links alone. Others are earning thousands of dollars from Instagram Reels Bonus Program.
Insider has spoken with nearly two dozen Instagram influencers about how much money they charge brands for sponsored content and how else they make a living using the app.
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of Insider’s Instagram money log series:
Working with brands on sponsored content is how many influencers earn an income on Instagram.
22 Instagram influencers told us how much they charge for and have earned from sponsored content. Here’s a full breakdown of our coverage:
“Macro” and “Mega” influencers
- Alexa Collins, a lifestyle influencer with 1.2 million followers
- Jenna Barnard, a food blogger with 285,000 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
- Kara Harms, a full-time lifestyle blogger and influencer with 77,000 Instagram followers (283,000 on TikTok)
- Jehava Brown, a travel and lifestyle influencer with 70,000 followers
- Nick Cutsumpas, a plant influencer with 63,700 followers
- Emma Cortes, a lifestyle influencer and podcast host with 47,000 followers
- Ashley Jones, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 45,000 followers
- Tomi Obebe, a lifestyle and fashion influencer with about 40,000 followers
- Britney Turner, a lifestyle influencer with 27,000 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
- Khadijah Lacey-Taylor, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 9,800 followers
- Laur DeMartino, a nano influencer and full-time college student with 5,200 Instagram followers
- Jalyn Baiden, a nano influencer with about 4,000 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
How Instagram influencers earn money beyond brand deals
From earning a small commission through affiliate links to getting tipped by followers on an Instagram Live, there’s a host of supplementary sources of income for creators on Instagram.
How much money do influencers make by promoting links or selling their own products?
Influencers use platforms like LTK and ShopStyle to generate affiliate links or discount codes provided by brands to earn a percentage of sales.
Adding these links just got easier, too. In 2021, Instagram released the ability to add link stickers in Stories to all users — regardless of the follower count or verification status.
The platform also began testing native-to-Instagram affiliate marketing tools for influencers in 2021. Instagram has slowly expanded the test to more creators and has added new features like affiliate shops or expanding affiliates to Reels.
- Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, a lifestyle micro influencer with 16,000 followers, makes money using Instagram’s native affiliate program
- Vi Lai, a skincare influencer, uses Instagram and TikTok to make thousands of dollars per month using affiliate marketing
- Leaked commission rates for 32 brands in Instagram’s affiliate test reveal how much they’re paying influencers
- How much Instagram influencers are earning from the platform’s exclusive affiliate marketing beta test
Using Instagram’s suite of monetization tools
Facebook, now called Meta, announced in July 2021 that it would invest over $1 billion through 2022 into paying creators.
Since then, Instagram has announced several new monetization features for creators — including its own affiliate-marketing tools and subscriptions. And although the platform’s ad-revenue share program for ads played on IGTV (which rebranded to “Instagram Video”) came to an end in 2022, creators have turned to Reels as a way to earn money.
Instagram has several incentive programs under the umbrella of “Bonuses,” which pays creators for using features like Live or Reels and meeting certain goals or challenges.
Creators can also make money on Instagram through “Badges” (a tipping feature) and selling their own merchandise or products in-app.
- 9 influencers reveal how much money Instagram and Facebook paid them for Reels
- Instagram is testing ‘Subscriptions’ that let creators make money from exclusive content. Here are the details.
- Influencers reveal the different ‘bonus’ payments Instagram is offering, with some stretching up to $35,000
- Instagram is building a suite of money-making tools. Here are 9 features it’s testing or rolling out.
- Ronne Brown, a content creator with over 200,000 followers, earns money through Instagram Badges
Selling courses, direct-to-consumer products, and merch
Influencers can sell their own products and merchandise directly through Instagram’s shopping features, or leverage their audience to promote their own brands, products, coaching services, or online courses.
Some influencers, like Huda Kattan, go on to found brands that are worth millions — or even billions — of dollars.
- Creators are making big money teaching online courses. Here’s how one made $1 million in sales.
- How a philosophy Instagram account makes six figures selling digital wallpapers and calendars
- How much money two influencers earned last year selling bucket hats, hoodies, and other merch
- A micro influencer self-published a book and used Instagram to drive sales
- An Instagram star who has sold $35 million of her own products explains how she built her fashion line
- The most valuable brands started by influencers, including some worth over $1 billion
Resale apps like Poshmark, Depop, and Etsy have become lucrative small businesses for many Instagram creators.