- Influencers on Instagram earn money in a multitude of ways.
- From sponsored content to getting tips on IG Live, creators balance several streams of income.
- We spoke with more than a dozen creators who shared how much money they earn.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Instagram and influencers go hand-in-hand.
The Facebook-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.
As more brands turn to smaller creators like “nano” or “micro” influencers with under 100,000 followers, establishing a career as a creator is no longer a pipe dream.
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 last year. Meanwhile, Tyler Chanel, a micro influencer, starts 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.
Each deal has to also account for an influencer’s following, engagement metrics, and niche, while also calculating added fees like exclusivity, usage rights, and timing.
But if influencers negotiate well, brand deals can lead to big paychecks. For instance, one influencer told Insider she had booked $700,000 in brand deals halfway into 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, selling merchandise and DTC products, and monetization tools the platform is slowly rolling out.
One influencer made an average of $5,000 per month last year through affiliate links alone.
Insider has spoken with more than a 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.
But how much money do influencers actually charge for these deals?
18 Instagram influencers told us how much they made 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
- 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
- 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 38,000 followers
- Britney Turner, a lifestyle influencer with 27,000 followers
- Caitlin Patton, a lifestyle influencer with 22,000 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 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 menu of supplementary sources of income for creators on Instagram.
How much money do influencers make through links or selling their own products?
Influencers use platforms like LiketoKnow.it and ShopStyle to generate affiliate links, or discount codes provided by brands, to earn a percentage of sales.
Getting paid by Instagram
Instagram has announced several monetization tools for creators. The platform’s suite of money-making tools includes ad-revenue shares for ads played on IGTV, an incentive program called “Bonuses” that pays creators for using features like Live or Reels, and an in-the-works native affiliate program.
Creators can also make money on Instagram through “Badges” (a tipping feature) and selling their own merchandise or products in-app.
Selling 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 and DTC products.
Resale apps like Poshmark, Depop, and Etsy have become lucrative small businesses for many Instagram creators.