You’ve got the perfect shots, edits, and captions. And your brand is giving off just the right vibes.
Better still, your use of Instagram’s features like Reels and IG Live are on point. Your followers are engaged and your IG feed is on fire.
You’re finally getting the reach and growth you worked so hard for!
Well, all this time invested should pay off (literally). You’re ready to take your Instagram to the next level by monetizing your following.
And we’ve got your back.
In this article, we’ve broken down the simplest and most effective ways to monetize your Instagram in 2021.
We’ll show you how the pros make their money on — and off — the platform, and let you turn those likes and comments into monthly payments.
- Create Your Own Video Streaming Service
- Teach What You Know
- Video Product Placements
- Sell Self-Branded Products
- Advertise Brand Products
- Sell Affiliate Products
Bonus info: Follower count and engagement rate
We’ve delved deeper into each method below.
1. Launch a Video Streaming Service
The most lucrative way to monetize Instagram followers in 2021 is to offer them paid membership access to your exclusive, high-quality video content; also known as a subscription-style video streaming service.
It’s simple: your followers are already hooked on your IG feed, so why not offer them a paid membership and community to access your premium content? ?
Our research shows that with adequate marketing, 2% – 5% of Instagram followers convert to paying subscribers to video streaming services..
This model allows you to expand on your content and give your loyal followers more value. You can design a world of education, inspiration, entertainment, or anything in between — and you would be completely in charge.
Plus, you would earn a consistent and livable wage for your hard work: your followers would pay a monthly subscription fee for access to your quality content. Best of all, you get to set the price.
Take BFUNK for example: their profile shows snippets of dance tutorials, break down of moves, and choreographed dances.
Source: BFUNK Instagram
They have 338k Instagram followers and their videos get tens if not hundreds of thousands of views.
BFUNK’s IG videos act as a preview to their full choreography tutorials.
They use Instagram to get people hooked on their content and keep them wanting more! It creates interest in and referrals back to their video streaming platform.
BFUNK can now move their Instagram followers down their sales funnel and convert their most dedicated fans and followers to become paying subscribers to their eLearning streaming service.
That way, BFUNK can sustainably monetize their following off the IG platform and on a platform they fully own, a subscription-style video streaming service. By doing so, BFUNK fully owns their marketing channel and is not subjected to arbitrary algorithm changes that can hinder their reach!
Wondering how to get started setting up a video business? It’s simpler than you might expect and doesn’t require any technical skills.
At Uscreen, we’re able to help you create, host, market, and grow an online video business that is optimized to help you monetize Instagram; just like we do for BFUNK.
If you want to…
- launch an online academy or skills-based platform
- entertain audiences with your video content
- create online health and fitness programs
- earn consistent monthly income
…then having your very own video streaming platform is likely the best solution for you to monetize your Instagram. You can find out more, and get a 14-day free trial right here.
Start your 14-day free trial today!
How Profitable Is It To Create Your Own Video Subscription Website?
This will depend on your subscriber count and how much you price your subscriptions. But, with even just 100 subscribers, priced at $10 you could make $1000 on a monthly basis. The more people you convert, the higher and more consistent it becomes! Our data shows that Uscreen customers make an average of $5735/month.
2. Teach What You Know
Teaching people what you know is a high-payoff, low-investment way to earn money on Instagram.
That’s where information products come in; they educate or help your audience solve a specific pain point they’re experiencing in their lives. That could include anything from learning how to do magic tricks for one, to self-discovery through astrology and everything in between.
Info products can be e-books, one-off payment programs, audio, or video courses.
If you have niche-related knowledge then you can use it to create an info product by organizing your knowledge and skills into a digestible format to teach your followers.
Instagram is a great tool to promote your brand and give a preview of the knowledge you’ll deliver.
Some posting techniques include standalone “How-To” posts, a weekly tips series, an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) session via Stories, or IGTV explainer videos!
Take a look at Naturally.Sassy’s feed, which shows major fitness, health, wellness, and dog inspo. She shares, health and wellness tips along with short snippets of her ballet-inspired fitness and wellness tutorials:
These videos give Sassy’s attentive IG followers tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle with movement, breathwork, and food. She positions herself as an expert who practices what she preaches.
As she gains the trust of her audience, her more curious and diligent followers will start to want more. This is where she can direct her followers to her website that includes:
- Healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes.
- Body sculpting fitness plans.
- A lifestyle blog.
- Events (pre Covid-19).
- An online workout studio.
While her passive followers get a lot out of her informational Instagram page as is, her die-hard fans can get even more value from her information product.
This model of combining IG promotion to sell info products works for a ton of different niches. Here are just a few examples:
- Design: Expert-level DIY Interior Design Courses.
- Fitness: Targeted Flexibility and Mobility Training.
- Parenting: Parenting Education For First-Time And Single Parents.
- Wellness: Improve Your Focus In 3Just 0-Days.
- Dance: Learn How To Choreograph and Lead A Dance Studio.
But how exactly do you create information products?
To net a real profit from this method, you’ll need a systematic plan and consistency to deliver your knowledge. We broke it down in the #1 solution below.
- Online Course vs Membership Site: Which One Should You Launch?
- Why Now is the Best Time to Launch Your eLearning Business
How Profitable Is It to Teach What You Know?
Information products are low-cost products that can be sold at high prices. You can then sell your info product as a subscription service or one-off payment for a range of prices from $9.99 all the way up to $1,000+!
How To Start Your First eLearning Business In 2021 – Full Guide
3. Video Product Placements
Product placements are as ageless as advertising itself, but the technique truly came into vogue with the rise of video.
Here’s how it works: a brand will pay you to feature their product in your video and you’ll generate some cash for advertising it.
Also known as “embedded marketing,” product placements are often so subtle that they completely fly under the radar, like Audi in Marvel movies. Some may be more blatant, like Heineken in James Bond.
You can use these 4 types of video for product placements on Instagram:
- Instagram Reels: short-form videos between 15 to 30 seconds.
- Instagram Stories: temporary videos that last 24 hours, can be live or saved videos.
- IGTV: long-form videos up to 15 minutes long.
- IG Live: live video (suitable for content longer than 15 minutes) where you can interact with the audience, and save it on your IG page.
The strategy for all 4 types of video is the same: have the product insight or interact with the product.
That being said, each type of video can convey a different sentiment to the viewer.
For example, you can use Reels because they’re easy to consume for viewers. Product placements with Reels can be anything from styling and make-up tutorials to snack reviews
You can also use Stories, which are a great way for product placements to seem authentic for example by showing yourself using the product in your daily life. With stories you can also save them as Highlights on your IG page and use the “swipe up” feature, to make buying these items a seamless experience.
If you want to use long-form videos on Instagram, you can upload IGTVs or go Live. Here you can give a review of the product or video yourself using it. Going Live is also a great way to connect with your followers on a human level and show authenticity.
If you want your product placement videos to generate a second stream of income, you can enable Instagram’s new monetization feature, IGTV Ads. This lets you get another payout on your IGTV videos from ad revenues. (Which is likely to be 55% of ad revenue!)
You can also use Instagram’s Live Badges feature on IG Live to generate extra revenue from your Live product placement videos. Badges are a way for your followers to tip you while you’re live streaming by ‘buying a badge.’
Here’s what it looks like in action:
Sounds like fun, right?
If you’re wondering how to get started with product placements, your best bet is to directly approach brands with your pitch and prepare your proposal in detail.
When brainstorming, keep in mind: If your placement feels too much like an ad, it might rub audiences the wrong way. So be as genuine as possible in your content, from the products you choose to the way you showcase them.
Soraya Shawky is a beauty and wellness influencer, with great style. Her product placement videos are on-brand. She shows products she would personally use like make-up, body oils, and clothes.
How Profitable Is It to Do Video Product Placements?
Placements are measured by their CPM or cost per 1,000 views. Depending on your clout, what you’re spotlighting and to whom, there’s a wide range for potential earnings. Just remember: the more views you generate, the greater the profit.
4. Sell Your Own Products
When it comes to selling products you have two options:
- Create your own.
- Use dropshipping.
Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Create Your Own Goods
Creating digital and physical products on your IG page can go a long way in amplifying your brand. Your products can either be part of your content or the content itself.
Any visually appealing product or service, especially digital art and photography, works well.
Creating goods as your main source of content is a lot of work, that’s because you’ll deal with the logistics of creating your product/service AND marketing it on social media.
Nevertheless, this venture can be worth the return because you can:
- Create a strong brand image.
- Receive commissioned jobs where you get paid for your service/products.
- Generate revenue from selling your products online.
- Increase collaborations with other brands.
Dropshipping: Use a Manufacturer & Online Store
If you’re focusing on a physical product that does not need your niche expertise, you can enlist with a manufacturer and set up a dropshipping store.
Essentially, it’s a setup where a business arranges for the manufacturer to ship directly to the customer. You completely bypass production, inventory storage, and shipping hassles. Just use a dropshipping app like Oberlo in the Shopify store to coordinate the process.
Not sure what to sell? Take a look at the people in your audience — what they use, wear, consume or interact with on a daily basis. When in doubt, ask them!
If you have a unique personal brand that makes a statement you can explore selling your own branded products, aka merch.
When it comes to creating self-branded promotional gear, the options are endless:
- Stickers and Magnets
- Totes and Drawstring Backpacks
- Mugs, Glasses, and Tumblers
- T-shirts and Hoodies
- Flash Drives
- Phone covers
- Sports equipment (i.e. resistance bands)
As long as they relate to your niche and galvanize your audience, you can create anything.
Mooshe Socks has done this well. They promote their socks on their Instagram page:
And direct people to their online Shopify store where their followers can shop for cute socks!
Instagram has made selling even easier with the addition of their shopping tags. You can tag a product, price and include a direct link all in one photo!
How Profitable Is It to Sell Self-Branded Products?
You have total control over this. The clearer your message, and the more active your fans, the larger the profits you can make. If you have 10,000 followers and 5% of them buy a $10 t-shirt, that’s $5000.
5. Sell Affiliate Products
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to monetize Instagram in 2021.
This involves working with a brand or business as an “ambassador” to promote their products or services in exchange for a portion of revenue.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up as an affiliate.
- Use the provided unique URL link or code in your post(s).
- You receive a percentage of every purchase made.
Affiliate marketing is an ideal place to begin monetizing your Instagram. The barrier to entry is low and thousands of top brands already have a self-enrollment program in place. It only takes a few minutes to sign up and get started!
You’ve probably already seen affiliate marketing in action while scrolling through your feed.
Take this update from Luna the Husky for example. She’s a pet influencer boasting 100K followers — not bad! Her feed promotes her favorite all-natural kibble, Akela:
When someone buys the food, Luna and her humans get a commission.
Getting started as an affiliate is a fairly straightforward process. Just search:
+ “become an affiliate”
And you’ll be able to see if they have one or not. Then, simply fill in the necessary details to sign up.
Pro-tip: some programs may be hidden in website footer links.
It’s best to stick to goods and services that fit your niche and that you personally believe in, these will resonate most with your audiences and have the largest impact.
How Profitable Is It To Sell Affiliate Products on Instagram?
You can expect to earn a commission percentage ranging from 10% to 20%. This depends on the industry or type of product you’re promoting, the product’s price, and your affiliate partner’s profit margin.
6. Create Sponsored Content
There are brands out there dying to connect with you. Why?
Because they know if you promote their products to your audience they’re going to get more sales.
Rakuten’s Global 2019 Influencer Marketing Survey found that 87% of consumers made a direct purchase based on a recommendation by an influencer.
You’ll collaborate with brands to create sponsored content to promote a product, service, or campaign. It’s different from affiliate marketing because content creators are paid a flat fee per post or series, not on a sales commission basis.
- Affiliate: you receive 10% of each sale of product X.
- Sponsored post: you receive $1000 for a promo on your feed.
Influencer marketing posts typically focus on direct product placement through tutorials, giveaways, and unboxings.
But campaigns can also be geared towards the company itself or putting a spotlight on events or special occasions.
Here’s an example from Instagram nutrition and wellness influencer Elizabeth Moye— it’s a standalone post where she highlights FAGE yogurt: :
You can see how she seamlessly worked the product placement into a valuable piece of content. It’s more than just her holding a pot of yogurt and posing, it’s something that her audience can go away and use.
Instagram requires creators and influencers to disclose when they’re posting sponsored content. It’s best practice to mention when your posts are sponsored ads. You can do this by using the sponsored ad tag, mentioning its an ad in the caption, saying it’s a gift from, or a partnership with, a brand.
- $10 – $100 for 1000 to 10,000 followers.
- $250 – $750 per 1000 engagements (or $0.25 – $0.75 per post engagement).
The price will vary based on the brand’s goals, the potential of your Instagram following, and your engagement rate.
Having a high engagement rate, even with a smaller audience, will net higher pay than a huge following that doesn’t engage with your Instagram posts.
Wondering how to find these brands?
Well, Instagram’s new Brand Collabs Manager* tool makes it easier than ever to get discovered for paid partnerships and connect with brands that best match your objectives.
*You can check current country availability here.
To be eligible for the Brand Collabs Manager tool, you need to have 1000 followers and at least one of these criteria:
- 15,000 post engagements (number of people who have engaged with your posts through likes, comments, shares, and more.) in the last 60 days.
- 180,000 minutes viewed in the last 60 days.
- 30,000 1-minute views for 3-minute videos in the last 60 days.
After you’ve checked that you qualify for Brands Collabs Manager, you can follow the steps in the video below to use paid partnerships in your social media feed and stories!
If you decided no to use the Brands Collabs Manager tool, that’s fine as well!
You can research and identify your favorite brands and consider whether your audience will also obsess over these products. Then, engage with their profiles by leaving comments, liking their posts, and demonstrating your value as the superfan you are.
When you’ve started to see some interaction from them, you can slide into their DMs to see if they’re interested in working together.
How Profitable Is Advertising Brand Products?
You can expect to earn $10 per 1,000 followers, or $0.25 to $0.75 per post engagement. This will depend on the popularity of your feed and the product you’re selling.
Follower Count & Engagement Rate: What You Need To Know
You need to consider both follower count and engagement rate when it comes to making money off your Instagram account. In this section, we’ll break down everything you need to know about both metrics and when we recommend starting to monetize your Instagram.
According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, there are 5 types of influencers:
Equally as important as your follower count is your engagement rate. Because what use is a high follower count if they’re not actively engaging with your content?
Research shows that the average engagement rate seen on influencers’ profiles is 1% to 3.5%, you can start monetizing your audience once you reach that level of engagement. The higher the engagement rate the more your Instagram feed will be worth.
If your engagement rate is below 1%, you should work more on building your brand and getting traction with your audience.
Alternatively, if your engagement rate is 3.5%, that means your followers are highly engaged and you can expect a bigger return from any monetizing strategy you choose to implement.
Sounds intriguing right? Here’s what you need to do to calculate your engagement rate:
First, find the engagement rate per post for a specific time frame (the last 30 or 60 days):
Engagement rate per post = (Total number of likes & comments in 30 days / Number of posts in 30 days)
Then use the above number to calculate the total engagement rate in percentages:
Engagement rate = (Engagement rate per post / Number of followers) x 100
And that’s it!
We recommend you hit the 10,000 follower mark and an engagement rate of 2.5% or more before looking to monetize.
That’s because you can:
- Sell to a larger number of people (if you have 2.5% engagement you’ll reach 250 users).
- Use in-app functionality like sharing links in your stories which is unavailable below the 10,000 follower mark.
- Survey your follower base to get a clear idea of products/services they want to see.
- Offer a larger return on investment to brands and advertisers.
Wrapping this up…
Congrats! You’ve made it to the end.
This article was packed with useful information including 6 strategic ways to monetize your Instagram page:
- Create Your Own Video Streaming Service
- Teach What You Know
- Video Product Placements
- Sell Self-Branded Products
- Sell Affiliate Products
- Advertise Brand Products
A follower count helps, but it’s not all about that.
Positioning yourself as a thought-leader in a niche field can go a long way in getting engaged viewers that will help you create a sustainable and profitable business.
If you’re curious about our platform and what we can do for you, feel free to get in touch with us below!
Start Your 14-Day Free Trial
You can monetize your channel on Instagram by:
– Becoming an affiliate marketer and making a commission.
– Creating sponsored posts for brands.
– Selling your own physical or digital product.
– Reaching out to brands for product placements.
– Offering a paid service like an online course, membership site, ebook, etc.
– Using IGTV ads and/or Badges.
You can expect to earn $10 per 1,000 followers or $0.25 to $0.75 per post engagement. This will depend on the popularity of your feed and the product you’re selling. For more information click here.
To enable monetization on Instagram you need to switch to a Creator Account and be approved by a brand to be able to tag their products in your post. You can also turn on IGTV Ads and use Badges.
You can have anywhere between 1000 to 1 million-plus followers to make money off Instagram. Make sure your engagement rate is above 1%.
You can make around $500 per post with 50k followers (provided you have a good to high engagement rate).