You probably already know that Instagram is home to lots of monthly active users – one billion to be specific. It’s also probably why you’re thinking about how to monetize Instagram.

But that’s not all. What’s more, IG users spend 53 minutes daily on the app. That’s about 97% more time on Instagram daily than people spend on managing their personal finances!

Now that’s what makes things interesting: Think of the marketing and money-making potential that Instagram offers with so many users spending so much time on the platform every day.

Looking to learn how to make money on Instagram? We’ll answer that for you in this article. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How many followers you need on Instagram to make money
  • 7 proven ways to monetize your Instagram
  • How to get started with your video channel to monetize your Instagram

Let’s roll.

How many followers you need to make money on Instagram

It’s true that the more followers you have on Instagram, the more features you can unlock. For example, the highly cherished swipe-up link in Instagram Stories comes after you hit the 10,000 follower mark.

But a high follower count isn’t the end-all, be-all for Instagram video monetization success. Why? Because you can monetize your Instagram even with 1,000 followers, provided these followers are organic and engaged (hint: buying followers won’t help, so shake that thought out of your mind).

How video can help grow your Instagram following

Learn six tips for building a strong social media following using video.

What’s a good engagement rate on Instagram?

Anything between 1% to 3% is a good engagement rate on Instagram. Anything beyond, say 6%, is gold. As for a double-digit engagement rate? That’s the hard-to-attain ‘viral’ zone.

One thing to remember here: your engagement rate depends on your industry. Some industries, like higher education, have a high engagement rate on Instagram, while others can have a low engagement rate, such as the retail industry.

Look through the chart below and see what the average engagement rate in your field is:

A horizontal bar chart shows average Instagram engagement rates for different industies

How do you calculate your engagement rate on Instagram?

Calculate your engagement rate on Instagram by dividing the sum of all your likes and comments with your follower count.

Then, multiply the answer by 100 to get your Instagram engagement rate.

How to make money on Instagram: 7 proven ways to start making money

1. Create sponsored posts

Sponsored posts are posts that feature a product or service, educating your audience about it.

Marketers in the U.S. commit 69% of their influencer budgets to Instagram. You know what that means, right? You have a fantastic scope to bring home the bacon by creating sponsored posts. To get started, collaborate with brands to feature their products in your posts.

How much do Instagram sponsored posts pay?

Some influencers charge as much as $5,000 to $10,000 per sponsored post, while others who are only getting started charge somewhere from $88 to $300 per post depending on their engagement.

Here’s what influencers on Instagram are charing per sponsored post:

A bar chart indicating what influencers charge per post on Instagram

2. Become a brand ambassador

Another answer to how to monetize Instagram is becoming a brand ambassador or a brand’s representative, sharing news about its products and featuring them in a positive light. Brands prefer working long-term with influencers, so you can easily collaborate with one that aligns with your values and make money on Instagram that way.

How much do Instagram brand ambassadors get paid?

This could be anywhere between $20,000 to $58,000 yearly. But your payment as a brand ambassador depends squarely on the brand – they might choose hourly or weekly payments instead of a monthly amount.

3. Become an affiliate marketer

You can also monetize your Instagram by sharing affiliate links (given by brands) in your Instagram posts and Stories. One-third of consumers tend to purchase products from non-celebrity bloggers. If you have a sizable Instagram audience that trusts you, you can make good money in affiliate sales.

Word of caution: to respect the FTC guidelines, always add a #sponsored or #ad hashtag in your posts containing affiliate links so your followers know you’re selling.

How much can I earn from affiliate marketing if I have 10K followers on Instagram?

I’ve said this before, but let me stress on this one more time: how you make money on Instagram depends on your engagement.

Also, you’re likely to make more with affiliate marketing if you’re promoting products that match your audience’s interest.

Is Instagram a good place for affiliate marketing?

Between the visual storytelling format, a sizable audience looking to shop on the platform, and the community building potential, Instagram is a great channel for selling affiliate goods.

How can you do affiliate marketing on Instagram?

Join affiliate programs or networks like ShareASale, Pepperjam, and Awin to get affiliate links to products that interest your audience.

Next, start marketing! Encourage people to buy something using your affiliate link.

4. Sell your product with Instagram shopping

From crochet rugs to daily planners, you can sell nearly anything on Instagram so long as it’s legal and it interests your audience. Nearly 11% of Instagram users in the U.S. shop on the platform.

Here are 3 ways to sell on Instagram straight from IG HQ:

  • Showcase your products in your Stories
  • Take stunning pictures of your product from various angles and share them in an Instagram Shoppable post (one with clickable product tags)
  • Go behind the scenes and share how you make your product in an Instagram video

Is selling through Instagram profitable?

The short answer is yes. As for the details: how you make money on Instagram depends on how niche your products are, what your strategy to sell them, and well… you guessed it… how engaged your audience is.

The perfect length for every kind of Instagram video.

Our blog post covers everything you need to know about social video.

5. Create an integrated store with Facebook Shops

The recently launched feature, Facebook Shops is yet another solution to how to monetize Instagram.

Shops allows you to create a shop where users can browse, save, share, and shop your products. Your shop will be accessible across Facebook integrated apps, including Instagram.

A mobile phone displays a sample Facebook Shop page

Do you have to pay for a Facebook Shop?

Setting up a Facebook Shop is free. However, on every purchase, Facebook takes a market standard flat fee of or 5% per shipment or 0.40% for orders of $8 or less.

6. Offer Instagram marketing services

Not everyone has the time to market their products or services on Instagram, so you can always do that work for them by offering Instagram marketing services. But first: build your personal brand and authority on Instagram as proof of your expertise.

What should you charge for Instagram marketing?

For starters, charge an hourly rate for the work you do. Initially, this could be $15 to $50 per hour, but it can increase to $50 to 100 per hour as your experience and portfolio grow.

7. Create a subscription video streaming service to complement your strategy

Yep, you read that right. If you’re passionate about a subject and know it well, too, you can start an OTT subscription channel and use Instagram to market it.

Let’s back up a little and introduce you to OTT, or over-the-top streaming. Essentially, OTT streaming is monetizing video over the internet via TV and mobile apps. Instead of traditional TV broadcasting, this format of video monetization goes “over the top” of your everyday cable box.

Sounds interesting? It’s because it is! 

Here’s more: 80% of the folks in the U.S. subscribe to a paid streaming service. Top that up with 50% of the viewers now considering an OTT channel their “home base” for watching TV, and you can say that the future of OTT streaming shines bright.

And, while you’d think Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu are awesome examples of OTT content, there are some amazing businesses and brands across industries like fitness, media, and instructional that are making it big with their OTT channels.

Salty Club is just one example of a fitness brand that leverages Instagram and an OTT channel to teach surf-inspired workouts. And to further supplement the income from paying subscribers, Salty Club also sells resources like healthy recipes and nutrition guides.

Get the scoop on video monetization.

Monetizing video content can take many forms. Learn about SVOD, TVOD, and AVOD in our comprehensive guide.

Is revenue from an OTT channel reliable?

In one word: absolutely.

In more words: As long as your channel serves a specific audience with value, you can quickly multiply your odds of success.

But remember the key to it all: niche content bests generalized content.If you’re a numbers type of a person (like me!), the future of OTT subscription channels is bright with revenue expected to increase to $25.71 billion in 2021. What’s more, niche content also has a low churn rate of about 9.8%.

3 stats that prove OTT is a viable way to monetize your Instagram following

Still unsure? Look at these numbers:

  1. 80% of U.S. consumers subscribe to a streaming service
  2. They spent 142.5 billion minutes (1) streaming videos in Q2 of 2020 alone
  3. The OTT market has a lucrative future, with revenue expected to hit $167B, double of what it was in 2019.

Pick your monetization model.

Our handy guide explains different types of video monetization models, using real world examples.

How to use Instagram to market a subscription channel

You aren’t the only one checking your Instagram multiple times daily. 42% of IG users are equally addicted – checking the app several times a day.

Translation: with users checking Instagram regularly, you’re likely to get all the eyeballs to your content that markets your channel.

Here are 3 proven ideas to market your video subscription channel on Instagram.

1. Use customer testimonials in your posts to encourage your audience to subscribe

Check out this example from Sculpt Society, showcasing positive feedback and real fitness footage from a customer:

2. Share value-packed educational content to tease your channel

Here’s an example from our client, ClayShare, who teaches pottery classes through a blend of social media and subscription video classes.

3. Instill FOMO

Or, “fear of missing out,” which is essentially creating a sense of urgency around a time-sensitive event or campaign. 305 Fitness recently launched their “305 at Home” app, and generated a ton of excitement through Instagram with this steallar teaser trailer:

Ready to create a video subscription channel? Let’s show you how to jump start the process today.

Here’s how to sell streaming videos online.

We cover 9 steps to follow when planning your transition into the OTT space.

Get started with a video channel to better monetize Instagram content

A fitness OTT channel is displayed on desktop, a tablet, and a smartphone.

If creating a video channel were a cookie, I’d suggest you break it into two equal parts. Half of the cookie represents your channel’s niche and the spin you add to it for creating unique and value-packed content.

The other half? That’s your video subscription platform – one that hosts your content.

And just as in the case of baking any tasty treat, you need to be careful every step of the way (otherwise, you’re likely to end up with a mess, or worse, burnt cookies).

If this all seems like a lot of work to you, don’t lose heart. At Vimeo, we handle all the ins and outs of video hosting, distribution, and monetization. This way, you can focus on what you’re best at – creating video content that’s all shades of stellar.

Here’s what Vimeo takes off your plate:

End-to-end video publishing and customer service

This means we have the mechanics of video uploading and publishing covered. Vimeo also works hard every month to squash any bugs, roll out new features (on average 11 new ones per month – woo!), and keep the product quality top-notch.

Not to mention, with Vimeo handling the customer service department, you have lots of room to create quality content and focus on marketing your channel to monetize your Instagram. In fact, the team ensures that 60% of all queries are answered within 15 minutes with 90% support cases resolved in under 3 hours.

The folks at Vimeo are super friendly and they’re super knowledgeable. They actually help our subscribers get to what they want, which is watching the programs.

Jason Connolly, VP Creative & Marketing, MHz Choice

High quality branded apps on every device

At Vimeo, we’re committed to optimizing your viewers’ experience by making your video content available via mobile and branded TV apps.

So, while you work on cranking out episode after episode, Vimeo works with you to create beautiful, reliable apps on all kinds of streaming devices, including:

  • iOS
  • Roku
  • XBOX
  • Android
  • Apple TV
  • Samsung Tizen
  • Amazon Fire TV

Streamlined in-app subscriptions and payments

This way, your customers enjoy a seamless, branded experience without having to jump from one site to another to subscribe and/or make payments. Vimeo boasts a 93% successful payment rate, which means there’s less risk you involuntarily lose a subscriber to payment failure.

Now we’re able to acquire subscribers more efficiently. We’ve implemented in-app payment with Vimeo, and we estimate that we’ve probably improved subscriber conversion by 2 to 3 times.

Gregor Angus, CEO, True Royalty TV

How can I make my own OTT channel?

Putting together components of an OTT platform such as content management system, payment processing, and the whole show is both time consuming and costly.

Most creators, therefore, choose a ready-made OTT platform, like Vimeo OTT, over a piecemeal strategy of making one from the scratch.

Wrap-up: How to monetize Instagram

Here’s hoping you now have a full picture of how to make money on Instagram, or how to monetize your Instagram. To recap, you’ve quite a few options:

  • Sell brand products by creating sponsored posts
  • Represent a brand by becoming their ambassador
  • Make commissions on each sale by diving into affiliate marketing
  • Sell your product with Instagram shoppable posts and other features
  • Create a Facebook Shop to encourage people to buy from you
  • Market your OTT channel and get people to subscribe to your channel

For those of you who want to monetize Instagram by marketing your OTT channel, here are more OTT resources and success stories.

There’s much more to OTT.

Discover stories, how-to guides, and fresh content on all things OTT.