December 6, 2023

How to Make Money on Instagram: What You Need to Know

How to Make Money on Instagram: What You Need to Know

Instagram is a goldmine for brands and marketers. We’ve heard this time and time again, right? There are people making insane amounts of money on Instagram. You may be wondering how they’re doing it, and how you might be able to crack the code for yourself or your clients, too.

Among Instagram’s highest earners are sports stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who rake in more than $1.5 million USD per post.

You don’t have to be a famous athlete or movie star to make bank on Instagram, though. A number of highly paid Instagram influencers pull in quite a bit of income on their posts, too. The highest-paid "non-celebrity" Instagram influencer is Eleonora Pons (@lelepons), with reported Instagram earnings at $180,000 USD per post after initially getting her start on TikTok.

Wondering how to start making money on Instagram, too? In this post, we’re going to look at the different options for Instagram monetisation that social media practitioners need to know, both to help their clients monetise properly and to maybe take advantage of some of this themselves. Let’s dive in.

How to Make Money on Instagram: The 3 Main Options

If you’re looking to make money on Instagram, there are three major options available to marketers that you can start taking advantage of right away. Let’s take a look at what those options are.

1. Using the Platform to Reach Audiences & Drive Sales

Instagram makes it possible for marketers and businesses to reach audiences and drive sales directly from the platform itself. You can post about your products and services on Instagram, making sure to share consistently and to leverage all your options for getting eyes on your brand. Be sure to utilise image posts in the feed, post Instagram videos and Reels, and make use of your Instagram Stories, too.

how to make money on Instagram with stoppable features

Brands with physical products to sell can set up shopping directly from their Instagram accounts. From major retailers to small businesses, Instagram is a great way to sell products because your followers won’t need to leave the platform in order to make a purchase. Having a shopping button on-platform lowers the barrier to entry, in terms of encouraging your audience to spend money with your brand.

2. Act as an Influencer with Sponsored Partnerships

You don’t have to be a model to act as an influencer with #sponsored partnerships. Instead, you can simply be an expert in your field or an influential content creator. Blogger and Instagram influencer Ashlee Piper partnered with a retail shop in her area to feature select personal care products. Take a look:

Influencer marketing to make money on Instagram

Sponsored posts can be any cost and for any business. Focus on partnering with brands that align with your core values, and that your audience might also be interested in.

3. Monetising Your Instagram Videos as a Creator

Instagram video has become a powerful way for you to connect more deeply with fans, pilot new projects and share more of your talents. With in-stream video ads, you have another way to earn money from the content that you produce.

When you monetise content on Instagram, you are giving brands the ability to promote themselves within the videos you create. How much you earn will be based on the number of views your video generates (aka monetisable plays). You'll get 55% of the ad revenue generated per view that will be paid monthly. Once ads have been enabled, new monetisation metrics can be found in Insights.

Coming Soon: Affiliate Sales

Recently, Instagram announced its all-new affiliate marketing program, another great way for creators to monetise their accounts. Affiliate marketing on Instagram will help creators make money from all-new Stars creator donations, in addition to product promos. Over the next few months, Instagram will test this new tool.

use affiliate sales to make money on instagram

Creators on Instagram will be able to find products for sale through the platform. Then, they’ll be able to share those products with their audiences. If their followers make a purchase through their affiliate link, then the creators can earn a commission on follow-up purchases.      

How Many Followers Do I Need to Make Money on Instagram?

No matter your number of followers, you just need enough data that you can drive sales for someone else. You can accomplish this with 1000 followers, but more followers can often mean more money. According to some research, an Instagram influencer needs approximately 5000 followers to earn around a hundred thousand per year. That number will vary based on each individual profile and its follower base.

3 Iron-Clad Rules Instagram Influencers Must Follow

If you’re making money from a sponsored post or partnership on Instagram, then the platform requires you to disclose it. As a creator, you must disclose your posts as paid any time you’re advertising products on behalf of another business, even if you received them for free and didn’t get paid additional money. For businesses, payment to creators can include money, free products or services, discounts, and more.

Here’s how you should disclose sponsored content on Instagram:

  1. Include a Branded Content tag, which causes “Paid partnership” to appear at the top of your post caption. Here’s how.
  2. Disclose whether the product was a gift.
  3. State that the post is part of a partnership, and disclose the account you’re collaborating with.
picture of a cake by petey_cake instagram

To learn more about Instagram’s branded content policies, click here. If you’re a resident of Australia, here’s more information on your specific influencer marketing rules. New Zealand residents can find more information here.

How to Set Up Sponsored Partnerships

Instagram’s Paid Partnerships tool allows brands and creators to officially partner for sponsored posts. The platform has been rolling out this option to businesses over time. To see if it’s an option for you, here’s what you need to do:

1. From your Instagram profile, navigate to your account settings.

2. Tap Business.

3. Tap Branded Content.

4. At the top of the screen, Instagram will tell you whether you’re eligible to use the paid partnership label.


From there, you can request for brand partners to approve you, approve content creators who have requested a sponsored partnership with you, or request ad creation access for another account.

Should Social Media Practitioners Monetise Their Accounts?

The question of whether social media practitioners should monetise their accounts is a tricky one. As you gain an audience, you may get offers for paid partnerships. Choose carefully when it comes to partnering with other brands, as you’ll want to make sure they align with your brand values and make sense for your audience.

On one hand, passive income is always great. But if you want to promote your business, agency, or freelance work, it’s likely going to be best not to monetise your account because you want to keep the trust of potential audience members and potential customers

Final Thoughts

Making money on Instagram is possible, both for influencers and service providers. It’s possible to drive sales through the platform, sell products on Instagram itself, act as an influencer with sponsored partnerships, and monetise your Instagram Videos as a content creator.

With the right mix of monetisation strategies, you’ll be on your way to adding Instagram as a stream of income in your business (or to help your clients do so!).

Have a look at our social media marketing plans to learn more about making money on Instagram.

Jonathon Tanner

Jonathon Tanner

Co-CEO and Co-Founder

Co-CEO and Co-Founder of SMC, earned Social Media Educator of the Year from SMMI. With vast experience in social media strategy and content marketing, he's also a co-founder of other businesses. Specialising in growth strategy, Jon has a background in management consulting specialising in M&A.

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