Instagram Announces Affiliate Plan

Instagram is now offering more incentives to creators. Why? And are the incentives good enough?


Sahail Ashraf

3 years ago | 3 min read

Instagram has upped its game once again from a creators point of view. In the rush to make the platform viable for creators (and keep them off other platforms) the company announced some new monetisation options for creators including a new affiliate marketing scheme.

The most exciting news is the ‘native affiliate tool’ it is talking about. This will allow creators to discover products they like in the app itself, and then share them with followers. If followers purchase any of the items that have been shared, the affiliate will earn a commission.

It kind of adds even more value to the work an Influencer does, for example. And it is actually less work for Influencers, because they don’t have to make deals with brands. Instead, they simply sign up to the program, choose products they want to endorse, and then wait for Followers to purchase to gain commissions.

With eCommerce pushing social media more and more down the line towards becoming highly monetised, this kind of thing makes sense for Instagram. The platform needs to have plenty of incentives for its creators, who have the option of moving elsewhere.

Not much detail

Instagram hasn’t gone into a lot of detail around the new direction, which of course means that it is easy for people to have concerns. The biggest issue is the position of brands. If an Instagram creator chooses one of their products to endorse, the brand, so far at least, will not have much of a say in things. This could of course lead to unfortunate situations where brands find that their products are being endorsed by creators who are not in sync with their values.

As it happens, Instagram has said that it will test the plan with some brands in the US first, a small group of them. That makes sense, because this will allow creators to monetise, and also allow Instagram to see how the new method works with a small, tightly-controlled group of brands.


Perhaps even more excitingly for creators, Instagram is building on it’s Stars donation system:

“Starting this week, creators on Instagram are eligible to earn an extra payout when they meet certain milestones while using badges in Live, such as going Live with another account, while Facebook is also launching Stars Challenges. Creators in the program can earn payouts from Facebook in the form of free Stars if they meet certain milestones, such as broadcasting a certain number of hours or earning a set number of Stars within a designated time period.”

This is a trend that has grown across all kinds of platforms, and not just social media. Making it more like a ‘game’ means that monetisation is more fun, attractive, and more likely to keep creators coming back for more.

Having a gaming element to live steaming means that more content will be produced on the platform as creators try to earn more. This means more money for Instagram in the end, and for Facebook, it’s owner.

That’s what it all comes down to. Facebook has been trying to crush TikTok for a while now, and it hasn’t succeeded. TikTok only threatens Facebook in one way, by taking its creators. Right now, Facebook and Instagram have quality monetisation options, but all it will take is for TikTok to find a new way to make defecting to it’s platform attractive.

TikTok still doesn’t have a truly robust monetisation idea, one that beats all the others. When it does, if Instagram is caught out, expect to see a small exodus from Facebook’s baby to TikTok.

Right now, all we can do is watch. As TikTok scrambles to find its footing in monetisation, Instagram has some pretty good incentives coming up.


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Sahail Ashraf

I am a writer for brands. I create copy that drives revenue and helps businesses grow. I also run an amazing website called







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