Instagram's testing some new creator monetization options, ahead of the Christmas shopping push, with a view to helping its most prominent users maximize their earnings potential through branded content arrangements.
First off, Instagram’s testing a new ‘Partnerships’ messaging folder within Instagram DMs, which will be a dedicated space to keep track of sponsored content opportunities and communications.
As you can see here, along with your ‘Primary’ ‘General’ and ‘Requests’ folders, Instagram’s also testing a new ‘Partnership Messages’ section in your inbox, where these specific communications would live.
Those messages will be filtered through from Facebook’s Brand Collabs Manager platform, or via a new brand search option, which will facilitate connection with creators that either follow their brand profile or have specifically flagged that they’re open to working with them.
That also means that all of the brands getting in touch via this folder will have met Partner Monetization policies, as a qualifier for the new connection tools.
That could be an easier way to facilitate collaboration deals, and while it does seem like Instagram would be better off adding another swipeable tab in the Direct inbox, as opposed to tapping through on a folder at the top of the stream, maybe four tabs is just too many, and this is a better UI option.
Instagram’s also trying out a new digital storefront option for creators that are taking part in its affiliate program, providing another way for individual creators to promote sponsored products to their audience.
As you can see in these example screens, creators will now essentially be able to create their own shops of products that they endorse, providing more exposure potential for brands, and more revenue share options for creators.
Which could be a very enticing option, giving brands the capacity to reach the engaged communities of these users with direct endorsement on their profile. The option is currently being tested with US creators who are taking part in Instagram’s native affiliate program.
And finally, Instagram’s also launching new branded content ads in Reels, another step towards monetizing the short video format.
As per Instagram:
“We brought branded content to Reels earlier this year and now follow with the introduction of branded content ads in Reels.”
The option looks very much like Instagram’s Branded Content tags for Reels, though with a ‘Sponsored’ marker, instead of just ‘Paid Partnership’. That will give brands more capacity to boost their Reels creator collaborations, which, as TikTok’s model has shown, is the only real way to gain traction in the format, with traditional, disruptive ads failing to trigger the same levels of response in short-form video feeds.
Though effective monetization of short-form video, overall, remains problematic, because unlike longer videos, you can’t insert pre or mid-roll ads into 30-second clips. That limits your capacity to attribute revenue share to specific uploads, which is why branded content formats like this are a key avenue for creator monetization, and providing more incentive for popular Reels stars to keep posting.
Instagram’s also adding the ability to boost organic Feed and Story posts to become an ad with Instagram’s Boost for Branded Content option.
These are key additions within Instagram’s broader creator monetization push, which the platform has touted, repeatedly, as a way forward for the app. Which, again, is especially true for Reels, but even for Instagram overall, as more users look to TikTok, and TikTok evolves its revenue share tools, that could eventually see a lot more popular users spending more time on that app instead, unless Instagram can keep them around with more enticing, lucrative revenue share deals.
And with its broader push on eCommerce, these could end up being major additions – but there is also still a risk that Instagram could become too eCommerce focused as well, and lose some of its usage appeal as a result.
We’ll see what happens – these new experiments are in testing with selected users now.