With Instagram putting more emphasis on Reels as it seeks to combat the rise of TikTok, a key area where Instagram can best its rival is in monetization, and offering more lucrative brand partnership options and processes, in order to help users make money from their clips.
Instagram has a more advanced systems in place for such, and furthering this, today, Instagram is adding new Branded Content Tags for both Reels and Live to expand its revenue options for creators.
The new tags will mean that creators can formulate more deals with brands, and generate revenue immediately from their Reels content. And if more of them can make more money on Reels, and Instagram can get them similar levels of exposure, maybe that will be enough to stop them straying to TikTok in the first place.
In addition to this, Instagram's also adding a new process which will enable brands and creators to work collaboratively on Instagram content creation, as opposed to brands having to promote a pre-existing post.
As explained by Instagram:
"Until today, Branded Content ads could only be created by promoting the existing posts from creators. Instagram is now launching a new workflow where advertisers can create Branded Content ads without the need for creators to post organically on Instagram first. Now brands have more flexibility with fewer constraints when they want to run Branded Content ads."
The process enables advertisers to post from a Creators' account - which could be problematic, but creators will maintain the capability to both approve and pause any ads published from their handle.
The process will work like this:
- Advertisers sends request for Ad Creation Access
- Creator accepts Ad Creation Access. Notification sent to the advertiser upon acceptance
- Creator receives notification of the created ad for their approval
That makes it a more collaborative, hands-on effort, and the added exclusivity could lead to bigger promotions and partnerships.
Instagram's also changing its rules around Branded Content in Stories and Branded Content posts which include product tags.
For Stories, Instagram says that Branded Content ads in Stories will now be able to include tappable elements:
"...such as @mentions, location and hashtags. We want brands to have access to organic Stories’ creative that is native and authentic to the Stories experience."
Brands will now also be able to promote branded content posts with product tags.
"Until today, branded content posts from creators that included product tags were not able to be promoted. Now brands can get more value out of this content that makes it easy for people to shop directly from creators that inspire them."
The new tools provide more opportunities for influencer collaborations, which, as noted, could help give Instagram a leg-up over TikTok in terms of facilitating revenue generation for its stars.
TikTok is working on the same - it's building its eCommerce tools, which have been a big part of its success in China, while TikTok also has its own Creator Marketplace to facilitate brand collaborations.
But Instagram, which generated around $3 billion in revenue last quarter, is in a better position with its ad tools and processes. Facebook's more mature advertising and revenue stream means that it can offer more value for creators to generate money from their efforts, and while TikTok is reportedly on track to reach a billion users in 2021, if its biggest influencers can make money on Reels instead, that could become a problem, if TikTok fails to move fast enough.
Which, in itself, will be a challenge. TikTok is still embroiled in an ongoing negotiation over its potential sale to a US company, and the longer that drags on, the harder it is for TikTok to solidify its revenue streams, and clarify its processes for creators.
It's still developing its various tools in this respect, but TikTok will be hoping for some clarity around its situation soon, which will then enable it to keep building - as Instagram continues to stack its offers to lure TikTok stars across.