After testing them with selected creators over the past few months, Instagram is rolling out its new badges in Instagram Live broadcasts to wider pool of creators.
As you can see here, Instagram's new Badges will appear alongside comments when the commenter has paid to add extra flair to their contribution. These badges, which can be purchased from Instagram - ranging from $0.99 for one heart, to $4.99 for three - provide a means to both donate to the creator, with the proceeds going to the broadcaster, and for the viewer to highlight their comments, which could give the streamer more reason to acknowledge them.
The process is similar to Facebook's Stars streamer payments for gaming streamers, or YouTube's Super Chat option. Initially, Instagram will not take a cut from the purchase of live-stream hearts, but it will look to take a percentage of revenue raised at some point in future.
Instagram says that it saw a 70% increase in live-stream viewership from February to March, with people seeking more ways to consume content and connect during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Given the increase, it makes sense for Instagram to look to further entice streamers to keep broadcasting, and badges will add an extra incentive to keep that content stream flowing.
Instagram says that Badges will also unlock special features:
"Including placement on a creator’s list of badge holders and access to a special heart."
In addition to this, Instagram's adding further incentive for broadcasters by temporarily matching earnings from Badges starting in November.
"We want Instagram to be the best place for creators to tell their story, grow their audience and make a living. This is another step forward in our vision to build a suite of tools that help creators make money through branded content, shopping, content monetization, and direct support from fans."
Definitely, this will become a bigger consideration over time - right now, for example, TikTok creators may be building their audience, but at some stage, they'll be looking to maximize their revenue potential through the same. That's essentially what happened to Vine - at a certain point, Vine creators realized that they could be making a lot more money on YouTube and Instagram, and they proposed that Vine start paying them more to keep them around. Vine, via parent company Twitter, refused, and the big platform stars dispersed to other networks, where many went on to become millionaires.
TikTok will face this same challenge, which is why it's working to develop new monetization tools and options, while Instagram and YouTube develop their own monetization offerings with a view to providing an alternative.
As noted, that will become a more significant element over time, and it makes sense for Instagram to be evolving on this front.
In addition to this, Instagram's also expanding its IGTV ads beta to more creators in the US.
"We have been testing this over the past couple of months with a smaller group and will now begin to expand access on an ongoing basis."
Each of these elements could have a big impact for creators, adding more tools to help Instagram fend off rising competition for talent.