Instagram to debut revenue sharing with creators through IGTV ads

For the first time in its history, social media platform Instagram will start sharing revenue with creators through ads in IGTV and badges that viewers can purchase on Instagram Live. The company has hinted that ads would come to IGTV for more than a year, often saying the long-form video offering would be the most likely place it’d first pay creators.

The new tools that enable video creators to make money, including badges that viewers can purchase during Instagram Live videos and the introduction of IGTV ads. Both launches are considered a test, as the company is limiting the features’ availability during its experimentation phase, it says.

Badges will give viewers a way to support their favorite creators while also standing out in the comments, similar to efforts on other live video platforms, like YouTube and Twitch. There will be different “heart” badges viewers can choose from, offered at price points of $0.99 for one heart, $1.99 for two hearts or $4.99 for three hearts. Viewers can only buy one badge during a live video.

Once purchased, the badges will appear next to the person’s name throughout the live video as they comment, which helps them stand out. This helps creators more quickly see which fans are supporting their efforts and give them a shout-out, if desired, or respond to their questions. In addition, creators will be able to see a list of all their badge holders.

The new badges will launch next month with a small group of creators Instagram has chosen to work with here in the U.S. In the months ahead, the feature will expand to other markets, including Brazil, the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain and Mexico, in addition to becoming more broadly available across the U.S.

During the testing phase, Instagram isn’t taking a revenue share of badge sales but will later take a percentage cut of an undisclosed amount.

The launch comes at a time when Instagram has seen rapid growth in its live video platform, as creators and fans have been sheltering at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From February 2020 to March, Instagram says Live creators have seen a 70% increase in video views, for example.

In addition to the debut of badges, Instagram is also introducing advertising within Instagram’s long-form video platform, IGTV.

The IGTV ads will initially appear when people click to watch IGTV videos from the previews in their feed. These ads will be built for mobile and up to 15 seconds in length.