Introduced back in 2020, as a TikTok competitor, Instagram Reels soon took over its platform as its most engaging form of a post.
There are literally dozens of apps that are equivalent to TikTok that have almost the same features, so how did reels manage to become a star among the crowd?
For one, it was launched on an already populous platform, i.e, Instagram. Over 1 billion people use Instagram on a monthly basis.
So it had the unfair advantage of having a huge userbase prior to its launch.
The second factor that really skyrocketed its growth was the “Chinese App Ban” in India which included TikTok and other 50 Chinese apps in concerns of privacy and security issued by the Indian government.
Instagram used this app ban to its advantage and launched reels just in time when the Indian people needed a new alternative to TikTok.
I’ve heard talks about Instagram trying to copy popular ideas from other apps, being a copycat and all but the concept of copying a feature isn’t new to Instagram (such as the idea of reels from TikTok),
Instagram isn’t even slightly bothered about being accused of copying features from other popular apps.
In fact, when Instagram was accused of copying features such as Instagram stories from Snapchat, and to that Kevin Systrom (co-founder of insta) said,
“This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it“.
And you know what, I kinda agree with him.
YouTube too implemented the concept of a short video feature to their platform soon after Instagram called “YouTube Shorts”.
This takes me back to my college roommate who used to say, “if I see a good quality in someone/something, I copy it shamelessly”
Nothing wrong with that unless you infringe someone’s copyright, and “short video formats” can’t be someone’s copyright!
So yeah, everyone is eager to have their slice of the “popular feature” pie.
Another reason for its profound popularity might be the ease of sharability.
Here’s what I mean by that,
I cannot tell you how many times I share (and got shared) funny, entertaining, or good reels in general with my distant friends on any given day.
That’s how we keep in touch.
And I’m sure that might be the case of literally millions of people using Instagram reels.
You see something good or funny or relatable or something that you and your friend have in common, you share that reel with that person.
And they might just react or reply back with their thoughts, (if they don’t, that’s just plain rude 😤).
It is a form of communication without actually communicating (or having nothing to talk about really).
So instead of having long periods of silence, people share reels.
Enough about how reels got started, and let’s get to the money aspects:
What’s the situation about “monetization” through Reels?
If you’re familiar with YouTube monetization methods, this might sound fairly similar.
You can collaborate with brands by promoting their products in your videos, promoting your own brands (if any), merchandise, tagging your products within reels, having a link back to your store from the bio section, etc.
And recently, after much tension between creators and the platform itself and how Instagram grosses over billions of dollars every year ($47.6 Billion in FY2021) and doesn’t even pay their creators,
Instagram FINALLY announced that they are thinking of starting to pay CREATORS.
Facebook and Instagram will pay $1 billion to creators throughout 2022 as an incentive to use the platforms, Facebook (or META) CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
It sounds a little confusing (discussed later) how they’ll do it and what’s the criteria to get paid but still, something is better than nothing I guess.
Sometimes it’s not always about how can you make money with reels, but how you can leverage your audience and convert them into paying customers (more of this discussed later)
The algorithm for reels and TikTok are kinds similar, if it’s good, it’ll be pushed to a bigger audience thus you get a good number of followers quite easily.
And if you’re making good viral-worthy reels and that too consistently, you’ll soon garner a massive Instagram following, and overall your chances of getting a good payout increase.
Can REELS make you REAL money from Instagram?
or in other words,
Does Instagram pay its creators for their reels?
Yes, it does now…
For the longest time creators depended on brands to offer them paid partnership deals to promote on their profiles and Instagram didn’t really pay their creators anything.
Now as discussed earlier, Facebook and Instagram will be paying over $1 Billion to their creators for creating original content.
Each month, creators will be allowed to participate in a set of content-making challenges which build will upon one other.
For example, a creator might first earn $20 when at least five of their Reels will receive 100 views each. Post that, another challenge will be unlocked — like earning $100 when 20 Reels get over 500 views each.
This progress would continue throughout the 30-day period, and after that, it will be reset at the beginning of the next month to start a whole new set of challenges.
Only select creators have been invited into the Reels Bonus program for now because they are still testing payout formats and strategies as of now.
But the company says it’s planning to implement various incentive programs and adjust payout pricing as it learns more.
It also notes it’s begun rolling out overlay ads in Reels on Facebook where they’re testing with a wider set of creators, and they might expand to more over time.
I have a vague idea of what some of you might be thinking, “Why don’t they just pay me according to how many views my reel gets? that will be so simple!”
Well, it is anything but simple.
Paying according to reels views opens a whole set of new problems such as content theft, copyright infringement, content moderation, suitable for kids or not, music copyright issues, etc.
One might just repost other videos and garner views with that, it might contain copyright material such as music, there is no framework at the moment to prove the legitimacy of content.
This is why they are currently testing the waters with these “content challenges” as of now. So you can assume there might be simpler and more options to monetize as they evolve their techniques of monetization.
What are the different ways to make money through Instagram reels?
With Instagram, you can get paid or make money essentially through various avenues, some of which I’ve mentioned earlier:
1. Brand sponsorship:
Followers requirement: Large
Of course, you’ll be needing a good base audience to be able to get promotional offers from various brands. It kinda is a requirement.
But even if you have a small account and you have a very engaging audience, you’ll be more likely to attract attention from various brands for a paid collaboration.
In brand sponsorship, you’ll have to highlight or show the products or services that you’re promoting to your audience.
2. Affiliate marketing
In affiliate marketing, you don’t exactly own but get paid to promote it with a unique link provided to you by the company. And you get paid according to the number of sales you pull through your unique link.
You have mentioned a link for a product in your bio and told people to get it because of XYZ reasons.
If people go ahead a buy that product off of that link that you provided, all the sales will be tracked and you’ll be paid accordingly.
Here, you don’t need to wait for brands to contact you, you can simply promote products if that company has an affiliate program.
To see if a brand/company has an affiliate program simply get on google and search “[company name] affiliate program”.
3. Selling your own products/ merch:
Followers requirement: Little to large
Selling your own products can be another way you can make money off of Instagram.
You can set up your online store in Shopify or other similar platforms and can provide the shop link directly to your account bio.
And if you’re from some selected countries that provide product tagging within the post, you can directly tag products or merch in your reel videos.
Examples of stuff you can sell can be: Clothes (merch), other physical products, courses, membership to your own website/ business, clients to your existing business, etc.
4. Reels bonus program:
Followers requirement: Little to large
Although a fairly new one, still has the potential to make you thousands a month for creating original content.
But the only problem at this moment might be its unavailability to all users. Everyone cant use the Reels bonus program right now but they are planning to expand this program with time.
So keep an eye out!
Followers requirement: Large
If you already own massive accounts with a huge following, you can leverage that to make money by accepting shoutout requests from different clients.
Yes, people do pay quite a lot to get shoutouts to their own account or some products they are trying to sell.
6. Account flipping:
Followers requirement: Large
Flipping Instagram accounts with large followings too is a way to make money where you literally buy an account (hopefully with a large following ) and sell it for even a much higher price.
That’s account flipping for ya!
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How big of an audience do you need to get millions of views on your reels?
How about zero?
As shocking as it may sound, it is totally possible given you have viral-worthy content.
In the earlier Instagram days, the number of followers decided how many likes and views your post gets on the platform but now the algorithm is a little different.
As long as the engagement factors such as like, comment, share, and save are high, reels are destined to go viral. So yeah, try to make good quality engaging reels.
So that your reels can be pushed to millions of people even if you have 44 followers.
And if you don’t already know: More views = More followers
What type of content can you make? Content ideas, anyone?
This is one of the most common for content creators out there, What should I make?
Seems the most difficult one but once you get started you can figure it out yourself.
Have a hobby, like to dance, are you funny (are you really?) or are you just passionate about something? Create content around those ideas and topics.
I’m sure with time you will gather a like-minded crowd who will share that passion.
And for your own sake, pleaseeeeeee don’t waste another second thinking about what others might think of your content.
Us humans have an attention span of fewer than 6 seconds and we like to move on to the next thing in a blink.
If one video fails, you get another chance in the next video and another in the next, and so on.
Just be consistent with quality content and you’ll be REELing in a good income and follower base in no time.