Instagram is today introducing a new way for creators to make money. The company is now rolling out badges in Instagram Live to an initial group of over 50,000 creators, who will be able to offer their fans the ability to purchase badges during their live videos to stand out in the comments and show their support.
The idea to monetize using fan badges is not unique to Instagram. Other live streaming platforms, including Twitch and YouTube, have similar systems. Facebook Live also allows fans to purchase stars on live videos, as a virtual tipping mechanism.
Instagram users will see three options to purchase a badge during live videos: badges that cost $0.99, $1.99, or $4.99.
On Instagram Live, badges will not only call attention to the fans’ comments, they also unlock special features, Instagram says. This includes a placement on a creator’s list of badge holders and access to a special heart badge.
The badges and list make it easier for creators to quickly see which fans are supporting their efforts, and give them a shout-out, if desired.
To kick off the roll out of badges, Instagram says it will also temporarily match creator earnings from badge purchases during live videos, starting in November. Creators @ronnebrown and @youngezee are among those who are testing badges.
The company says it’s not taking a revenue share at launch, but as it expands its test of badges it will explore revenue share in the future.
“Creators push culture forward. Many of them dedicate their life to this, and it’s so important to us that they have easy ways to make money from their content,” said Instagram COO Justin Osofsky, in a statement. “These are additional steps in our work to make Instagram the single best place for creators to tell their story, grow their audience, and make a living,” she added.
Additionally, Instagram today is expanding access to its IGTV ads test to more creators. This program, introduced this spring, allows creators to earn money by including ads alongside their videos. Today, creators keep at least 55% of that revenue, Instagram says.
The introduction of badges and IGTV ads were previously announced, with Instagram saying it would test the former with a small group of creators earlier this year.
The changes follow what’s been a period of rapid growth on Instagram’s live video platform, as creators and fans sheltered at home during the coronavirus pandemic, which had cancelled live events, large meetups, concerts, and more.
During the pandemic’s start, for example, Instagram said Live creators saw a 70% increase in video views from Feb. to March, 2020. In Q2, Facebook also reported monthly active user growth (from 2.99B to 3.14B in Q1) that it said reflected increased engagement from consumers who were spending more time at home.