How Does Instagram Make Money

Instagram, which debuted in 2010, revolutionized the internet photography industry by normalizing image and video sharing on social media.
In April 2012, Facebook purchased the company for approximately $1 billion in cash and equity. Unlike its past acquisitions, however, Facebook intended to establish and grow Instagram independently as a separate platform aimed at Generation Z.
Having said that, Instagram’s income model remains linked to Facebook’s, and practically all of the money is earned through adverts. But before we get into how Instagram makes money, it’s vital to understand Instagram’s business model, target demographic, and business strategy.

What Is Instagram?

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger started Instagram in San Francisco in 2010, and it was acquired by Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB), formerly known as Facebook, in 2012. Users can upload, share, and interact with photo and video material from users all around the world through the app.

Users and businesses can follow others and ‘like’ or share their material on Instagram through their Feeds, Stories, Reels, IGTV, Live, Shops, and chat. Instagram is available in 32 languages and has approximately one billion monthly active users, with India and the United States being the most popular. Instagram has a global user base, with 89% of users residing outside the United States. While just 32% of its members are between the ages of 25 and 32, more than two-thirds are under the age of 34, making the site primarily focused on young people, a group many marketers aggressively target.

Who Owns Instagram?

Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, purchased Instagram in 2012. Meta Platforms is a publicly traded business that trades on the NASDAQ under the symbol FB.
The platform includes a variety of subsidiaries and consumer-facing businesses in addition to Facebook, including Facebook Holdings, Facebook Payments, Facebook Technologies, Oculus, and WhatsApp.

Meta Platforms reported total revenue of $85.96 billion in 2020, an increase from $70.69 billion in 2019. This reflects a 21% increase in total revenue year over year. Instagram brought in $24 billion of Meta’s revenue in 2020, accounting for 36.9% of Meta’s total revenue for that year.
Instagram has various advantages that are worth their weight in gold for advertisers:

  • It appeals to a younger demographic. Instagram is used by around 85% of teenagers, and 31% say it is their favorite app.
  • Its users interact using links. About 130 million consumers clicked on a commercial link to learn about a product.
  • Its users actively seek out advertising. Approximately 90% of shopping aficionados follow a company, and 50% are more interested in a brand after seeing an advertisement for the product or service.

Facebook and Instagram

In 2019, advertising accounted for more than 98% of all Facebook revenue. For the entire year, it earned $69.7 billion in advertising fees, with Instagram accounting for a sizable chunk of this total. Although separate numbers are not available, analyst research suggests that Instagram’s advertising growth outpaces its parent’s.

According to Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report, advertising spending on Instagram increased 177% in the year ending in the second quarter of 2018, compared to only 40% growth on Facebook over the same period.

Instagram Ad Impressions

Furthermore, impressions for Instagram increased by 209% year on year in the same quarter, compared to a negative 17% increase for Facebook.

When a site visitor views a page that contains an advertisement, an ad impression is recorded. Ad impressions are essential in Internet marketing, but ad clicks are even more critical. A click on an advertisement is a favorable user response that directs them to the website of the promoted goods.
Ad impressions are thought to be a good predictor of ad hits. The more individuals view the advertisement, the more hits it is likely to receive.

How Does Instagram Make Money?

Instagram makes money primarily from advertising. However, they have a variety of advertising revenue streams. Unfortunately, they do not reveal the percentage of their revenue generated by various advertisements to the general public.

#1. Image Ads

Marketers pay Instagram to advertise with image advertisements. These advertisements display in a user’s feed and may contain a link to the company’s website or Instagram page. These advertisements can be highly targeted. Picture advertising, for example, may promote dog toys to someone who constantly shares photographs of their pet on social media.

#2. Story Advertisements

Instagram users can share and watch the stories of individuals they follow. Instagram distributes adverts to companies in between user-shared stories. These adverts, like stories, can be a photo, a carousel of photos, or a video. Brands can use story advertising to direct customers to their company’s website, where they can purchase things. A narrative advertisement may promote a children’s toy shown to a parent who uses Instagram to share images of their children.

#3. Video advertisements

Businesses can also advertise to Instagram users with video adverts. Video advertising, like photo ads, appears in a user’s feed, but because they are videos, Instagram costs marketers extra. These advertisements provide a link to the company’s Instagram page or website. Video advertising is more appealing to advertisers and more expensive since they are more likely to capture a customer’s attention and explain the value proposition of their items. A video advertisement might demonstrate how a device can save clients time in the kitchen.

Instagram advertisers can also employ carousel advertising. Like video and photo ads, carousel advertising appear in a user’s feed, but the viewer can swipe to see additional photos or videos. These advertisements also link to a company’s website or Instagram page. Carousel advertising is ideal for businesses with the diverse product offering. A clothing firm that wishes to present viewers with several different style alternatives is an example of a company that might employ carousel ads.

#5. Shopping Marketplace

Instagram features a ‘Shop’ section for users who want to find new things. Users can look for items in the ‘Shop’ section by category or shop. The app suggests things based on their Instagram usage and purchasing habits and even suggests products that complement the product they are looking at. Businesses pay Instagram to have their shops and items included in the Shop section. Women’s clothes, men’s clothing, beauty, home, kid’s products, garden, and outdoor, jewelry and watches, and sporting goods are among the shop categories on Instagram.

#6. Branded Content Advertisements

Instagram allows advertisers to partner with Instagram producers through branded content adverts. They assist businesses in finding new collaborators by displaying creators with a similar audience or who have already connected with their brand’s page. Companies can use branded content advertising to boost their content once a partnership is established.

#7. Checkout on Instagram

Instagram now allows businesses to sell things directly on Instagram using a service called Checkout on Instagram, which is now only available to US businesses. Instagram generates money by charging transaction fees on these sales. They usually charge 5% per shipment or a fixed cost of $0.40 for shipments under $8.00.

Read Also: How To Buy Real Instagram Followers  In The UK

Instagram Business Model

Instagram’s business model is distinct and ever-changing. The business strategy has remained consistent since its launch in 2010 – a free image-sharing smartphone application – but the way it employs its algorithm to monetize users’ attention has evolved over time.
Instagram, like Facebook, needs users to create a profile to connect with others. Once logged in, the user can access services such as photo and video uploading, photo and video filters, followers, geotagging, self-disappearing tales, live stories, IGTV, and so on.

According to eMarketer, Instagram users spend an average of 26 minutes daily using the app.
And 91% of them use Instagram to keep up with at least one of their hobbies.
As a result, the platform is ideal for firms to advertise and sell their products, which is how Instagram generates money.

Is Instagram free?

Instagram is, indeed, free. You do not need to spend anything to install Instagram or use any of its features. Instagram’s popularity stems partly from the fact that it is free to use. Instagram generates revenue in various ways because it is free to use. We’ll go into more detail about this later.
You might be wondering what you can do for free on Instagram. Let’s go through all of the free services that Instagram provides to its users.

What Can You Do For Free on Instagram?

  • Install the Instagram app on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Create an Instagram account.
  • Follow other Instagram users like relatives, friends, and celebrities you admire.
  • Take, upload, and edit photos/videos before posting them to your Instagram account.
  • Like or comment on the photographs and videos of other users.

Instagram’s Prospects

Instagram is a perfect illustration of how social shopping is on the increase. Facebook recognizes the grim future of traditional advertising and has wisely created new commercial and shopping options within the Instagram app, which has a bright future because it is setting the way for future discovery and purchasing experiences.

The debut of IGTV and marketing it as online TV is an excellent tactic for engaging consumers while making money from user-contributed content.
Instagram has also given birth to the influencer movement, which has created a network effect competitive advantage for the platform that will be difficult to overcome by any business, be it Google or Snapchat.

How You Can Make Money On Instagram.

If you’re wondering how many followers you’ll need to gain via Instagram, the precise answer isn’t that many. A longer answer, on the other hand, is dependent on various things, including

  • the niche you are in and
  • how easily you can immediately tie that to a particular product category, such as food, fitness, fashion, or beauty. All of these are accompanied by well-known hashtags.
  • How engaged are your present followers?
  • The revenue streams you wish to indulge in.

While many well-known Instagrammers earn thousands of dollars for each of their social posts, even individuals with smaller but more engaged followings can start generating money on Instagram.
Once you’ve determined your specialty, possible items, and follower engagement, the most frequent way to monetize Instagram is to collaborate with other firms on sponsored posts.
You can also design your own product line and sell it to your fans. And, no, you do not need to be verified on Instagram to begin earning money.


Like many other famous brands in social media, Instagram began as a fun notion with no apparent road to profit. Like its parent firm, Facebook, advertising has become the cornerstone of its revenue. It is a natural venue for branded advertising because it is primarily a photo-sharing app. Many well-known brands with instantly recognizable graphics, such as Nike, have enthusiastically embraced the platform.

The company also tries to keep up with industry trends and has been accused of stealing features from its rival Snapchat on occasion (SNAP). In 2016, Instagram introduced Instagram Stories and disappearing photographs and videos for groups on Instagram Direct, a feature that appears to be similar to Snapchat’s My Story.

Instagram also benefits from being one of the first and most successful mobile-first social media apps. As computing moves away from the desktop for all demographics, but especially for millennials dubbed “digital natives,” being first in the mobile area pays off handsomely. Instagram is well-positioned to become the dominating advertising platform in the twenty-first century.


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