Instagram’s new functions: Live Badges and Subscriptions

27 January 2022

One of the main challenges that Instagram has to face in 2022 is how to improve how creators make money on the app. Those who use the platform as a source of income cannot rely anymore only on advertisements and content sponsored by brands. As a matter of fact, most of them often use their profiles to advertise their own products or as affiliated marketers for other people’s products.

Instagram Live Badges

Among the solutions proposed by Instagram, to overcome this issue, there is the so-called Instagram Live Badges, monetary tips that viewers can pay during IG Live broadcasts. This concept is already very popular on other social networks, like Twitch and TikTok, where followers are used to “tip” a broadcaster during a live stream. This earning method was available only for creators in the US, but in the last weeks also creators from the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, Brazil, Japan and Mexico can use it. 

Any of their followers can purchase these badges on three different levels: 

  • $0.99 (one heart)
  • $1.99 (two hearts)
  • $4.99 (three hearts)

This way, followers can help their favourite creators in terms of finance, that, on their part, will be able to notice and thank them more easily, due to the heart icon next to their usernames. 

There are some rules creators have to follow to access this feature: they must be at least 18 years old, they must have a creator or business account with more than 10k followers, and they must comply with Instagram Monetization Policies and Community Guidelines.

This feature is an additional effort by the social media platform to give more energy and enthusiasm to creators, encouraging them to post good content regularly.

Instagram Subscriptions

The second solution proposed by Instagram is the chance to use IG Subscriptions, just launched in the US where it is being tested. By charging subscribers a variable monthly amount between $0.99 and $99.99, creators will be able to grow their income while giving them access to premium content and benefits – subscribers-only lives, subscribers-only stories, subscribers badges.

Zuckerberg stated in a post “This will help creators earn more by offering benefits to their most engaged followers like access to exclusive Lives and Stories. I’m excited to keep building tools for creators to make a living doing creative work and to put these tools in more creators’ hands soon.”

The challenge for creators will be in making an editorial plan able of satisfying both subscribers, to keep the funding, and the non-subscribers to avoid losing the regular audience. This issue implies that creators will spend a lot of time creating ad-hoc content for their subscribers, thus the question is if the trade-off between the money gained from subscriptions and the time spent on premium content is positive or not.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, explained the basic elements of Instagram Subscriptions in a short video on his profile. 

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