Instagram to share IGTV ad revenue with creators

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Instagram will start paying its IGTV creators.
Image: Instagram

To say that Instagram’s IGTV experiment has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. The long-form video platform built into Instagram has had its share of ups and downs. For a while, it seemed like it wouldn’t really catch on. While that struggle continues, Instagram is now ready to try a new tactic to lure creators to IGTV.

For the first time ever, Instagram is sharing ad revenue with its creators. The program will start next week with a small group of 200 partners and expand from there.

Sharing is Caring

Instagram has been hinting for more than a year that ads would come for IGTV. It’s also mentioned that the platform is the first place it will pay creators. That time has finally come.

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Beginning next week, Instagram will start showing ads on the IGTV pages of around 200 English-speaking creators. They include the likes of Adam Waheed and Lele Pons. Users can expect to see ads from partners like Ikea, Puma, and Sephora.

Instagram COO Justin Osofsky says that the company will share an “industry standard” 55 percent of ad revenue with creators. That’s the same amount that Facebook Watch creators get. Ultimately, the goal is expand the trial group to bring in more creators from around the world. In the long run, this could help Instagram attract new creators to the IGTV platform since they won’t have to make content without a financial incentive.

The initial round of ads will reportedly only appear when users click to watch an IGTV video after seeing a preview in their feed. Ads will be vertical videos that are 15 seconds long. Interestingly, users won’t be able to swipe up on an ad (like they normally can in an Instagram story). Rather, they’ll need to tap through for content.

Throughout the remainder of the year, the Instagram team will test different types of ads and may add other features to the experience.

Ready to Compete

In a sense, IGTV is a natural competitor to YouTube. While it certainly has a smaller following and fewer creators, the idea is essentially the same. With that being said, Instagram needs a way to compete with YouTube’s revenue sharing model.

The new ad program is its starting place.

To start convincing advertisers to spend their marketing budget on Instagram rather than YouTube, the rollout needs to be seamless. That’s why the company is human-reviewing every IGTV video before it is accepted for monetization. Obviously, that strategy isn’t feasible in the long run. Eventually, Instagram plans to use a combined human and software review process. For now, though, getting things right is paramount.

Ad revenue isn’t the only way Instagram is looking to pay creators. It’s also rolling out updates to its Brand Collabs Manager and a new feature called Live Shopping, which allows people to tag brands in their live videos.

It will be interesting to see how these approaches play out in the coming months and whether or not they will bolster IGTV’s status.

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