Making Money with Instagram – is that possible?

​Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom first released the Instagram application on the App Store in 2010. The idea was to present something similar to the previously popular Polaroid photos for online use, photographs taken by mobile phone or smartphone and immediately visible on the net.

Although the world wide web itself is only about 25 years old, Instagram is still a very young social media. However, the application has shown amazing growth during the seven years since its inception. More than one million users registered in the year of the launch.

Today there are more than 600 million people and businesses using Instagram. Around 40,000 pictures and videos are uploaded every minute.

But how can you make money with a smartphone app like Instagram?

How to survive in the flood of images and become an Instagram star yourself? Your most pertinent questions will be answered in this article.

making money with instagram

making money with instagram

Why use Instagram to make money?

That’s a perfectly legitimate question – why should you use Instagram to earn money. After all, there are other photo portals such as Flickr, Fotocommunity or 500px. The answer is quite simple. Instagram is uncomplicated compared to its competitors.​

This is evident in the fact that the former top dog Flickr has long since been overtaken by Instagram in user numbers and the number of uploaded photos and videos. Instagram users no longer depend on the mobile phone as a source of images.

With a corresponding add-on, such as User Agent Overrider for Firefox, pictures may also be uploaded directly from the PC. Besides modern digital cameras now often have built-in Wi-Fi and thus upload functionality like a smartphone.

When talking about earning money with Instagram one should not forget who owns the photo portal since 2012. Back then Facebook paid $ 1 billion for the service.

An absolute record in this segment. Of course, there are synergies between the world's largest social media platform and the world's largest photo platform.

How much profit does Instagram generate?

The creators of Facebook around CEO Mark Zuckerberg probably estimated the potential of Instagram correctly.

After all, the photo portal already realizes sales of 1.5 billion dollars 5 years after the acquisition, accounting for about 8% of the total sales of the Facebook group on Instagram. Prospects for Instagram are looking rosy indeed.

Experts predict that the share of total sales will increase to almost 20% by the end of 2018.

And how do they do that?

Facebook, as the parent company, uses the mobile advertising business, which it has built up significantly over the past few years, and launched it on Instagram in April 2015.

As far as advertising technology goes, this is the number one marketing tool on the web because the number of users who go online almost exclusively with a smartphone is growing rapidly.

Instagram in turn is ideal for this type of advertising. Brand messages are best presented visually, just with corresponding images. Already 49% of all leading brands in the world use Instagram as an advertising medium.

A good 50% of all Instagram users follow one of these brands. More than 500,000 companies advertise on Instagram. About 5% of all Instagram users visit the companies on their websites because of this marketing.

Assuming that half of all Instagram subscribers are logged on to the service daily, which means around 300 million users, this results in approximately 15 million purchase intentions per day due to Instagram product placement​

 Given these figures, it also explains why some photographers on Instagram make good money with their pictures. But how does that work, making money with Instagram?

How many followers are needed to start earning with Instagram?

The headline reveals a bit about how making money on Instagramm works. Those who want to get into the business right on the photo platform needs followers – the more, the better.

As the number of people subscribing to your Instagram channel grows, so does the interest of business to collaborate with you will increase.

In real numbers, from about 1000 followers upward you’ll have the opportunity to place advertising and earn money. But there is not much in it yet.

It gets really interesting from 5000 to 10.000 followers.

When you enter into a cooperation with a company, this cooperation usually requires you, as a photographer, to place and publish a product or the brand name in one of your photographs. You’ll get paid for that. The more followers, the higher the revenue.

For every 1000 followers, the amount is between 5 to 10 ​dollars. With assumed 30,000 followers, that's 150 to 300 dollars per picture. 

How much is paid exactly for a product placement depends on other factors, such as the likes and comments on a picture. Depending on the topic, companies or agencies will approach you from a certain number of followers requesting a cooperation. You may also search for advertising partners actively.

Making money with Instagram likes

​Likes, comments and the number of followers of a photograph make up the so-called engagement rate, roughly describing the general interest in your pictures.

The engagement rate is calculated as follows:

Likes and comments are added and the sum is divided by the number of followers.

Example:

2500 / 15000 = 0.16. A very good engagement rate is around 1%.

Admittedly celebrities who post their pictures on Instagram naturally have it very easy.

The current top list on Instagram sees 6 stars of the music and video scene in the highest positions:

  1. Selena Gomez, over 134 million followers
  2. Christiano Ronaldo, over 121 million follwers
  3. Ariana Grande, over 118 million followers
  4. Beyoncé, over 112 million followers
  5. Kim Kardashian, over 108 million followers
  6. Taylor Swift, over 106 million followers

​By the way, Selena Gomez can and does demand a whopping $ 550,000 for her picture on Instagram from her affiliates.

If you do not have the appropriate pre-prominence, you have to work on your followers. As the number of subscribers increases, it will be easier, same as finding Instagram sponsors who support the work.

Sponsoring usually consists of products you’ll receive, to depict on one of your photos and place on Instagram, possibly with a hashtag or a comment provided.

By the way, the netiquette states that sponsored or general publicity photos are marked accordingly.

The products are at the same time payment or sponsoring. Again, this becomes interesting for companies from about 10,000 followers upward.

However, there are niches where sponsorship is possible even with significantly fewer followers.

What‘s crucial to make money with Instagram?

Just like in YouTube, the English language market for Instagram is much larger than that for Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

There is no recipe for success for pictures on Instagram. Of course fascinating motifs, high image quality and certain niches are good prerequisites for success on Instagram.

Like anywhere else patience and adherence to the chosen strategy are among the virtues that do not necessarily guarantee success on Instagram, but make it more likely.

Finding a really unique selling point on a platform with 600 million users is virtually hopeless.

So there’s only successful self-marketing - images must be given a personal touch that allows them to be identified, assigned, just as a famous painter is recognizable by his style of painting.

Is Affiliate Marketing possible on Instagram?

Actually, the otherwise popular affiliate marketing is not possible on Instagram, because no direct links are allowed in the comments to the images.

But it can be done regardless. In order to integrate affiliate programs, you have to register with special providers, like Like2Buy or Like2Know.it. T

Here you deposit the affiliate links to the respective photo and in return receive a link, which in turn tie can be tied into the description of the photo.

Although this is not clickable, followers who are also registered with the services receive an email with the affiliate links if they like the photo.

Certainly a bit cumbersome and basically more suitable for expanding your own network, but that is just as useful.

Instagram & Co – networking matters!

Successful Instagram influencers or multiplicators need a network. Of course it is up to Instagram to link the account there with their own Facebook account. Twitter should not be missing, too.

Conclusion – making money on Instagram

Everything started with pictures, at least as far as social development of man is concerned. One of the oldest cave paintings in the world shows animals, people and landscapes.

The artist or artists accomplished their work about 30,000 years ago. Not much has changed in the choice of subject. The motivation driving people at that time remains a mystery.

But it can be assumed that they did not do it for themselves, but for their family or their tribe, and that the pictures were just like today to be viewed and admired by others.

Here, too, nothing has changed. Undoubtedly Instagram is a wonderful tool for presenting your own pictures to a broad public.

Sure, there is the occasional lucky hit when taking pictures. However, those who continuously produce beautiful and fascinating pictures, sometimes puts a lot of work into the motif search, photography and post-processing.

Such expense of diligence and talent should pay off.

Instagram offers both: many viewers for their own works as well as the opportunity to make it a worthwhile side or main income.

#MakingMoney with #Instagram – is that possible? Your most pertinent questions will be answered in this article.

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