Instagram is taking down the velvet rope for creators who want to make money during Lives. Sort of.
In October 2020, Instagram debuted its monetary props feature, called “Badges.” For creators who had access, during live broadcasts, their fans could purchase badges for between $0.99 and $4.99. Buying a badge meant the person would get a heart next to their name in the comments field of a Live, their questions would be featured higher, and their names would be on a list that the creator could see. Basically, it was a way for super fans to both show their love and get some access — and for creators to make money.
Only influencers and creators Instagram had hand-picked could enable badges, until now. On Tuesday, Instagram announced that all eligible creators can apply to turn on the feature.
What does eligibility mean? You’ll have to be over the age of 18, live in the U.S., and have more than 10,000 followers. You’ll also have to have a Creator or Business account, and “Pass and remain compliant with [Instagram’s] Partner Monetization Policies, Content Monetization Policies and Community Guidelines.”
If you check all those boxes, you might already have monetization enabled. If that’s the case, in the “Professional Dashboard” portion of “Settings,” you should see a button labelled “Set Up Badges.” Ta-da! If there’s no button, and you haven’t monetized before, there will be a field to “Apply for monetization.”
Badges is one example of Facebook — excuse me, Meta — trying to keep paying creators within the Meta ecosystem (in this case, within Instagram). Previously, creators might direct fans to Patreon or just to Venmo, for tips. Other platforms, like YouTube, TikTok, and OnlyFans, also have tipping functionality. Despite the fact that Meta won’t start taking a cut of Badges purchases until “at least” 2023, the higher the walls of its garden that Instagram can erect, the better for Meta’s bottom line. Still, more ways for creators to earn money is a good thing. But as massive outages and wild policy changes have shown, just make sure to choose your platforms carefully, folks.