Facebook-owned photo and video sharing app Instagram is building new features starting with a marketplace for content creators to earn money from recommending products on the app and to help brands connect with influencers.
Last day, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram head Adam Mosseri, said the social media network will launch “creator shops” in line with the current eCommerce push.
The announcements are part of Facebook’s effort to serve the ‘creator economy,’ in which social media influencers, journalists and others are earning money directly from their followers on platforms, including Clubhouse, Patreon, Substack, and YouTube.
Mr. Zuckerberg further said that Facebook will build an affiliate program that will let creators earn a portion of sales from the products they recommend. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to say how much creators will earn or the timeline to roll out the features.
The new marketplace to connect creators with brands will help more users with mid-sized followings earn money, Mr. Mosseri said. A growing concern in the creator economy is income disparity, where top influencers often make outsized earnings, but smaller creators can struggle to make a living.
However, Instagram hasn’t yet released further details on how the marketplace will work. It’s part of a suite of new initiatives to try to help creators make money on the platform, as more people have turned to the app as an alternative to in-person entertainment and business during the pandemic.
“Branded content is the economic engine behind the creator ecosystem. If we can help with matchmaking, we can help drive more dollars to the smaller creators who can do amazing work for brands,” Mr. Mosseri said.
The announcements are also part of the efforts to catch up with the popular short-form video app TikTok, which has tested eCommerce features like live-streamed shopping. Last year, Instagram launched a direct competitor to TikTok, called Reels.
Earlier, Facebook said it would let creators earn ad revenue from videos as short as one minute, and expand its ‘Stars’ virtual currency, which people can give out as a form of tipping to their favorite content creators.