When Instagram first rolled out its Reels Bonus program, it was an excellent opportunity for creators to earn extra money by simply posting their content. Given that most musicians have stockpiles of music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, and other visual materials, this tool proved to be a goldmine. However, many IG creators have called out the company in recent weeks for paying much less in Reels money than before.
At the time of its launch, Instagram said that the bonus program would pay $1 billion to creators through 2022. It is unclear if the platform has reached that limit, but many people who rely on this income stream say that the company changed the payout system without explanation. According to the Financial Times, one creator's personalized criteria for earning up to $35,000 has increased from 58 million to 359 million views. While most creators who share Reels do not make this much, the issue remains the same. In order to be rewarded, users must obtain more views.
Instagram has maintained that while the program is in its testing phase, the payments will fluctuate. However, many users are not buying these excuses.
What Does This Mean for Artists?
The obvious decline in payments is a financial hit for musicians. Posting Reels has proven to be a profitable income stream in recent months, with even the smallest artists bringing in a few extra hundred dollars per month. Though the opportunity to make money is still there, it is clearly much harder than in its initial stages.
Instagram Making It Harder On Purpose?
Creators should also be aware that Instagram rolled out a new set of guidelines last week that may be the answer to the pay decrease. The platform is cracking down on users who share TikTok videos as Reels. In the past, artists and other creators have used TikTok clips for their Reels as a way of cross-posting. The method would save time by using duplicate footage on both platforms. However, IG is no longer interested in retired content and warned users that any clips coming from other platforms would cause the user to be de-ranked, which could slice Reel engagement. In other words, sharing TikTok clips will no longer get you paid.
What Can Artists Do?
Artists wanting to continue posting Reels should make sure they are as original as possible. Yes, it is double work to record separate videos for each platform, but to continue getting paid, this is essential. Artists should also be exploring bonus programs on other platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok, which have unveiled their own payout initiatives.
As you know by now, Viral Media Boost is here to get you paid. In the past, we have praised the Reels Bonus program, but these latest developments may spell out the end for the once prosperous measure. One theory is that IG only foresaw major influencers participating in the program and was overwhelmed by the influx of smaller creatives cashing in. No matter the reason, this sudden change is worth keeping an eye on.
Check out this video about the ever-changing Instagram algorithm and how this may be affecting your Reels.