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YouTube or Instagram to Make Money

Committing to establishing a strong social media presence can feel really intimidating... the good news is that you don't have to go all in right away. A great way to ease into working up an online following is by picking just one platform to focus on before diving into all the major social media sites. But we know that just making that initial decision can be tricky in itself. Read our blog to see if either YouTube or Instagram is your ideal social media jumping off point!

youtube or instagram to make money

1) YouTube Pays Through Ads, Instagram Pays Through Sponsors

For YouTube, the easiest, most common way to make money is to enable ad monetization on your videos. From there, YouTube will automatically select ads to run before your videos. Payout depends on how many ads are actually viewed. Meanwhile, Instagram's monetization features are a bit different. Instead, creators must rely on sponsored posts. This is when a brand pays a creator to post a specific photo or video that features their brand. This can generate more income than YouTube, but it requires more work. Participating content creators have to seek out potential partnerships and pitch themselves to those other brands. On top of that, in order to be appealing to sponsors, creators need to keep a high follower count and engagement rates.

2) The Average YouTube Video Makes $3-$5 Per 1,000 Views

In theory, if you're looking through monetization features on YouTube itself, the platform will tell you that you're getting about $0.12 for every view ($120 for for every 1,000 views). But... when was the last time you sat through an entire ad on YouTube? Probably only when you're not allowed to skip them, right? Well, YouTubers don't get money for the ads we skip, and they're certainly not seeing any revenue from viewers who use ad blockers. AdSense also works differently across different countries--which countries viewers are from affects payout, as well. All-in-all, instead of the $0.12/view figure provided by the platform, YouTube payout is closer to $0.003-0.005/view--that's only $3-5 per 1,000 views. Click here to check out our blog post from 4/27 on How YouTube Pays.

3) The Average Sponsored Instagram Post Makes $10 per 1k Followers

It can potentially be easier to start making money from Instagram as opposed to YouTube. Where YouTube requires you to hit 1,000 subscribers before offering monetization, Instagram sponsorship (technically) requires no follower or engagement minimum--you just need a sponsor to be interested in you. The rule of thumb is to charge $10/post/1,000 followers, but this is something that you have to negotiate with your paid partnership(s). To get those partnerships, you have to invest your time pitching your company and marketing your brand to much bigger businesses. This can be intensive, but it's definitely doable. Do your research on what kind of partnerships are possible based on your brand. Keep your pitches short and sweet and remember that just starting out is the trickiest part. Instagram also has an invite-only monetization program called "Reels Play Bonus." As you may have guessed, this program focuses on Reel video posts (check out our blog post on Reels, if you're not familiar). We, however, do not recommend pursing this monetization route. The rules are really convoluted and change from creator to creator.


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