Instagram is working on creator shops and a 'branded content marketplace' for influencers

Mark Zuckerberg said Instagram needs a bigger 'creator middle class.'

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Instagram is going all-in on creators. The company is working on a suite of new tools to help influencers make money off its platform, including creator shops, affiliate commerce and a “branded content marketplace.” Mark Zuckerberg announced the upcoming features during a live stream with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri.

Creator Shops would be an extension of the company’s existing shopping features, which allows businesses to sell products. “We see a lot of creators setting up shops too, and one part of being a content creator business model is you create great content, and then you can sell stuff, and so having creator shops is awesome,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg also said the company is working on tools that would enable Instagram stars to get paid for promoting products. Creators, Zuckerberg said, “should be able to get a cut of the sales of things that they're recommending and we should build up an affiliate recommendation marketplace to enable that to all happen.”

Finally, Instagram is working on a “branded content marketplace” that would help match influencers with sponsors. Zuckerberg noted that such a tool could help enable up and coming talent to monetize and help create a kind of “creator middle class.” He didn’t disclose how these deals might be structured but said the plan is to offer “very favorable terms” to creators. “We're not building this from the perspective of us trying to make a lot of money.”

The new tools are still in the works, but could dramatically shift the way influencers monetize their following on the platform. Many of Instagram's top stars already run online shops and form partnerships with brands. But for now, those deals largely happen off-platform so it can be difficult for less well-known personalities to make money. Bringing these kinds of tools into Instagram could make it easier to land deals. But it would also give Instagram more control over its creator ecosystem, and incentivize influencers to spend more time on Instagram than other platforms.