Instagram is testing new tools to make it easier for creators to earn money through its service. The app is now testing affiliate shops, a feature it first previewed at its Creator Week event in June, and a dedicated “partnerships” inbox.
Affiliate shops are an extension of Facebook’s existing shopping features, which are already widely available. But the latest version of the storefronts allow creators to link to products that are already part of their affiliate arrangements. Creators will earn commission fees when their followers buy products from these shops (though the exact terms of these arrangements haven’t been detailed). The company says that for now the shopping feature will only be available to creators who are part of that affiliate program.
Instagram is also testing new inbox features it says will make it easier for brands to connect with creators for sponsorships. Instagram DMs will get a dedicated “partnerships” section just for messages from brands. The company says this will give those messages “priority placement” and will allow them to skip the “requests” section where incoming messages are often lost.
Separately, the app is working on tools to match brands with creators looking for sponsorships. With the tools, creators can identify brands they are interested in working with directly from the app. While brands would be able to browse creators who fit their needs based on factors like age, gender and follower count.
The tools are still in an early stage, with only a handful of companies and creators participating for now. But the company has previously signaled such features could expand significantly. Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year that Instagram is planning a “branded content marketplace” to help enable a bigger “creator middle class.”