What the Pause of Instagram Reels Bonuses Means for Creators
Updated March 14, 2023
In a recent move, Meta (formerly Facebook) has announced that it is pausing its program to pay bonuses to creators for making Reels and hitting specific benchmarks. The program, which was introduced in 2021, incentivized content makers to generate more short video content. However, the shutdown will impact all Reels creators on Facebook and U.S.-based creators on Instagram, as the Instagram program was only available for creators based in the U.S.
According to a report by Business Insider, the discontinuation of the program indicates that platforms are looking to pull back from paying creators based on the popularity of their short videos. However, Meta will still respect any commitment for bonuses for 30 days. The company has said that it might reintroduce the program in “targeted” ways if Reels enter a new market. This is a bit strange to hear, given that the short video product is already available in more than 150 countries.
On ShanaDigital.com in the article about 3 Things Black Creatives Can Still Learn from Nipsey Hussle we discussed using social media as a leveraging tool and not a database as one of the key components to build a stable brand. When creatives make a decision to put themselves in the public eye, there is a learning curve of what bells, whistles, and techniques to apply to a new marketing strategy. Social media is so layered and robust with ways to make a person think they need to solely depend on social media more than their own database and tools. However, with this change it is crystal clear, that platforms can shift their priorities quickly leaving creators in a vulnerable position. When they make these decisions, no one thinks of the creator that left their full time job to really support the tools implemented on Instagram, Meta or the like.
Creators got healthy bonuses under this program, with multiple creators receiving more than $10,000 in bonuses, and some claiming to get even $35,000 in a month. However, these creators had to garner millions of views on their Reels, and Meta was happy to distribute money to make the format more popular.
Given that short video is one of the most popular formats on social media today, Meta is probably trying to bank ad money. Last year, it expanded its overlay ads experiment to creators in more than 50 countries in addition to displaying in-stream ads. For both these ad formats, the company shares 55% of the revenue with the creators.
Last year, Mark Zuckerberg said that Reels have reached a $1 billion annual revenue rate. However, the company would hope that the format brings more money while it burns cash on the metaverse efforts.
On the investor call for Meta’s Q4 2022 results, Zuckerberg expressed that Reels is not making enough money yet. The discontinuation of the program may be an indication that the company is trying to cut costs and find more profitable ways to monetize its short video format.
Lastly, the discontinuation of the Reels bonuses program by Meta is a significant development in the social media industry. It remains to be seen if the program will be reintroduced in the future, and in what form. At Shanadigital.com, we highly recommend that Creatives, create their own website and implement monitoring tools, with a robust SEO strategy to control the data about their followers, and subscribers. If you aren’t so much worried about the compensation and need more exposure check out this linked article about why facebook reels are the best alternative to Instagram reels and what this means for your exposure or marketing strategy.
Nonetheless, it is clear that the company is looking for more effective ways to monetize its short video format, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the months and years to come.
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Shana Digital writes about entrepreneurship, the digital divide , people of color in tech, creativity, GEN Z, personal development, and more. You may see a quote from your favorite song in some of her articles as she is a true fan of hip hop culture.