Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on March 13, 2023.
In March 2023, Meta announced they will be pausing Reels Bonuses in the USA. We hope this feature will return soon!
In recent editions of This Week in Blogging, we've been reporting about how social media networks are rolling out new programs where content creators can get paid. Yes, cash money from some of the world's biggest tech giants!
Meta's big push into paying out creators is not necessarily altruistic, as their payment setup is purely to promote their Reels function on Instagram and Facebook (which, as we all know, is essentially their own TikTok).
After taking part in the Reels Bonus campaign on Instagram for the last few months, we noticed some things were a bit unusual with the payment structure. We would hit $100 payouts pretty quickly, and then only make pennies per share after that.
So we started tracking the data, and in this one wanted to share a bit more about the Reels Bonus campaign outright and why the earning figures are rather unusual.
Who Qualifies for Instagram Reels Bonuses?
While the terms seem to change regularly, the Bonus program for Instagram Reels seems limited to US-based creators at this time. (If you're non-US based and have access to this, please message us!)
From there, it looks like there are two different ways to access the Reels Bonus program.
First, and easiest, is simply having 1,000 Reels views over the last 30 days. If you meet this requirement, you may get a push notification from Instagram to start creating with a Bonus added. (Some sources suggest you need 10,000 followers as well, but this is questionable. Personally, all my accounts that have access to this are over 10,000 followers, but this is obviously a limited sampling.)
Second, and far harder to access, is a second program for those with 10,000 followers, five+ Reels videos, and 600,000+ minutes of viewing in 60 days to place ads on top of your Reels. These seem few and far between from a user side, so it is unlikely that most creators hit that 600,000-minute viewing target.
What Are The Payout Opportunities in Instagram Reels?
Ignoring the second tier mentioned above, it appears the lower threshold has two tiers of Instagram Reels bonuses as of July 2022.
The first level tier (and the one I get offered regularly) is $1,200 for 11.02MM views in 30 days. Those who exceed this tier may get a second, higher offer to make $35,000 for 359MM views. Please note that Instagram's offers are known to vary considerably from user to user. These seem to be normalized rates, but yours could vary.
Now, unless you're some mega-influencer who goes viral all the time, your first thought is probably “yeah, I won't be hitting 1MM views any time soon let alone 11MM or 359MM”. If you do the math in your head, you realize the earnings potential could be rather low for non-viral posts.
But before you get discouraged, we have to break down the math a bit more because the payout threshold is a bit unusual. You will likely be able to make $100 every month through an odd quirk.
Instagram Reels Make it Easy to Hit $100 Per Promo
After tracking my earnings for several months, I've come to the realization that Instagram's payout rate is not exactly linear on a CPM (cost-per-mille, 1,000 views) basis.
Normally, for a $1,200 bonus potential and 11.02MM views required, you would expect to earn $0.107 CPM if the payout was linear. But in my own tests, I've discovered that the first 20k views payout at $5 CPM and the remainder payout at $0.10 CPM.
So if you've noticed that you make an impressive amount of money on your first few Reels in any given bonus round, only to find it fall flat at a certain point, you're likely having the same issue affect you.
My data looked like the following:
- 10k views = $50 earned
- 20k views = $100 earned
- 21k views = $100.1 earned
- 22k views = $100.2 earned
- …and so on
You can calculate your own earnings by going into the “Professional Dashboard”, “Bonuses”, and clicking the “Reels Play” to see your current earnings and approximate bonus on the same page. If my logic above holds true for you, take your first 20k views and multiply by $5. Then take the remaining views and multiply by $0.1. Add these two numbers together, and if your payout structure is like mine odds are good it'll match up.
- Presently, I have $100.73 on 27.22k views. 20k @ $5 = $100. 7.22k @ $0.10 = $0.722. So my estimated payout should be $100.722 and Instagram is showing me $100.73- close enough to account for any viewing roundups in either calculation in my opinion.
What About Higher Views? Does $0.1 CPM Hold?
Sadly, we have to admit that it looks like the payout is likely going to be pretty linear at $0.1 CPM after the first $100. We can do some quick math with the potential payout bonus to see if this holds true.
My current promotional offer is $1,200 on 11.02MM views. Right off, that 0.02MM should look pretty odd to you. This is, expanded out, 20,000 views. As noted above, we believe the first 20,000 views payout at $5 CPM, or $100. So this means that the remaining 11MM views will pay out $1,100.
If this is linear with no change in earnings at an upper threshold, we can divide through accordingly. $1,100 at 11MM ends up being, you guessed it, $0.1 CPM.
So unfortunately it looks like Instagram is giving an opportunity for many creators to earn a quick $100, but then making it 50x harder to earn more beyond that.
But what about the higher tier of $35,000 for 359 million? Mathematically this one also averages out to $0.097 CPM which suggests some weird upfront math may come into play too.
While we have not seen this figure personally in the wild (only reports on other websites), our friends NC Tripping (who kill it on local blogging, by the way) got a similar promotion for $35,000 for 349.02MM views on Facebook Reels Bonuses at one point in time which is close enough for us to discuss. Wouldn't you know it, that pesky 0.02MM figure is back. So if Facebook Reels Bonus are similar, you will earn $1,200 on your first 11.02MM views and then up to $35,000 on the remainder up to 349.02MM views.
In all likelihood, when you hit 11.02MM views, the number doesn't start over but instead rolls up into the 349.02MM figure. Crunching the numbers there, after hitting the first 11.02MM you have the chance to earn an additional $33,800 on 338MM additional views. Divide that one out and once again you come back to $0.1 CPM. Funny that.
Suffice it to say, we wouldn't be surprised if this figure held through on most all promos outside of the first $100 bonus.
Is It Worth It to Post for Instagram Reels Bonuses?
When it comes down to it, there are a few different ways to look at this data and whether or not it makes sense to take part in publishing Instagram/Facebook Reels.
On one hand, Meta is making it very clear that they want to take on TikTok, and this campaign is an attempt to normalize the production of video content on the network.
But the real kicker is the switch from $5 CPM to $0.1 CPM. If you can post 20k views and make $100, but post 40k views and make $102, there isn't much incentive to post beyond whatever it takes to get that first $100. If you want to 80/20 this, posting just enough to get to that $100 threshold and then focusing your attention elsewhere may make sense. (For me, with five blogs, four of which are on social, I wouldn't be upset making $800/month if I could get them all active on Facebook/Instagram Reels Bonuses.)
On the other hand, you never know if Instagram will keep pushing out the Reels bonuses for accounts that aren't active (or when these Bonuses will go away entirely). So, really, there is always a risk if you start to change your posting pattern anyway. Not saying we have ever heard of this actually happening, but let's be honest that this is how Meta algorithms always work.
We will honestly keep posting our Reels as normal if only just because videos are popular and we gain fans from user shares. This is, was, and always will be, the end goal for these campaigns anyway. But that being said, we may hold off on some of our viral ideas for the start of a new payout period, because we always want to make sure we hit that $100 threshold as long as the first 20k views payout at $5 CPM.
Anything less is leaving money on the table!
Do you have Instagram Reels Bonuses? Have you noticed a similar trend with your payouts? Comment below to share!
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