How Do Instagram Reels Bonuses Work? A CPM Earnings Calculation

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on March 13, 2023.

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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.

Photo Courtesy of NC Tripping

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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25 thoughts on “How Do Instagram Reels Bonuses Work? A CPM Earnings Calculation”

  1. I googled to see if I was the only one not seeing any big payout after $100 and am relieved to see your algorithms.
    I can say that yes, I have had the exact same experience.
    Thank you.
    I was feeling robbed, but it all makes sense now!

    • Happy to help but sorry we didn’t have better news for you on this one. I had to start thinking that the $100 was more free money than it otherwise could’ve been.

  2. I’m on month 3 of the bonus so I paid more attention to the estimated earnings to see if it was based on number of views ca. number of days or number if reels posted in the new bonus period. I also calculated $5/1000 views and then .01/100 or .10/1000.

  3. I only have about 2500 followers and was offered to use reels play for the first time and my bonus was up to $30 if I posted 3 reels in a certain time period so each reel was $10 😂

  4. Is it earned on a 1000 views on one reel? Or a thousand views over several reels within the 30 day period. My current time frame shows I’m earning but the reels I’ve posted in this time frame are less than a 1000 EACH, but more than 1K in total. So confused. W!

    • Generally speaking CPM calculations scale based on actual views. So if 1,000 = $5, then 500 = $2.50, 1,500 = $7.50, etc. You shouldn’t have to hit a minimum of 1,000 to get paid that $5 CPM rate.

  5. Glad to see this. I had a few months of 100$ payouts and I only average 4-5k views per reel. I got one 30k and the payout wasn’t what I was expecting but based on this math it makes perfect sense because it hit my 100$ and then I got paid pennies for the rest lol. But I’ll take my extra 100$ a month and not complain!

  6. This explains a lot. I got the 35,000 this time which was based off of a reel that hit 3.4 million in November. I hit the 100.7 on the first day and the slow tick up started. I’m at 230k with 121.07 payout at the moment. I wasn’t sure if I was doing something wrong with my post or not. This was very helpful. At this rate after a week I may hit 200.00 which I won’t complain about.

  7. Hello and thanks for this info. How does the bonus work. Right now, I received the invite to get paid per reel to be posted in a certain timeframe. But, how often does this occur? When’s the next go round to receive payment for posting each reel? Is it consistently back to back? Do I wait for another invite? Right now, all I see is the precious program that started in Dec and that’s it. No future bonuses to be paid for reels at this moment. Thanks

    • All of my bonus offers have been back-to-back. They generally operate on 30 day windows. If you don’t activate one you can always go into the Professional Dashboard in the app and make your way to the bonus section to turn it on. Most of them give you a window to activate the current promotion and then that runs for 30 days.

        • If you havent been invited to the bonus program then its not likely you’d see anything in the Professional Dashboard. But if you’re in the program, I am not sure. That would sound like a glitch to me.

  8. Aloha,
    Thank you for this informative post. I received my first invite ever and thought it might be the only one I ever get, so I worked really hard for the first 20 days. I’m glad to hear that I can slow down after the initial boost. Do you think our reels are shown to users in a similar way as the”shorts shelf” in YouTube, or perhaps hidden from/played less to users once we hit a certain bonus? I noticed that some of my earlier reels got around 2K views but the views have dropped off since then (within the same 30 day bonus period) without a decrease in the type or quality of content. I also noticed that my views dropped off a ton when I changed from personal account to creator, as if I’ve been hidden from my followers, but that’s a subject for a different discussion. Mahalo, @hawaiiyogini (reply posted to fix a typo)

    • That’s a good question. I am honestly not sure. I think things just slow down naturally over time, especially if there are fewer organic shares. It really just depends on engagement!

    • It may depend on if you have been given access to this at all. The bonuses may be limited by country, by account size, by past performance of Reels, etc.

  9. Hey Jeremy,

    So I have hit the cap limit twice in a row for $1,200 with 130k followers. But for some reason the only time I actually got into the higher tier was before even getting close to hitting the cap limit. I contacted support to see if I could get my limit Increased but all they did was copy and paste their “tips” from their website. Would you happen to have any knowledge of why I was able to earn $35,000 before but now that I’m earning $1,200 per bonus period, I can’t get a limit raise?

    • Unfortunately I don’t have a good answer for this. Much like most things in the program these just tend to show up. I have asked for guidance in a Facebook group I’m in and no one ever replies. There are all these guidelines but they always boil down to “make good content” which is not quantifiable in the slightest.

  10. I am a neophyte with only have 500$ bonus—you mentioned 1,200 & 35,000. Can you tell me why my max is just 500$? Worst to my dismay—they will stop monetizing old post or reels. Some of our old work are hard earned. It’s work of art—the older it gets the more valuable it is. Can we create a drive—a plea to lift up the situation? Thank you. Your blog is a HUGE HELP and enlightenment.

    • I am not sure as to why you only were offered a $500 bonus threshold. They did seem to be testing different setups for different accounts. That being said, bonuses only ever applied to new Reels posted during any given 30 day window. Once that window ended, the old posts stopped being monetized. I also believe that the bonus program is going away after the last round now, too.

  11. Hi ya!
    I have 7k followers I have have been participating for 4 months. My limit was $8500. I don’t know my limit on views.
    I do know this month I have 180k views which pays $116. Last month I had 90k views for $107.
    $100 is easy to get to like you said, but 90k more views I got $9, that is kinda bullshit.

    • That sounds about right. The $5 RPM for the first 20k was a tease to get people to keep promoting. Genius for them, less incentivizing to us once we figured it out.


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