Home Guides and Tutorials Affiliate Marketing With IG – a How-To Guide on Instagram Monetization

Affiliate Marketing With IG – a How-To Guide on Instagram Monetization

by Adsterra Team
Tips for Instagram traffic monetization

Instagram debuted in 2010, and today it differs from other platforms because it’s totally visual. Users share images and videos, and it’s that simple. It’s widely popular partly thanks to people’s obsession with taking pictures on their mobile. Back in 2018, Instagram reached 1 billion monthly users. There are over 500 million users that use it daily, and over 500 million daily users of its Stories format alone. Today Instagram is one of the world’s most highly used platforms for traffic monetization as it drives highly engaged and prominent users.

When it comes to advertising, Instagram is an incredible platform, reaching 928.5 million people (13- 34 years old).

Furthermore, 92% of people on Instagram say they followed a brand, went to a website, or even purchased as a result of seeing the product or service on Instagram.

Table of Contents

Instagram monetization. Why it works

Instagram monetization practices have proved to be highly successful. Whether you’re doing affiliate marketing with Instagram or are looking to monetize your own products/service, this platform delivers you all the opportunities. Instagram monetization is so effective largely because there are so many users. 

There are influencers for every niche that partner up with companies all the time and this creates close engagement with profitable audiences. The platform allows you to create connections between your followers and yourself, or the third party you’re promoting. You are spreading information in the form of word of mouth, which has always been the most powerful method of sales. 

Not only are there a lot of people, but there’s the added bonus of Instagram audiences being highly engaged and loyal to the platform. The high activity and usability of Instagram allow affiliate marketers to partner up with brands. If you promote successfully, the brand sells more products. Brands are aware of that, that’s why they are ready to bid higher for their offers being viewed. 

To succeed you’ll need to grow and nurture a solid following. Let’s see how to speed up the process.

Driving Instagram traffic with paid ads

First, we should make it clear that Instagram monetization doesn’t start from a zero following. To grow business with affiliate marketing you need to have a decent number of followers. How many? Well, let’s assume your activities on Instagram bring 5% engagement on average. If you start promoting an affiliate product with, say, 8 000 followers base, you’re going to reach about 400 users. No so bad. 

Actually, you are going to hear this magic figure “10K followers” over and over again, and that’s the most sensible starting point for professional affiliate marketing. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be a micro-influencer and pave your path to prosperity. 

Whether your following is solid or not, you’ll face the need to attract more traffic and distribute it among the products you promote. And you inevitably will have to deal with paid ads. With them, you can extend your following and even target a specific slice of audience you need.

Setting up a Business Account

To start attracting traffic you’ll need to shift your profile to a Business Account. It’s free and takes less than 5 minutes. The steps are pretty clear for all platforms. Here list the sequence for an Android-based smartphone:

  1. In your profile choose in the upper right corner.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Tap Switch to Professional Account.
  4. You’ll see a welcome page of a Free Professional Account. Tap Continue.
  5. Select your business category, tap Next.
  6. You’ll be offered to choose between a Business and a Creator account. Choose Business.
  7. Check your contacts
  8. Optional: connect your account to a Facebook page associated with your business.

Straight from the Instagram app you can promote one of your posts, a typical text + image post. To do that you’ll be required to connect your Facebook page. For the rest of the formats you’ll need to use Facebook Business Manager. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, these platforms have one control center. 

We are not going to cover this topic here as we suppose you moved to Instagram monetization after exploring Facebook. However, if you need a detailed guide on connecting your Business Instagram account to Facebook Ads Manager, reach us out in any channel. 

Pros and cons of Instagram Ads

There are several ways of reaching the audience with paid promotion. Here we will give a brief overview of the most usable so that you could pick the right one without hesitation. Note, that now we are covering the pre-monetization stage. It means that when you need to get more traffic and lead it to your website or landing page, you’ll be definitely using paid ads.

Photo ads

They consist of an ad copy, an image, and a call-to-action button. You can use this option for many kinds of Instagram monetization. Actually, you can transform any of your single-image posts into this ad.

Instagram Sponsored post
Photo ad (Sponsored post)

Carousel ads

You can show up to 10 images or videos in one ad. When users meet your ad second, third, fourth…N time, Instagram algirithms show them the media (a photo or a piece of video from your carousel) that thay haven’t seen yet.

Video ads

Video ads allow you to promote an offer through video or GIF files. They are great when you need to demonstrate a process or a flow, as well as to give an all-around view of a product.

Collection ads

These ads are good if you’re aiming at giving a 3D overview of a product. It’s better to take a chance with those ads when you’re promoting lifestyle concepts, motivation videos, etc.

Ads in Instagram Stories

Though this format has its cons (like unavailable links for those who have under 10K followers), it is still the most prominent one. 

When creating a Story Ad, keep your message crisp. This format is ultra-engaging, very demanding to your copywriting and design skills. When done well, it brings lots of conversions.

Ads in Stories
Ads in Stories
Ads in Stories
Ads in Stories

Ads in Explore section

When users tap Search they can discover myriads of other accounts and posts. Instagram integrates your ads in this section.

Affiliate marketing tips for Instagram monetization

The key to success on Instagram is to understand that it’s a visual experience. Some products or services will be highly successful on the platform while others fall flat. Making money on Instagram with affiliate links can be effective when you post content that your target audience resonates with.

The Affiliate Marketing with Instagram concept is quite transparent: you promote someone else’s goods and services and get paid a commission each time your advertisers get what they want: leads, clicks, views, downloads, sales. Different are the approaches to HOW you will find your affiliate partners.

#1 WAY: look for partners in your niche

This way is completely tailored. It’s you who does all the hand work. You’ll need to pitch your account and convince the partners that your content is relevant. It’s you who tracks the efficiency of marketing and balances spendings VS earnings.

#2 WAY: join affiliate network as a publisher

Affiliate networks offer you a wide variety of potential partners. The registration is usually simple, and you get a fully-fledged dashboard to track your activities results.

First rule is to sign up with a program that fits with your niche. This could be fashion, travel, photography, or fitness. Fitness is a massive industry with plenty of affiliate programs to choose from. You just want to make sure your market identifies with the product you’re selling.

Amazon Associates has grown popular and gives you access to so many products that you can promote to your Instagram audience. It’s easy to sign up to and when someone from your audience does purchase, you get 10%.

#3 WAY: instant Instagram monetization with Smart Direct Link

This is an alternative method for those who don’t have fat traffic in their accounts but eager to start monetizing. Smart Direct Link contains thousands of advertisers’ offers, and each time users click on it they get the most relevant one. How? The secret is in the smart algorithms of matching traffic parameters (like GEO, device, preferences) to the type of offer.

The point is that you don’t add the link to your social feed (this will result in a ban from Instagram). But you create an elementary landing page where you put the Link. This landing page URL you will use in your Instagram bio, in the paid posts, and in ads. Your traffic will be directed to the landing page. And only after users click on the Smart Direct Link they will be shown relevant ads. Each time a user clicks on the Link, you’ll be paid a commission.

What users’ parameters are checked

  • Geo
  • Country
  • Language
  • Device, version
  • OS, version
  • 3G/Wi-Fi connection
  • Preferences
  • Keywords
  • Interests

Adsterra’s benefits include:

  • One link with multiple offers.
  • AI algorithm that chooses the best ad for every individual.
  • You get paid every time your audience sees the ad.
  • CPM payment model (cost-per-mille (thousand) impressions).
  • 100% fill rate with offers
  • Settings to exclude unwanted offer types.

Pros/Cons of monetization with affiliate marketing on Instagram

How to start monetizing traffic

Put links in Bio

So how do you promote products on Instagram effectively? There are not so many ways you can put a link into the platform. You are only allowed one organic link, which can be found in your bio. There are a few loopholes, however. 

If you have a top-earning product or service, display this affiliate link in your bio. You can make it more eye-catching with the use of emojis along with a call-to-action. Change the link regularly, promoting different products, or alter the description above the link

Pay for posts promotion

As we told before, by paying to promote a post on Instagram, you’re able to put a link on it. Your audience can click right through to your landing page with Smart Direct Link on it. Or you can lead traffic directly to your affiliate partner’s website. 

Discover keywords and hashtags

Your success on Instagram still has a lot to do with hashtags and keywords. Knowing that, you should look at what your competition is doing. Searching by hashtags will allow you to see what other Instagram influencers are using to sell similar products. You want a keyword that has less than 1 million posts with the ideal number being below 200,000.

Follow your competitors and see what they’re using for hashtags. It also helps to follow people in the same niche because of Instagram’s algorithm. In fact, try to only follow people that are within your niche industry.

Find alternative ways of traffic acquisition

Realistically, buying traffic isn’t what it once was. In 2018, Instagram started to penalize third-party apps, fake followers, and bots. Brands that want you to represent their products or services if you don’t have legitimate traffic. What you might want to try is like-for-like pools. This is where you connect with a group of others selling similar products. You give them your link and they give you theirs and advise when you’re going to post. Getting a bunch of likes right after you post gives the Instagram algorithm the message that you’re relevant in your niche. This gets you featured, which is the equivalent to page 1 on Google search results.

⛔ If you use other methods like bot traffic or adding links to your social feed, you could get blacklisted from Instagram, and there’s a lack of professionalism that is noticed. 


No matter what your niche is, you can create a successful Instagram monetization strategy. There are apps and platforms that can help you achieve your Instagram monetization goals. It starts with an engaged following and then turning it into social media monetization.

Create value in your posts and apply the affiliate link to your bio and everywhere else you can. Take every opportunity to drive traffic to the affiliate. Using high quality links is essential and this can be done through reputable affiliate programs like Adsterra or Amazon affiliates. Instagram has hundreds of millions of engaged people, all you have to do is resonate with their desires.

BONUS: How to start getting money with your Smart Direct Link

Sign up as a publisher.  Choose Websites from the left panel, then click the green Add new website button. Enter your website URL, pick Direct link from the Ad Units field. Your website will be sent to approval. Usually it takes several seconds or up to 5 minutes to verify the URL.

If you don’t have the site, just enter your Adsterra login again. You may also rent a domain specifically for monetization purposes and use it for direct link purposes.

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