How to make money on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok: guide


  • Creators on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok make money off their online success in a number of ways. 
  • From ads on videos to promoting brands, selling merchandise, and earning revenue through affiliate marketing, creators have several potential revenue streams.
  • We broke down the nine main ways influencers earn money on and off those platforms.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.

Influencers make money from their success online in a number of ways.

From getting a share of revenue from YouTube ads to promoting brands, selling merchandise, and earning commissions through affiliate marketing, creators have a variety of ways to make money from their audiences.

YouTube advertising can prove unreliable — especially if a creator’s videos contain controversial content — so many influencers are diversifying their revenue streams.

Some top TikTok creators are earning huge paychecks. Forbes ranked the top-earning TikTok stars in the last year, with Addison Rae Easterling taking the top spot at $5 million in estimated annual earnings, followed by Charli D’Amelio at $4 million. 

Many creators go beyond apps’ built-in monetization features to streams like paid song integrations, brand deals, app marketing, merchandise, and promoting product sales on other websites like Etsy and Depop. And with the help of a manager or agent, creators can get lucrative sponsorship deals with big consumer brands.

Here are the nine main ways influencers earn money on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok:

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