Adam Mosseri Addresses Instagram’s Creator Payouts That Are “Burning Money”

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In a 90-minute conversation with Colin and Samir, Instagram head Adam Mosseri tackled some hard-hitting inquiries regarding the platform’s struggles with creator monetization.

The discussion, which covered facets of Instagram’s operation, delved into the repercussions of initiatives like the Reels Play Bonuses, which Mosseri candidly described as “burning money” and yielding content of inferior quality.

While Instagram endeavors to address creator concerns, Mosseri highlighted the platform’s primary focus on combating harassment and enhancing content reach. Regarding revenue generation, Mosseri emphasized its significance for a small subset of creators, acknowledging the disparity in monetization opportunities among creators of varying sizes.

As for revenue, that “matters a lot, but actually to a very small subset of creators,” he says.

“The vast majority of creators are very small, and they’re too small to monetize in a meaningful way. And so, yes, they care about monetization, they want to hear about monetization, but it’s actually not the thing they can or should really focus on,” Mosseri stated.

Despite the concerns for monetization among creators, Mosseri underscored the dominance of larger creators in shaping platform dynamics, citing YouTube’s AdSense program as the benchmark for creator monetization.


Instagram’s own monetization endeavors, exemplified by occasional bonuses like the recent Spring Bonus, remain a work in progress. Mosseri acknowledged the platform’s evolving approach to incentivizing creators, acknowledging concerns over content quality and the intricacies of determining “replacement value” in bonus distribution.

Mosseri admitted, “The trick is, though, it’s not just about your viewership. It’s about the replacement value. So let’s say you made 10 Reels through the program, and they all got really good views. But if you hadn’t made them, we would’ve had just as much engagement from [content by Samir] that wasn’t paid for,”

He also went on to add, “From an Instagram business perspective, the ROI is negative 100%. So if we paid you $1,000—making up numbers now—for 10 Reels and the replacement value was $0, you would look at your Reels and be like, ‘They all got 500,000 views, and these are the CPMs, you owe me X.’

The platform’s approach to creator bonuses reflects its commitment to refining monetization strategies, with ongoing assessments of content performance and revenue impact. However, Instagram faces an uphill battle in catching up to rivals like YouTube and TikTok in providing lucrative avenues for creators.

While revenue-sharing remains a cornerstone of creator monetization, Mosseri hinted at alternative avenues for creators to monetize their content, signaling Instagram’s exploration of diverse income streams for its creator community.

One of Mosseri’s final comments on the monetization matter? “Rev share’s not the only way to make money as a creator.”


As Instagram navigates the complex terrain of creator monetization, its evolving strategies underscore the platform’s dedication to fostering a thriving creator ecosystem while ensuring sustainable revenue growth. However, the road ahead remains challenging, with Instagram dedicated approach until a viable solution comes to the table.

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