Instagram has just announced that it will make its new Gifts monetization feature available to more creators in the United States. This feature, which was first tested early last year, lets admirers give a creator they look up to some direct financial backing in the form of themed virtual gifts. Using the app’s virtual currency Stars, users can pay anywhere from 10 to several hundred dollars for one of these gifts.
Instagram has been able to compete with rivals like TikTok, which already offer virtual gifts, by allowing users to send Stars across both live and on-demand videos, including Reels. As Instagram creators are required to pay a percentage of their earnings to the company, this gives the company a new source of income beyond advertising. U.S. creators can go to their Professional Dashboard’s settings page to see if they are now eligible to receive Gifts. In that case, they have the option of turning it on.
Stars can be purchased online beginning at $0.99 for a pack of three. In contrast, Instagram makes it clear that the Stars feature is reserved for Facebook. Instagram Stars can be purchased exclusively in-app for use with Instagram Gifts. 45 Stars cost $0.99, 140 cost $2.99, and 300 cost $5.99.
As Instagram announced this morning, the Reels tipping feature has been available to the public since November. It had been seen, however, long before that. Gifts was originally codenamed “content appreciation” and was confirmed as an internal prototype by the company last fall, when TechCrunch was contacted. Badges, which display a heart icon next to your name in comments, were introduced in 2020 and followed the development of other in-app tipping features such as sending Stars to creators.
However, Gifts initially targeted live videos while Badges were limited to real-time content. As TechCrunch reported, Instagram has confirmed that, for the time being at least, Gifts are limited to Reels.