Instagram launches its creator marketplace on an invite-only basis and lets you shop in DMs

Instagram has officially started testing its new creator marketplace, a hub designed to help brands discover and reach out to creators about partnerships and campaigns. The marketplace is currently available on an invite-only basis to brands in the United States.

Brands that are invited to access the marketplace can use the desktop experience within Meta Business Suite to filter creators by gender, age, number of followers and interests. Brands can also filter for creators based on the demographics of their engaged audience, such as gender, age, interests, country and city. In addition, companies will be able to see creators who have expressed interest in working with them via an “interested creators” tab. They can also see creators who have tagged them or follow them via a “tags and follows” tab. Brands can also see similar creators to those they’ve already discovered through the filters. They can then add creators to saved lists.

Once brands have discovered creators that they’d like to partner with, they can use the marketplace to create campaigns and share them with creators. They can then provide creators with information about the campaign, such as the desired deliverables and compensation. Messages sent to creators will appear in a newly created “Partnerships Messages inbox.” Creators can respond to brands and coordinate with them directly within the Instagram app via DMs.

“This is all part of our commitment to make Instagram the best place for creators to make a living doing what they love — all while helping brands discover creators to partner with,” Instagram said in a blog post.

The official announcement comes a few weeks after Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was testing a designated place on Instagram where creators can get discovered and paid for content.

Meta’s take on its marketplace for creators is similar to TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, which is the video app’s in-house influencer marketing platform. TikTok’s Creator Marketplace allows brands to discover top TikTok personalities for their marketing campaigns, which is what Meta looks to be aiming to do with its own creator marketplace. It’s clear that Meta’s Creator Marketplace will be part of its continued efforts to take on TikTok.

The post came with an example DM session between Jaw Surfboards, a Maui-based custom surfboard maker, and a customer, where the customer pings to ask which of the company’s boards are best to do a 360 flip. Jaw recommends a type of board, the customer confirms it’s hip to their jive, and Jaw sends them a $300 invoice, still via DMs.

In his post, Zuckerberg said invoices can be paid using Meta Pay, aka Facebook Pay but rebranded last month as part of Meta’s ongoing attempts to monetize the metaverse. Other screencaps of the feature show the ability to use normal debit/credit cards and PayPal.

Once an order is placed via DMs, Instagram will allow buyers to track their purchases within the app. They can also continue chatting with sellers via DM.

Per TechCrunch, Meta developed this feature because it noticed it’s common for buyers to DM independent creators and small businesses before they buy products.

Meta says one billion people use its various platforms—like Facebook (which has a pretty robust customer communication system set up via Messenger), Insta, and WhatsApp—to message a business each week.

Payments in Chat is currently open to creators and businesses in the United States.