How To Make Money On Telegram (Top 4 Ways)

The homepage of Telegram.
Courtesy of Telegram.org.

 

With 500 million monthly active users as of the first week of January 2021, Telegram is a promising source of income for businesses on and outside the platform.

However, Telegram’s limited monetization model poses certain challenges to those looking to expand their online reach.

In this article, we will overview the current state of monetization on the platform, as well as will outline some of the currently existing ways of making money on the platform, both for individuals (influencers) as well as digital marketers and businesses.

 

Telegram’s Monetization Model

A person holding cash.
Courtesy of Unsplash.com.

 

When it comes to monetization, Telegram is unlike many other social media/messaging platforms in that it offers a limited number of in-house avenues of income generation for channel owners (as of the time of this writing). In contrast, platforms like YouTube or TikTok do have built-in capabilities for money-making.

Therefore, content creators and celebrities on this platform may have to resort to external sources of income. Those external sources overlap with the methods that TikTok or YouTube creators may use to generate revenue, but these platforms, as already mentioned, have more native tools for money-making.

Since its release in 2013, Telegram has operated as a non-profit organization. In a December 2020 post, the company’s founder and CEO Pavel Durov wrote that he paid for most of the company’s expenses from his personal savings. The same is stated on the platform’s FAQ page:

Q: How are you going to make money out of this?

We believe in fast and secure messaging that is also 100% free.

Our founder and CEO Pavel Durov, who financed Telegram throughout most of its history, has outlined a strategy to make Telegram sustainable in this post.

With that said, the last paragraph of this answer reads:

While Telegram will introduce monetization in 2021 to pay for the infrastructure and developer salaries, making profits will never be an end-goal for us.

Durov talked about his monetization plans in the aforementioned December 2020 post as well, stating that the platform will require “appropriate funding” as it is “on track to approach billions of users”. He also writes:

If Telegram starts earning money, the community should also benefit. For example, If we monetize large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, the owners of these channels will receive free traffic in proportion to their size. Or, if Telegram introduces premium stickers with additional expressive features, the artists who make stickers of this new type will also get a part of the profit. We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users.

Ads appear to be the primary monetization method planned by Durov, though he wrote in a February 2021 post that Telegram ads would not appear in chats and would not use user data for targeting.

Additionally, in March 2021, Telegram raised over $1 billion in debt financing by selling bonds, according to Reuters. Reuters writes that the funding round included a combined $150 million investment by Mubadala Investment Co and Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners.

 

4 Ways To Make Money On Telegram

There are a number of ways to make money on Telegram.

Below are four of the top methods.

 

1. Sponsored posts

Sponsored posts may be the best way to generate income on Telegram.
Courtesy of Unsplash.com.

 

Sponsored posts are prominent on Telegram. In his February 2021 post, Durov mentioned sponsored posts as one of the issues that in-house ads were aiming to solve:

3. We are fixing ads that are already here. In most markets, content creators on Telegram already monetize their content by selling promotional posts in their channels. This is a chaotic market with multiple third-party ad networks pushing intrusive ads that create a negative user experience. We want to fix this situation by offering a privacy-conscious alternative for channel owners.

Channel owners may nonetheless make use of promotional posts to boost their income.

According to Lectera, the costs of a sponsored post depend on the channel’s niche. Lectera claims that trading and cryptocurrency channels charge more than others.

Aside from the industry, the size of a channel’s following matters as well. Lectera writes that 8 Fact with 425 subscribers charged $6 per post in September 2020, while larger channels like Free Telegram proxy (639,000 subscribers in September 2020) and Crypto World News (557,000 subscribers) charged over $11,000 and $1,800 per post respectively.

Lectera adds that pricing for advertising on the platform may be “chaotic” – particularly, because some small channels charge more than larger channels. For example, Memes (102,000 members) charged $140 in September 2020, while the slightly larger Programmer Jokes (111,000 members) charged $780.

 

2. Merchandise sales and affiliate marketing

Telegram channel owners may earn money by selling merchandise.
Courtesy of Pexels.com.

 

Channel owners may also sell merchandise to generate income via Telegram.

In 2020, product sales volumes on Telegram exceeded $20 million, according to Statista. Statista provides 2020 sales volumes on Telegram by segment – the largest segment was goods from China ($12 million), followed by digital equipment ($5.52 million), consumer loans ($3.12 million), apparel & shoes ($2.14 million), and a number of other product categories.

Telegram has native payment functionality. On April 26, Telegram announced the release of Payments 2.0.

Starting today, merchants can natively accept credit card payments in any chat, relying on 9 integrated third-party payment providers such as Stripe.

Buyers can add a tip whenever they make a purchase to show some extra love to their favorite artists, stores, or delivery drivers. Payments can now be made from any app – including desktop apps.

Since 2017, Telegram has had Payment bots that allowed users to pay for products and services from the Telegram app. Payments 2.0 is aimed to enhance the payment functionality on the platform.

Channel owners- and in some cases regular users- can also make money via affiliate marketing.

This would involve profiling and linking to affiliate offers inside a Telegram channel.

Typically it would be the channel owner doing this, although any Telegram user could hypothetically do the same as long as the channel owner tolerates them doing so.

 

3. Paid access to private channels

Channel owners may lock their content behind a paywall.
Courtesy of Unsplash.com.

 

Telegram allows users to create two types of channels – public and private. According to the Telegram FAQ, people can only join private channels via an invite link or by being directly added by the owner.

Channel owners may leverage this functionality and charge users for access to “premium” content only available to members of private groups.

 

4. Promotion of businesses from outside Telegram

"Marketing strategy" written on a blackboard.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.

 

Businesses from outside Telegram may use the platform as a promotional channel for their products and services as well.

Telegram has a high engagement rate – 20%, according to AppsGeyser. For comparison, Instagram’s engagement rate is 3%, while Facebook’s is 4%. AppsGeyser writes that this makes Telegram “one of the best and freshest points of touch with potential customers”.

As of May 14, 2021, the platform didn’t have on-platform tools for advertising. Businesses therefore need to create their own channels or leverage the audiences of existing channels for promotion (via sponsored posts, etc).

 

Conclusion

Telegram’s large user base promises significant promotional opportunities for businesses. However, the current state of monetization on the platform makes Telegram less beginner-friendly than the likes of TikTok, where creators have native tools for money-making, and brands have access to tools for advertising and promotion.

With that in mind, businesses should determine whether becoming established on Telegram is worth the effort, and if they decide it is, taking advantage of the platform’s money-making opportunities may require more creativity than doing the same on more established web platforms that have built-in paid advertising capabilities.

On the other side, influencers have enormous opportunities to make money on Telegram as well, but again, there is- as of now- no paid advertising revenue to share in, and therefore more direct methods of monetization are required.

 

 

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