SNAPCHAT, butting TikTok with Spotlight

When TikTok stormed onto the scene, very short videoclips became incredibly popular and the platform amassed over 100 mln users worldwide, making other social video platforms sit up and watch with great interest.

TikTok came under considerable pressure from the US government in 2020 to either cease or sell its business in the US. This was due to the assumption that TikTok transfers all user data to its Chinese owner Bytedance and possibly to the Chinese government itself.

Buyers lined up, from Microsoft to Twitter, salivating over gaining so many young customers. But then things blew over and TikTok is still going strong.

Out with the long-ish YouTube videos and in with the micro video, a whole new type of content. Instagram quickly introduced Instagram Reels in August 2020 and in November 2020 Snapchat followed with Spotlight.

This in itself may not be news, but the exciting thing about Spotlight is that it is changing the way money can be earned from posts. Snapchat, wanting to increase content, decided to pay its top content creators out of a daily $1 mln pool. Instead of having to build a follower base first, Snapchat allows you to build content and then, depending on how many unique views your content generates, pays you accordingly. To date, Snapchat has paid content creators about $110 mln! And it’s proven to work, as Spotlight gets about 175,000 video submissions per day and the app has grown to 265 mln active users per day.

Like always, the ones first at the scene make the most money, as seen with the early influencers on YouTube or Instagram. But Spotlight has already created a number of young millionaires.

For example, one of the unlikely earners is Andrea Romo, a sales associate, who tried out Spotlight by uploading a video of her sister frying a turkey (of all things) for Thanksgiving dinner. A few weeks later, she received news that her video was very popular and had earned her a cheque of $500,000!

Another few big winners are serial content creators, posting up to 40 videos a day of rather mundane (one might say), or at first sight, uninteresting things. But they have become part of Snap’s millionaire club, and in an astonishing short amount of time, i.e. between November 2020 and February 2021.

As the app gets more saturated, pay-outs are expected to be less generous and the £1 mln a day pool may be taken out altogether. However, content creators say that pay-outs on Spotlight are much better than on TikTok and that the following they are to build on Snap, will later on have value for the more commonplace brand deals, like on other platforms.

With 74% of teenagers globally spending ‘free time’ online, it is no surprise that watching short video content is a big part of this. So content, content, content. Bring it on. We can’t seem to get enough!

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