Snapchat Spotlight: A New Way for Creators to Earn Money

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Short-form video applications have increased overwhelmingly in popularity in recent times. The surge in this format of online content, according to most, is due to the precedent TikTok set when it arrived on the market only to dominate it within two years.

All major competitors like Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube consequently came up with their own versions of TikTok’s hyper-successful infinite scrolling video feed. However, Snapchat, the picture-sharing social media app, which possibly had most in common with TikTok in terms of controls and mode only recently joined the race.

But despite being a late-comer, Snapchat’s strategy has rapidly gained success. Spotlight, Snapchat’s very own infinite short-video feed, launched in November last year. Snapchat called all its users to upload videos to this feed, with the promise of paying anyone who attracts a significant amount of views. Whether one had a large number of followers or not did not matter, as long as the Spotlight video did well. Since then, Snapchat is dishing out over $1 million per day to Spotlight creators, purely based on the popularity of their videos.

A Sound Strategy with Communities Already Coming Up Around It

Given the simplicity of Snapchat’s new approach, it’s no surprise that it has garnered the attention of many. According to NYT, many young Snapchat creators, influencers and non-influencers alike, have amassed fortunes due to Spotlight.

For instance, Cam Casey, a TikTok star experimented with Snapchat Spotlight and managed to earn $3 million between November and January.

However, people with no content creation experience have had similar fates. One of them is Andrea Romo, 27, who earned half a million by posting a video of her sister frying Turkey on Thanksgiving. Similarly, a 19 year old ceramist, Dax Newman, made $30,000 through Snapchat. For Katie Feeney, 18, her earnings of $1 million have broadened her options for universities she could attend.

People have already started making groups on the platform based around coming up with strategies to make the best use of Spotlight. Along with this, they boost each other’s content through engagement. For these people, creating collaboration groups is also on the cards, including Cam Casey.

Worthy Competition is Here

With its new move, Snapchat has shown that slow and steady wins the race.

TikTok has been the standard social media aspired to in 2020, but all competitors lacked one crucial feature: monetization. Ventures like Instagram Reels, although well-received in their own way, did not attract original content or businesses due to the lack of monetary incentives provided.

It seems that Snapchat heeded this missing piece and came out with the next best thing in the market, at least for now. Snapchat is very serious about competing with TikTok, as signaled by its recent appointment of Ben Schwerin as the new vice president of content creation and partnerships.

However, the journey has only begun. With the popularity Spotlight is gaining, the monetization for each creator is decreasing and might need a revision sometime in the future. Another hurdle to cross is establishing a standard for what a “Snapchat creator” is. For now, Snapchat Spotlight’s content is similar to TikTok, including dance and song challenges, pranks, unboxing, fashion and makeup, etc. Additionally, Snapchat is gearing up to partner with brands to provide more incentives to creators with its relaunch of Snapchat Partners, its partnership program.


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