For some, like OperAmericano the payments are larger than what TikTok is giving in the TikTok Creator Fund. “I remember the day that I got the message from Snapchat telling me how much I had made on my [Spotlight] videos, and I opened my TikTok [account] and was like wow I made $4 today,” OperAmericano says. “It was kind of crazy how different that number is.”
Smith Bruneteau says that her creator council regularly meets with social media executives, including Francis Roberts, Snapchat’s senior talent manager who joined the company from YouTube last year. Snapchat is working with creators more closely to give them tips on how to find success as part of ongoing programs it has in place, like the Snap Creator Summer.
Snapchat declined to comment for this story, but did confirm that it would continue paying creators from the $1 million fund daily.
Kendra Dandy, who goes by “theeboufant” on social media, is another Snapchat creator who has jumped on Spotlight. Since November she has built a 5,000-follower community on Snapchat, and it’s given her a platform for her artwork.
Later this month, Smith Bruneteau says creators will convene on Clubhouse, another rising app for communicating in groups, to discuss what works and what doesn’t in Spotlight, and she expected Roberts to attend.
Last week, Snapchat promoted Ben Schwerin to senior vice president of content and partnerships in a move meant to partly position the company to compete with TikTok, The Information reported.
Brands go public
Then there are Brand Profiles, which are doing for brands what Spotlight seems to have done for creators, bringing them back into the fold. Too Faced Cosmetics, for instance, had been mostly stagnant on Snapchat, letting its accounts linger for years. “There was really no public place that you could go see, you could really just go see a story that existed for 24 hours, and that was all that a user could see of your brand,” says Taylor LaMott, director of social media and influencer relations at Too Faced. “What’s really cool about Brand Profiles is that it can house lots of permanent content.”
Brands are posting videos to the profiles and Lenses. “People can go and look at our Lenses, try on our product,” LaMott says. “They’re even able to scan some of our products in-store or online, and then through Snapchat, that will pop up a Lens where they can then try on a look online.”
These are the hooks that Snapchat is using to snag advertisers. Sites like Facebook and Amazon showed that when brands can build stores and pages on a platform, it incentivizes them to promote on the platforms. “This is the first time ever that an advertiser has the ability to really build their brand within the Snapchat interface,” says Steph Garofoli, VP of partnerships at VidMob, the creative intelligence platform.
Snapchat has been quiet about how it plans to evolve Spotlight and Brand Profiles. Advertisers expect that Spotlight would be a prime location for ads they could share into the feed but, so far, Spotlight is reserved for approved creators, which does not include advertisers. Also, there are natural tie-ins brands could pursue with the stars that could come out of Spotlight, the same way they have latched on to YouTube, Instagram and TikTok creators. It will be key for Snapchat to devise a mechanism to keep the money flowing into Spotlight, since $1 million a day seems like a steep cost to bear on its own.
For now, Snapchat is taking a familiar approach, letting Spotlight become a habit among users, and hopefully keeping them focused inside its walls.
“The push on user-generated video is very much in-sync with Snapchat trying to make a move on TikTok,” Garofoli says. “I think that one of the things that makes TikTok sort of highly consumable is the algorithm, you can easily be on TikTok for 30 minutes and then be on there for three hours, and it’s because the videos are just so consumable, and highly entertaining, and that is what Snapchat has set out to do.”