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Snapchat’s Monetization Disruption: Will it Overtake YouTube and TikTok in the Content Realm?

By Vidhi Narula
Published on June 29, 2023

Snapchat has been a favorite among youngsters for its quirky filters and instant image and video-sharing capabilities.

While the platform encouraged interpersonal relationships and close connections with friends earlier, in lieu of the boom in the creator economy, they are pivoting to a more globally visible approach.

Snapchat has been on a journey to make the platform more inclusive and attractive for creators who can showcase their content to not just their friends, but to every user on the platform.

The introduction of monetization has also hastened the process of making Snapchat exceed user expectations and return to the race of being the best social media platform.

Snapchat’s Statistics

Even though Snapchat saw a dip in users and its stock price, it has picked up pace and protected itself from going completely obsolete.

Snapchat is one great modern example of how platforms should constantly innovate and improve to accommodate the changes in the economy.

  • 375 million daily active users (DAUs) use Snapchat every day on average.
  • Over 6 billion AR Lens plays per day on average.
  • Over 250 million DAUs engage with augmented reality every day on average.
  • Over 250,000 Lens creators have used Lens Studio.
  • Over 2.5 million Lenses are made by our community.
  • Over 75% of the 13-34-year-olds in over 20 countries use Snapchat.

Why is Snapchat Becoming a More Attractive Option for Creators?

The image-sharing platform has come a long way to introduce creator-empowering tools and features.

Snapchat did have a specific tab for creator-made content and global videos, but it did not receive as much attention and utility until the world saw the rise of the creator economy.

Nonetheless, Snapchat has so much more to offer in recent days that has made it stand out from the rest of the social media pack.

  • Limitless Creativity: There are thousands of filters and lenses to be creative and showcase your talents to the world.
  • Spotlight: A dedicated tab for creators to shine and get discovered by more users who would love your content.
  • Strategize Content: The vastness of the platform can make it difficult for users to know what to post and what to share. Creating a content strategy can help creators in streamlining their daily posts.
  • Analyze your Audience: Snapchat offers creators tools to map their audience and keep track of the views and likes they get on their Snaps. This can help them shape their strategy and improve on what’s lacking.
  • Easy Ways to Connect with Audience: Options like quoting a comment or starting a conversation from story replies are a few ways that help creators stay in touch with their audience and keep them engaged.
  • My AI: Snapchat users have access to an AI bot that can help with content and let them revolutionize their content game with generative AI.

Snapchat’s Winsome Monetization

Previously, Snapchat allowed creators to earn a share of the revenue when ads were placed between their stories as this was a great way to monetize short-form content that is super popular these days and making creators start earning as well.

The eligibility criteria for this policy were having 50,000 followers and 25 million monthly Snap views.

Adopting a sustainable ad revenue share model has emerged as a viable approach for platforms to compensate creators, as it offers unlimited earning potential beyond the confines of a creator fund.

However, implementing ad revenue sharing has presented significant challenges on short-form video platforms such as TikTok.

Although YouTube Shorts has ventured into this realm, achieving successful ad revenue sharing has proven to be a formidable obstacle thus far.

Another issue of ad revenue sharing was deciding which creator would get the money – the one preceding the ad because they encouraged the user to keep scrolling rather than exit the app, or the one after because their post got delayed due to an ad.

Cleverly, Snapchat decided to place ads between 2 videos by the same creator. This allowed the same creator to earn more and avoid conflict.

A representative from Snapchat has indicated that the platform’s approach to Stories and Spotlight, its rival to TikTok, is intricately connected.

For instance, if a creator manages to amass a significant following on Spotlight, it naturally translates to a larger audience for their Stories.

However, it is important to note that Spotlight currently has 350 million monthly users, which is still lower compared to competitors such as TikTok, which surpassed 1 billion monthly users in 2021, and YouTube Shorts, with reported 1.5 billion monthly viewers who are logged into their accounts.

Snapchat is implementing measures to enhance the discoverability of creators by incorporating their Spotlight content into Snap Map.

Additionally, through an exclusive integration, users have the ability to include a Linktree in their bio on their public profile, enabling followers to locate them conveniently on other platforms.

YouTubers Shifting to Snapchat

Snapchat has caught the attention and received high praise from renowned YouTubers like Hannah Stocking and David Dobrik, who are impressed by the monetization prospects it offers.

Stocking, for instance, managed to generate an impressive $30,000 within a mere 72-hour timeframe on the platform.

To prioritize creators and entice brands to follow suit, the social media app has revamped its ad revenue-sharing system.

Snapchat has introduced various avenues for creator monetization, such as Spotlight Snaps and Challenges, Gifting, Shopify integrations, and mid-roll advertisements in Snap Star Stories.

These initiatives aim to provide diverse opportunities for creators and brands to generate revenue from the platform’s vast user base of 350 million monthly users.

For comparison, Snap revealed in 2021 that it disbursed a sum exceeding $250 million to over 12,000 creators on its Spotlight platform.

However, YouTube, being the frontrunner among online video content platforms, allocated approximately 55% of its advertising revenue, totaling $28.8 billion, to creators in the previous year.

Challenges for Snapchat

As per eMarketer, TikTok holds the lead in terms of average daily usage time among social media apps, with users spending an average of 55.8 minutes on the platform.

YouTube follows closely with an average of 47.5 minutes, while Twitter ranks third with users spending approximately 34.1 minutes. Snapchat maintains an average daily usage time of 30.8 minutes.

The platform is seeing steady 15% growth in daily users and revenue since the addition of creator-fronted features.

In the first quarter, the total duration of time dedicated to viewing Spotlight content experienced a remarkable growth of 170% compared to the previous year.

This surge propelled the number of monthly active users engaging with Spotlight content to surpass 350 million.

Considering Snapchat is still new to the creator economy gig, we need to wait and see how much noise can these new features make and attract creators.

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