- Snapchat rolled out its new TikTok competitor “Spotlight” yesterday.
- This is yet another step it’s taking to compete with the social media heavyweights for influencers, their fans, and the marketing dollars that follow.
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Snapchat officially rolled out “Spotlight” yesterday, per TechCrunch. With the app’s latest update, users will find a video play button on the far right of the icons bar, which will lead to vertically scrollable video clips.
Snapchat has been beefing up in its efforts to pull more users to the platform by making it more public-facing, and Spotlight is a further step in that direction. This new feature will allow users to share videos to the public “For You” feed of the Spotlight tab, where videos will either be set to public or private depending on a user’s preference.
That allows Snapchat to stay true to its brand, while also opening up an avenue for creators to go viral and compete with other platforms like TikTok. This feature should pull in new users and creators, as well as motivate more influencers to take to the platform, bringing their followings with them. That means Snapchat will be able to better capitalize on its audience and could start to catch up with other apps—it’s hovering around 350 million monthly active users worldwide this year, per our estimates. Meanwhile, we expect Instagram’s worldwide user base will exceed 1 billion in 2020.
The company is incentivizing users to share their Spotlight videos publicly, with the lure of $1 million to be given away daily through the end of 2020 to creators with the most popular content. Previously, the only way to have content publicly shared was to put it on Snapchat’s “Our Story,” which uploads to the public Snapchat tab and puts a user on Snap Maps, but it wouldn’t be promoted to users like it will be on Spotlight.
Should a creator have their profile on public and share a Spotlight publicly, that video will be distributed to at least 100 viewers—and based on interest, it will then have the opportunity to go to the next level of 1,000 viewers, and so on. That means that from the offset, every user will be at an equal point, and videos will popularize somewhat organically based on engagement—similar to how TikTok functions.
The company is also staying mindful of the potential difficulties that come with public creator content—and is keeping Spotlight pretty close to the vest for now. Every video will be reviewed within its distribution to the first 100 people, and as such any video that goes viral will have already been reviewed. In vein of keeping content moderation tight, Spotlight videos will have to adhere to a strict code of guidelines, which includes omission of “overtly political” content, and Spotlight videos will not have a comments section.
While it’s certainly an interesting choice in a creator-based feature, it’s likely that the app is trying to start on the safe side, since comments require a deeper investment in moderation. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram have built out content-moderation features that utilize AI or hired moderators, which makes it a lot simpler for them to have things like comment sections.
These guidelines will help Snap stave off controversy, and it will probably help it avoid any sort of brand safety issues should it decide to monetize Spotlight. If Snapchat wants to eventually be on par with TikTok or Instagram in terms of opportunities and reach, it will have to broaden its scope. Influencers want interaction with their fans, and they want that option to see what people like and don’t like. Many creators utilize user comments and sell themselves based on that engagement. And, of course, the large-scale goal of a launch like Spotlight is to attract more influencers and the fans that come with them.