A little while ago, Snapchat wasn’t seen as a land of plenty for social media creators, many of whom were instead drawn to easier ways to make money on other sites like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. That’s changed fast.
Take, for example, the announcement that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel made Thursday during an annual conference: the addition of a Creator Marketplace, a place on its app for influencers and brands to connect and strike parternships. These types of exchanges are fast becoming de rigueur in social media—TikTok started one last year, Facebook is considering adding one—and their adoption is illustrative of the industry-wide push to better enrich the influencers on these sites.
“Snapchat is creating a path for creators to start on the platform and build a business on the platform,” says Zach Lupei, a group product manager at Snapchat who worked on the development of the marketplace.
For much of Snapchat’s decade-long existence, the app has been mostly a messaging tool. This focus began to shift several years ago with the addition of a Discover page containing videos from verified celebrities. But Discover doesn’t pull in content from average users, the type of videos that have fueled massive audiences on other sites. So Snapchat added its Spotlight feed last November and has said it pays out as much as $1 million a day to users who upload clips to Spotlight, rewarding the most popular videos.
All of Snapchat’s top rivals are at work on similar intiatives, hoping to get money flowing to the creators who help keep users engaged on the apps. Snapchat has been successfull in growing its audience lately and now counts over 500 million monthly users.
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Along with the Creator Marketplace, Snapchat is rolling out the ability to send money to influencers on the app, another newly common feature on social media, and new video-editing tools.
But winning over these influencers is a costly endeavor, and Snapchat plans to change how much money it pays out via Spotlight starting next month. The “shift” is meant to “give us more flexibility to reward more creators and more markets” overseas, says Jim Shepherd, Snapchat’s head of talent parternships. Snapchat wouldn’t say whether the changes mean more or less money paid out to creators.