Snapchat Adds ‘Spotlight’ Feature With $1M a Day Awarded to Most Entertaining Snaps

Snapchat is moving into position to challenge video master TikTok. Spotlight, a feature that allows users to create short, TikTok-like

Snapchat Spotlight

Snapchat is moving into position to challenge video master TikTok. Spotlight, a feature that allows users to create short, TikTok-like videos, was announced Monday. On top of offering the feature, Snapchat promises users to award $1 million a day to the most entertaining snaps.

We Present… Spotlight!

Snapchat Spotlight

Stocks for Snapchat soared Monday after the app giant unveiled it’s new Spotlight feature. They reached a 52-week high as the app company moved into position to threaten the video giant, TikTok. 

Per Hollywood Reporter, “On Monday, Snapchat introduced a feature called Spotlight that will give more prominent promotion to public posts from its users. Spotlight is available in 11 countries including the U.S. and Canada and will roll out in more markets over time.

In a marketing video for Spotlight, Snapchat highlighted the type of short, music-driven videos that have become popular on TikTok. Snapchat users have long posted similar videos for their small circle of friends on the app, but largely had to cross-post those clips onto other platforms like Instagram and TikTok if they wanted to reach a wider audience. With Spotlight, which appears as a new hub within the app, Snapchatters will be able to reach more people with their posts without having to leave for another platform.

Any Snapchatter can opt into sharing a Snap on Spotlight. At first, the post will be shared with a small group of users. Snapchat’s content algorithm will then determine whether a post should be shared more widely by taking into account indicators like how long people watch the video and whether they share it with friends.”

Incentive to Participate

Snapchat isn’t stopping at offering the feature. They want users to get involved. So, for at least the rest of 2020, Snapchat will award $1 million dollars every day to the most entertaining snaps. Winners can be individuals or collaborations. 

Deadline reports on the process of determining a winner; “Rankings of popularity are determined via a ‘proprietary formula,’ the company said in a blog post. Variables in the formula reflect how people engage with the messages, as captured by unique views, viewing time and the number of people favoriting them. Spotlight honorees don’t have to come from users with public accounts or from well-established content creators like influencers or celebrities.”

Hoping to Stay Positive 

Snapchat User

With Facebook and Twitter falling prey to accusations of bias and political bickering, Snapchat is carefully entering these waters. Per THR, “Snapchat is introducing Spotlight as it faces new competition for Gen Z users from TikTok, the social video app that China’s ByteDance launched in the U.S. in summer 2018. TikTok has caught on with users in large part because it has made it easy to make compelling and entertaining video clips and then share them with a large audience. The app’s For You page, which is fed with by a powerful algorithm that surfaces curated content to each user, has earned a reputation for turning everyday users into overnight stars.

…Spotlight is Snapchat’s entry into space. Prior to the launch of Spotlight, Snapchat would push individual posts out to wider audiences via the public Our Stories collections or the Snap Map. But distribution via the Discover platform was reserved for public figures, known as Snap Stars, and other users who had cultivated large followings. Now, with Spotlight, everyday users have the chance to reach more people with their Snaps.

As Snapchat evolves into a platform for broadcasting to many users, it will have to contend more directly with challenges like how to moderate content and keep users safe. A Snapchat representative said that the company will view all posts submitted to Spotlight to ensure that they meet its community guidelines before pushing them out to the broader Snapchat audience and that, at least at first, no posts featuring political content will be permitted.”

Designed to Entertain

After TikTok’s enormous success with the advent of the pandemic, other tech and app giants are looking to capitalize on their formula. Instagram offered a, “Reels,” option with a similar function, but reception has been lukewarm. Unlike it’s social media platform peers like Twitter and Facebook, Snapchat has remained mostly aloof from accusations of political bias and dissemination of false information. As a result, they are poised to capitalize on the happy-go-lucky aspect of TikTok videos while building from their impressive user base.

Per TheStreet, “‘We designed Spotlight to entertain our community while living up to Snapchat values, with our community’s well being as a top priority,’ Snap said in a statement introducing the new feature. ‘Spotlight content is moderated and doesn’t allow for public comments.’” 

With users on platforms like Facebook and Twitter currently taking pot shots at users who have switched to up-and-comer Parler, Snapchat can squeeze into the divide where the weary lie. They’ll be able to take advantage of the fact that so many users are exhausted from the back-and-forth, and even TikTok has a strong political culture.

However, like everything human beings touch, it’s just a matter of time before Spotlight becomes heavy with opinion and politics. Whether or not the algorithm will effectively filter them out to keep Snapchat a moderate and neutral medium remains to be seen. But for now, TikTok is eyeing the app and video giant warily as Snapchat slides into the niche of easily-edited and widely shared short videos.