Snapchat takes on TikTok with Spotlight and pledges to pay $1m to creators every day until end of 2020

Snapchat has launched a new feature called Spotlight “to shine a light on the most entertaining Snaps created by the Snapchat community”.

Initially available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France, Spotlight is essentially Snap’s answer to other short form viral apps like TikTok, Triller and Instagram Reels.

The platform will use its content algorithms “to surface the most engaging” videos on its platform.

“We focus on serving the right Snaps to the right person at the right time,” writes the company in a blog post. “We do this by trying to understand your personal preferences.” 

Snapchat promises to distribute over $1 million every day to creators submitting videos to Spotlight until the end of 2020, “and potentially beyond”.

The company states that creators’ share of that $1m pot each day will be determined by “a proprietary formula which rewards Snapchatters primarily based on the total number of unique video views a Snap gets in a given day (calculated using Pacific Time) as compared to the performance of other Snaps that day”.

It adds: “We actively monitor for fraud to ensure that we only account for authentic engagement with Snaps. Our formula may be adjusted from time to time.”

According to the Spotlight guidelines, Snaps have to be vertical videos with sound and can be up to to 60 seconds long.

Still-images, Horizontal Snaps, blurry Snaps, and text-only Snaps won’t be surfaced in Spotlight.

The platform’s guidelines also warn against copyright infringement.

Snapchat parent company Snap has been making various moves in recent months, in what appear to be an attempt to better compete with rivals like TikTok.

Last month saw the company launch Sounds, a feature that lets its users add music to their Snaps, after it was reported during the summer that Snap had secured licensing deals with the likes of Warner Music Group, Universal Music Publishing Group and indie recorded music body Merlin.

SoundCloud then rolled out an integration with the  platform the following week to allow Snapchat uses to share sounds from its catalog.

Meanwhile, on Friday (November 20), we learned that Mobile music app Voisey, which allows users to record short videos using professional vocal effects and backing tracks, has been bought by Snap Inc.

According to today’s announcement, Snapchat’s ranking algorithm will look at factors that show people are interested in a particular Snap, like the amount of time spent watching it, if that content has been favourited and shared.

Negative factors including skips will also be taken into account.

Snaps that appear in Spotlight can be from Snapchatters with private, personal accounts, or from “Snap Stars” with public profiles and millions of Subscribers.

“We built Spotlight to be a place where anyone’s content can take center stage – without needing a public account or an influencer following.”


Writes Snapchat: “To help surface new types of content Snapchatters may be interested in and mitigate against echo chambers, we’ve built diversity directly into the Spotlight experience. We work hard to make sure that our algorithms are developed with diverse outcomes in mind.

“We do that a few ways, including by building our algorithmic models using diverse training data sets, and vetting our models for biases and discrimination.

“We also use “exploration” mechanisms to ensure that you see new and diverse entertainment in Spotlight. This approach distributes views more fairly to a broad group of creators.

“It also teaches our algorithmic models that diversity and inclusion of different views should be part of their native function.”

Adds Snapchat: “Spotlight shines a light on the most entertaining Snaps created by the Snapchat community, no matter who created them.

“We built Spotlight to be a place where anyone’s content can take center stage – without needing a public account or an influencer following.

“It’s a fair and fun place for Snapchatters to share their best Snaps and see perspectives from across the Snapchat community.Music Business Worldwide

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