Snap announced today that it paid over $250 million to more than 12,000 creators this year on Spotlight, its TikTok clone. Unlike Snapchat’s friend-to-friend, ephemeral messaging, Spotlight allows users to reach a wide audience. Since last year when Spotlight launched, Snap says that creators are posting three times as often now.
It’s no secret that the race for short-form video dominance is underway. As TikTok became one of the fastest apps to reach 1 billion monthly active users, competitors like Snapchat Spotlight, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts rolled out creator funds to incentivize people to make content specifically for their platform. Instagram Reels won’t promote uploads with a TikTok watermark, while Snapchat reduced its original $1 million-per-day payouts because it was paying for too much “copycat content,” CEO Evan Spiegel said in September. Even platforms like LinkedIn, Spotify, Netflix, Reddit, and Twitter are experimenting with TikTok-like feeds.
Now, Snap says that 65% of Spotlight submissions use a Snapchat creative tool like an augmented reality lens — in particular the Cartoon Style 3D Lens, which went viral this summer, generated 2.8 billion impressions in just its first week on the app.
Snap is also catering toward creators with its Story Studio, a standalone app released at the Snap Partner Summit in May. Some creators edit their videos with tools like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere on their desktops, then send them to their phones — but Snap has tried to give users more flexibility. Story Studio lets creators do more intensive editing on their phone, while the Spotlight for web app allows users to upload their content without leaving their computers.
Creators can also profit on Spotlight through in-app gifting and Snap’s creator marketplace, which allows brands to more easily collaborate with AR developers and influencers. Creators receive a share of the revenue from gifts, but they keep 100% of the revenue earned through the creator marketplace.