Snapchat’s relationship with influencers can be boiled down into two words: it’s complicated.
Unlike competing platform YouTube, which fosters positive creator relationships through initiatives like Play Buttons, Super Chat, its annual Rewind video, and YouTube Red, Snapchat has been repeatedly criticized for failing to support influencers. As a result, many have left the platform.
However, recent events indicate that Snapchat is turning the tide with influencers. Following an extremely successful Q4 2017, Snapchat just announced a new analytics tool called Insights. The tool will provide data to influencers, giving them the information they need to grow and thrive on the platform.
Here we’ll take a closer look at Insights, examine Snapchat’s complicated history with influencers, and discuss why influencers are central to the app’s success.
In February 2018, Snapchat launched a new tool for creators called “Insights.” The feature provides both view count metrics and demographic information within a user’s Snapchat profile. Previously, the only form of analytics provided by Snapchat was Story view counts, which are visible only for the duration of a 24 hour Story.
Snap Inc. hasn’t disclosed the criteria Snapchat users must meet to access Insights. The company has said the feature is for “Official Stories” users (Snapchat’s equivalent to a “verified” Instagram account) and those with large audiences. Currently, the total number of Snapchat influencers with access to Insights is unknown.
We spoke with four prominent influencers about Insights, two of which were unaware of the new tool’s existence.
Cyrene Quiamco (CyreneQ), a top Snapchatter, has found Insights to be very useful, stating “It helps me see which of my Stories performed the best and I’ll do those more often. I can also see more information about my audience which is very useful when I’m partnering with brands for sponsored Stories.”
Similarly, Shaun McBride (Shonduras), a beloved influencer well known for his Snapchat drawings appreciates Insights, saying “The new analytics tool is amazing! Something we have needed for years! Finally learning some important things about my audience and what content performs best!”
Below is a list of specific Insights features:
Many suspect that Snapchat’s new Insights feature is in part a response to prior influencer complaints and a move to encourage influencers to publish more content on the platform. Snapchat has a complicated history with influencers. Most notably, Snapchat Discover features publisher content prominently in the app, but there is no comparable feature to showcase influencers or help users easily find influencer content.
The lack of influencer tools and accommodations on Snapchat has led many influencers to voice their frustration. In November 2016, top Snapchat influencer Shaun McBride posted an “Open Letter to Snapchat” on YouTube discussing the app’s shortcomings.
In the video, he notes:
The open letter is cosigned by ten other top Snapchat creators.
In the time since Snapchat has addressed several of the above complaints.
For one, Snapchat has since expanded its “Official Stories” feature beyond public figures and celebrities, to influencers. Though the number of influencers who now have an “Official Stories” account is unknown, many have reported they’re now verified.
McBride expressed both excitement and wariness towards Snapchat’s recent support saying, “I wish the support from Snapchat would have come sooner. Most of the community had moved on to other focuses or platforms with the assumption that Snap would never support creators.
Now that it’s here I really appreciate it, I just wonder if maybe it’s too late?
In the past six months, I’ve developed a great relationship with Snap and it’s amazing, however, I would still like to be able to have support for my content and my brand on the platform. Growth on Snap still feels very difficult if not impossible.”
Benson emphasized Snapchat’s increased interest in influencers saying, “I think recently Snapchat has made more of an effort to support me as a creator by giving me my own Daddy Issues filter and emailing me for Snapchat opportunities I could be a part of.”
Quiamco, who was one of the first non-celebrity “Official Story” creators, echoed Benson’s remarks in saying, “In the last year, I feel Snapchat has started to support creators.” She went on to share the details of her recent visit to Snapchat headquarters, stating “They really rolled out the red carpet treatment for me. I got to meet and greet a lot of people in Snap, hang out with them, talk about the app and talk about the creator community.
They were completely open to hearing what I needed as a creator and also knowing more about other creators also. I think it’s an amazing start.”
Lastly, Snapchat has provided influencers with analytical tools to help grow their accounts in the form of Insights. While Snapchat’s has yet to address everything on influencers’ long list of grievances, it has taken several clear steps towards a better-supported creator ecosystem on Snapchat.
In the past, many social media platforms were able to gain and retain users by merely providing an intuitive, user-friendly interface. However, today most social media sites depend on the constant creation of exciting, engaging content to attract users and keep them coming back.
People no longer use social media just to connect with their immediate family and friends. Instead, the medium has turned into a new form of entertainment, in which users seek out trending content created by popular social media influencers to supplement content created by personal connections.
Generally, if influencers stay on a platform, users stay. Although a Snapchat executive once stated that “Snapchat is an app for friends, not creators,” as Snapchat struggles to grow its user base, influencers may be the key.
One way social media sites can incentivize influencers to use their platform is by providing them with tools to grow their audiences and monetize their accounts. More specifically, analytics tools like Insights help influencers quantify their reach, attract advertiser, and secure brand deals. By providing built-in tools that help influencers succeed, platforms encourage influencers and their massive fanbases to create and consume more content.
With its newly launched Insights tool, Snapchat appears to be acknowledging the importance of influencers and making a concerted effort to support them. Its shift in strategy may help save it from the sad fate of Vine, which many say shuttered largely due to its failure to support influencer needs.
Related Post: Vine 2 Is Coming. Here’s What You Need To Know.
Overall, the introduction of Insights could spell good fortune for influencers and the influencer marketing industry. The feature gives Snapchat influencers a means to prove their worth to advertisers who might be interested in partnering with them on Snapchat in the form of quantitative and qualitative data.
Additionally, by providing access to metrics that can help influencers grow their Snapchat audience, the tool may empower influencers to create more content on the platform.
If Snapchat expands its success as an influencer marketing platform it will contribute to the growth of the influencer marketing industry overall by paving the way for even more sponsored campaigns.