Daily Insights

The Future of Viral Videos

By: Mackenzie Baker | Nov 25, 2020

Though many social platforms have launched “stories” this year, the original creator of the feature embraces a new trend. Snapchat takes a page from fellow competitors’ books with the rollout of a short-form video innovation. 

Spotlight on Snapchat allows users to watch randomized short-form videos, similar to both TikTok and Instagram’s Reels. Spotlight users can create their own videos and share them with anyone, including followers and strangers. While Snapchat is known for its quickly disappearing photos to be shared with friends, Spotlight is notable in that anyone can view and post one. Also worth noting, however, is that Snapchat will not display the username on a Spotlight as it does not want the goal to be for users to gain large followings, but rather to encourage them to share moments of humor or creativity. There is one major incentive, though, that could draw in content creators to Snapchat—money. Snapchat will pay users whose videos do well on Spotlight, with up to $1 million a day distributed to top performers who are at least 16 years old.

Spotlight serves as a significant change to not only Snapchat’s app setup, but core features too. With short form videos proving quite captivating to younger audiences according to a Gartner report, it’s unsurprising that Snapchat would offer its own video model. By doing so, however, the platform faces stiff competition from TikTok, which also offers a financial incentive to users, though it’s aimed more at influencers than “everyday” creators. Nonetheless, the launch of a video section on Snapchat signals a permanent shift in social media functionality and consumer demand for lighthearted, never-ending content. In order to differentiate Spotlight from other platforms, Snapchat did not make the videos comment-friendly, meaning users cannot discuss the content on the video itself. The lack of comments could appeal to many social media users, as the toxicity of negative comments on other platforms has caused many consumers to demand change. By forbidding Spotlight comments, Snapchat could set the stage for the next biggest change in social media. 

With its new feature, Snapchat spotlights it’s own ability to stay up to date on current consumer trends. While the feature could automatically appeal to younger users, the cash incentives and friendly interface could draw in an even larger audience and help raise Snapchat’s image as a safe social media titan.