Snapchat officially launches in-app TikTok competitor called Spotlight

Snap is finally ready to compete with TikTok and will pay creators to post on the platform. The company is officially announcing a new section of Snapchat today called Spotlight that’ll surface vertical video content from users that’s more meme-like and jokey instead of the day-in-the-life content Snap previously encouraged. Imagine, basically, TikTok but in Snapchat.

To entice people to post snaps regularly, the company says it’ll divvy up $1 million between the most popular creators on the app per day through the end of 2020. This means if someone has a particularly viral video, they might earn a large chunk of the $1 million pot. It doesn’t matter whether that person has a massive number of subscribers; the amount people receive is primarily based on unique views compared to other snaps that day. Users can continue to earn from their video if it’s popular for multiple days at a time.

Spotlight, which will have its own dedicated tab in the app, is launching in 11 countries, including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia. The videos you’ll see in the section can be up to 60 seconds long and, as of right now, cannot be watermarked. That means people can’t just download their (or others’) viral TikToks and upload them to Snapchat. Once you tap into Spotlight, you’ll see snaps programmed to what Snapchat’s algorithm thinks you might enjoy. It bases this decision mostly on what you’ve viewed in the past and how long you’ve watched. Anyone can submit a snap, they’ll just have to tap “Spotlight” when posting to ensure it populates the section.

Although the format will be familiar to anyone who’s ever watched TikTok, Snap says it’s made specific decisions based on its user base. For one, Spotlight snaps won’t feature a public comments section, and profiles themselves are private by default, so Snapchatters can keep their accounts locked down while still posting content.

The Spotlight section has been hinted at for months, given that Snapchat announced music in snaps back in August. The app lacked a feed for these snaps up until now, however. The company already allows users to submit their snaps as part of a location that anyone can drop into and watch to get a feel of what’s happening in a given place at any moment. They appear in Snap Map. But unlike that feature, which is more documentary in nature, Spotlight is specifically designed for viral video formats.

With Spotlight, Snap is clearly acknowledging the success of TikTok’s short-form viral videos, similar to Instagram’s admission with its launch of Reels in August. In Instagram’s case, however, it plainly allows people to bring their TikTok content over to the platform. Snap is instead trying to encourage people to use its own creation tools and prevent monetization fraud by keeping people in its app. Stories used to be the format everyone wanted to copy, thanks to its success on Snapchat. Now, it’s the TikTok video.

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