Snap’s plan to beat TikTok: Pay people millions

Snap’s Spotlight program is paying out $1m a day to creators. Here are some people minting dough.


January 21, 2021

Cam Casey blowing up a pumpkin with a Coke bottle… Sure, why not? (Source: YouTube)

In November 2020, Snap — the $76B social media firm — announced Spotlight, a new feature that would dole out $1m a day as an incentive for Snapchatters to make viral videos.

For years, Snap has focused on private communications and eschewed the virality of other platforms (Spotlight doesn’t have like and follower counts).

However, the rise of TikTok has completely changed the equation.

Snap is attracting leading talent from other platforms…

… but also just regular people.

A recent article from the New York Times highlights some pretty crazy money-making stories:

  • TikTok star Cam Casey has been posting his stunts — like blowin’ up Coke bottles — on Spotlight. Sometimes, he’ll grind out 120 videos a day, hoping to catch a viral wave and get paid. To date, he’s pulled in $3m!
  • A merchandising associate at Lowe’s posted a video of her sister deep frying a turkey that popped and earned her $500k.
  • An 18-year-old high schooler has earned $1m from unboxing vids.

More TikTok talent has jumped onto Spotlight

But as more Snap creators eat from the pie, the payouts are already falling.

Can Snap turn these viral moments and big payoffs into actual careers?

“For Spotlight to succeed, it can’t just pay creators, it must also bestow fame,” writes the NYT’s Taylor Lorenz. “Followers are their own type of currency, and in some ways just as valuable as dollars.”

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