How to Succeed on Snapchat Spotlight

By Mike Metzler

December 9, 2020

While Instagram Reels have received lots of attention for their similarities to TikTok, Snapchat Spotlight might be even closer to the TikTok® experience. With over 265 million active users, the Spotlight feature is a dedicated tab in the Snapchat app designed to promote short viral videos from their community. The videos or Spotlight Snaps are up to 60 seconds long. Like TikTok, Spotlight’s algorithm operates on similar engagement metrics, including watch time, likes, and shares.

However, unlike TikTok, your Spotlight viral video won’t have a comments section. Other users won’t see your display name unless you’re over 18 and have a public profile. This feature means Snapchat users’ accounts are private by default.

Therefore, users can keep their accounts from public view while still posting content in Spotlight. Anyone can submit short-form videos to Spotlight for others to see; you have to tap “Spotlight” when posting to send it to the section.

How to post on Snapchat Spotlight?

Snapchat Spotlights can be captured like any other snap, but instead of sending them to your friend or your story, you send them to Spotlight. Simply put, they are vertical videos with sound. If you attempt to send blurry Snaps, text-only snaps, horizontal Snaps, still-image photos, they won’t appear in Spotlight.

In the Snapchat app, tap the camera tab to get ready to make a snap.

  1. Tap and hold the record icon to create your video snap.
  2. Release the button once you’ve completed your recording. If you want to add any edits or effects, now’s the time to do it.
  3. Tap “Send To” at the bottom right of the screen.
  4. Tap “Spotlight” at the top of the page. Snapchat Spotlight might ask you to agree to Spotlight terms by tapping “okay.”
  5. Snapchat recommends adding a topic to the Snap. “#AddTopic” to set your topic.
  6. At the bottom of the page, tap “send.”

How long does my content stay up?

Unlike previous Snapchat norms, content submitted can continue to get views after the typical 24 hours window of expiration. Now videos submitted have the opportunity to go viral in ways they couldn’t previously.

How does Snapchat Spotlight work?

Historically, verified creators and discover publishers were the only accounts with the ability to go viral on Snapchat. This happened when a story gets pushed to the top in the Discover feed, and it gets views outside the account’s current subscriber set. It’s not uncommon for Verified profiles to get three to ten times their usual views with a good story. However, being successful on Spotlight feels different and much more akin to producing a viral TikTok® than anything else.

A successful video on Spotlight is comprised of high watch times, likes, screenshots, and shares. The image here shows the metrics offered to a creator on Spotlight. These numbers are not public and only available to the creator. The number from the highest viewed Snap is at the top as opposed to the total number of views (around 700k in this screenshot). Videos that get rejected by moderators (which happens frequently) show up in the feed in the order you submitted them with no view count. Rejected Snaps have been deleted in this screenshot.

Snapchat Spotlight Vs TikTok

How is Spotlight similar to TikTok?

Compare the Spotlight video in the screenshot with a TikTok® video around the same number of views. The TikTok® video has 389k views, 38.5k likes, and 2,973 shares with an average watch time of 13 seconds on a 9.7s video. Likes and shares appear to count much more positively on Spotlight than they do in TikTok®. This fact may change as more people become accustomed to the platform as “liking” content in Spotlight is the one feature that still doesn’t feel entirely natural to the platform. At least for now, an excellent like-to-view ratio is anything over 7%.

Spotlight appears to have tremendous potential, especially with the 1 million dollars a day prize pool available to creators. It seems the best way to make money on Snapchat’s Spotlight is to churn out a lot of high-quality content.

The content is steadily getting better, and the algorithm has already started adjusting to viewer preferences. One of the most exciting facets of Spotlight is the extreme moderation. Snapchat seems very keen on doing what it can to create an experience different from what you find on TikTok® or Reels. For that reason, you probably won’t have success re-uploading all of your old TikTok® videos. If you want to succeed on Spotlight, follow these tips.

What are the tips for succeeding on Snapchat Spotlight?

Before you submit a snap to Spotlight, take the time to make a good submission, so it’s more likely to be accepted and published.

  • Hashtags are critical.We recommend loading up the content with as many relevant hashtags as possible. You can currently add up to 100 hashtags on a Spotlight submission, but it’s not recommended to go overboard. Videos submitted with unrelated hashtags have a higher chance of being rejected.
  • Use native Snapchat features.Native Snapchat text added to the video most likely provides additional context for the video in the Spotlight algorithm. Most videos you come across in the Spotlight feed have Snapchat text added or other native Snapchat features.
  • Please don’t overdo it.Viral moments captured on camera and creative content creators are going to have an advantage here. Content that is overproduced does not seem to be featured prominently in the Spotlight feed.
  • All videos must be vertical. Don’t forget they can only be a maximum of 60 seconds long.
  • Don’t disqualify yourself. The content moderation is natural. Nothing with outside music, copyrighted footage, TikTok® logos, Instagram fonts, Boomerangs, or identifiable Superzoom effects will be accepted. If it is easily identifiable as content made for another platform, it will most likely get rejected.
  • Don’t give up. While Snapchat limits how frequently you can submit, there does not appear to be a penalty for how many Snaps you submit to Spotlight.

What hashtags should I use on Snapchat Spotlight?

There are two easy answers to this question. First, use hashtags that are relevant to your video. Second, use popular hashtags. You can see what hashtags are popular by typing in a letter and seeing what hashtags auto-populate in the search bar, the ones at the top are the most popular hashtags.

When is the best time to post on Snapchat Spotlight?

Snapchat, in general, is considered a nocturnal app. That means most people who use it do so during the late hours of the night. The best time to post on Snapchat would be later at night or between 10 pm and 1 am. This is because most users are younger people. Therefore those hours are when Snapchat engagement rates are highest.

In terms of the best days to post on Snapchat, every day is a great day. Snapchat Spotlight is consistently used every day. For that reason, there isn’t a particular day or night when it’s best to post your Spotlight videos.

How will I know if I got paid and how will I get paid on Snapchat Spotlight?

Snapchat Spotlight

You will know if you qualified if you get a message from Team Snapchat saying you have a submission that may have qualified. One week after you get this message you will get another message from Team Snapchat with the amount. Following that message you will get an email inviting you to sign up for HyperWallet. There you will fill out basic tax information and provide a method to receive payment which includes a bank account, Venmo or PayPal. You should receive the funds in your account 30-60 days after you create your HyperWallet.

Where is Snapchat Spotlight available?

Spotlight is currently only available to creators on the platform, but that shouldn’t stop brands from paying attention. Spotlight is available to creators in the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.

If successful, Snapchat Spotlight will likely create a new ad format around Spotlight that will be very similar to what TikTok® currently offers. TikTok’s® creator-focused ads would fit right into Spotlight, when and if they choose to implement them. Brands should familiarize themselves with what types of creator content are showing up and possibly partner with these creators in the future.  As for the creators, get snapping, figure out what works, and may the Spotlight forever be in your favor.

Conviva offers both Snapchat organic and Snapchat Discover Analytics Software, as well as TikTok™, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter analytics software, available only on the Conviva Integrated Intelligence Platform, available for a free demo here.