While Instagram Reels has received lots of attention for its similarities to TikTok, Snapchat Spotlight might be even closer to the TikTok experience. The content, however, is very different. Spotlight videos feel significantly less produced and closer to classic Stories. While there are no comments on Snap’s new video feed, both Spotlight and TikTok algorithms operate on similar engagement metrics, primarily watch time, likes, and shares.
Counter to 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.
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 3x-10x 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 made up of a combination of high watch time, 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 (which is 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.
Compare the Spotlight video in the screenshot with a TikTok video that has 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 may change as more people become accustom to the platform as “liking” content in Spotlight is the one feature that still doesn’t feel completely natural to the platform. At least for now a good like to view ratio is anything over 7%.
Spotlight appears to have tremendous potential, especially with the 1 million dollar a day prize pool available to creators. The content is steadily getting better and the algorithm has already started adjusting to viewer preferences. One of the most interesting facets of Spotlight is the intense moderation. Snapchat seems very keen on doing what they can to create an experience that is 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 really succeed on Spotlight follow these tips.
Tips for succeeding on Spotlight:
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t disqualify yourself. The content moderation is real. 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.
Spotlight is currently only available to creators on the platform but that shouldn’t stop brands from paying attention. If successful, Snap will likely create a new ad format around Spotlight that will be very similar to what TikTok currently offers. TikToks’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 is showing up and possibly look to 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 metrics inside its cross-platform analytics platform, Conviva Social Insights, alongside Facebook, Instagram, Stories, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.