Snapchat becomes the latest social media platform to join the TikTok-like short video bandwagon, and has launched its own feature called ‘Spotlight’. Just like the Chinese platform, Spotlight will also have short videos in a vertically scrollable feed format. Snapchat says Spotlight will “shine a light on the most entertaining Snaps created by the Snapchat community”.
“We built Spotlight to be a place where anyone’s content can take center stage – without needing a public account, or an influencer following. It’s a fair and fun place for Snapchatters to share their best Snaps and see perspectives from across the Snapchat community,” said Snapchat on its blog.
Spotlight will function like any other short video platform out there which has a TikTok like feed. Its algorithm is very indistinguishable from that of TikTok’s “For You” section. Snapchat’s short video platform will run on algorithms that will pick out the most entertaining Snaps a user might be interested in. Obviously, it will analyze a user’s personal interests and feed Snaps on their Spotlight according to it.
The algorithm will adapt a ranking methodology where it will rank Snaps based on factors that show people are interested in a particular Snap.. There are also negative factors that will be considered to eliminate a Snap from the feeds such as if users are skipping a Snap immediately.
Spotlight’s algorithms will also make sure that the Snaps that appear on the feeds are diverse. Snapchat says it wants to serve new types of content to Snapchatters on Spotlight and ” mitigate against echo chambers”. Spotlight will ensure that the content is diverse by building algorithmic models using diverse training data sets, and vetting models for biases and discrimination. There will also be an ‘exploration’ mechanism that will provide new and diverse entertainment in Spotlight. So for example, if you are interested in watching dog videos, Spotlight feed will be filled with that, however, it will also promote related content from adjacent interest areas such as other animals, nature or travel.
The short video platform market is highly competitive right now and to make a mark, Spotlight does have some attractive, unique features. Firstly, Snaps that appear on Spotlight can be from either a private account or a public account, unlike TikTok, where content from public accounts only gets featured on the ‘For You’ feed. This might be a bold step but Snapchat says that it will be moderating the content on Spotlight to prohibit the spread of false information, misleading content, hate speech, explicit or profane content, bullying, harassment, violence, and other toxic content. The creators have to be mindful of these guidelines when creating a video and make sure the content serves an audience above 13 years of age.
The ‘spotlight’ feature of Spotlight is that Snapchat will be giving out rewards to creators for their “creativity in a fair and fun way”. It will be shelling out $1 million every day to users who create the most engaging and entertaining Snaps for Spotlight. However, there are certain conditions to this offer like – creators must be 16 or older and where applicable, obtain parental consent to earn. Snapchat says this offer will be live until the end of 2020 and potentially beyond as well.
Snapchat said, “Earnings are determined by a proprietary formula which rewards Snapchatters primarily based on the total number of unique video views a Snap gets in a given day (calculated using Pacific Time) as compared to the performance of other Snaps that day. Many Snapchatters will earn each day, and the ones who create the top Snaps within that group will earn the most for their creativity.”
Spotlight is available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and France. It will be available in other countries soon