Ben Young
Ben Young
April 15, 2022

Edition #365
Did paying creators directly pay off? A new native ad network and FOS.

One big thing

Last year Snap spent $250m on its Spotlight Creator Programme. You may recall, they would feature content on their Spotlight channel and make cash rewards to the creators. It appeared to be a defensive position against TikTok. But how did it fare?

One year ago we launched Spotlight to lower the barrier to content creation and shine a light on the most entertaining Snaps created by the Snapchat community, no matter who created them,’ –Snap

Through 2021, 12,000 creators have collectively been paid over $250m!. That would be an average of $21k each. Creators have quit their jobs, to pursue this. Which didn’t always work out when they couldn’t reliably recreate their initial success.

Melles started posting videos in March and Snap, the company that makes Snapchat, sent him a message in April offering him thousands of dollars after one of his videos racked up 300,000 views in 24 hours. Melles got a $19,600 payment from Snap for the video, and he quit his Wendy’s job a few days later.

But bumpiness aside, that is 12,000 content creators who have received tangible motivation to keep creating.

So how should we think about success of this programme? Strategically it was aimed to protect against TikTok and keeping the best creators onboard. On a user basis, Snap ended the year with 319m DAUs, 20% year over year growth. An increase of 54m.

Against a climate where TikTok grew 500m users. Did Snap win out? Not on the growth side. But maybe if they didn’t do this execution, they could have lost more?

Their average ARPU over the past 12 months was $13.64 globally, so those 54m users could have contributed about $736m In revenues. Their stock priced closed 2021 at $47.03, against a price of $50.07 at the end of 2020. However the end of 2021 marked a decline in tech stocks.

I think the real asset is the relationship they’ve built with the 12,000 creators. What can they do there, to help them grow? And to continue to push the boundaries on Snap. How can they help be the best Snap it can be? Those are the questions I think Snap should be diving into.

A concerted effort to promote the best of Snap spotlight outside Snap would help remind users and get them to come back too. That would be helpful. I can’t recall any creators off the top of my head.

What can others learn from this? I do think this is a good model to learn from. You are not just paying the best advocates of your platform directly. But you are paying for new content assets. And also all the other content that is produced.

Notable stories this week


  • Validity acquires email campaign platform MailCharts. Congrats Tom!
  • OpenWeb acquires AdYouLike for $100m. Congrats to both teams!
  • Glip, a creator tool suite for gamers to create and monetize has raised $3m.

Campaign of the Week

Branded content

Smartest commentary
  • “There is this huge crossover with underserved audiences which tend to be young females and young women of color, who are not served as well as men tend to be. Whenever I talk to certain companies, a lot of the recommendations I bring up are, “You want to make another Star Wars because you think that is the way to make a billion dollars, but Star Wars already exists; people who want Star Wars are going to go to Disney Plus and they are going to get it.” –Julia Alexander, Parrot Analytics

Datapoints of note

That’s it for this week.