Social & Influencers

Snap is trying to court and fund creators—but some are struggling to break through on the app

“Snapchat is the hardest platform for me to understand and grow,” one creator told us.
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Dianna “Mick” McDougall, Francis Scialabba

· 5 min read

At Snap’s NewFronts presentation this month, the company announced a partnership with Cameo that’ll help advertisers create Snapchat video ads starring celeb talent.

It’s Snap’s latest attempt to tap into the creator economy. In February, Snap said it’s beta testing “mid-roll ads” that play in between a creator’s Stories. They mark Snap’s first ad-revenue sharing feature for creators, letting them directly share in the $$ Snap earns from their content. But the only creators with access to this money-making opportunity are “Snap Stars,” aka verified creators on the platform.

And in late 2020, after introducing its TikTok competitor Spotlight, Snap said it would pay a total of $1 million per day to popular creators. It ended up paring that number back, ultimately doling out $250 million last year. Even as the platform continues to find ways to court and fund creators, some told Marketing Brew they’re struggling to break through on the app.


Mackensie Mintz, a lifestyle influencer and student at Ohio State University, told Marketing Brew earlier this year that she recently created a public profile on Snapchat for the first time.

She said she hasn’t used Snapchat for brand deals “in any way.” On Instagram and TikTok, however, she’s made money from sponsored posts. “For it being such a simple app, there’s a little bit of confusion on how to get yourself out there on Snapchat,” Mintz said.

“The app allows little access and guidance to your public profile. Or at least how to maneuver it as someone new to the public-profile aspect,” Mintz told us, adding that she cannot find the exact numbers of subscribers to her public profile. “This makes it hard to give analytics to brands.”

Alex Drachnik, a LA-based content creator known for portraying her alter-ego character “Sasha the Russian” on social media, has seen success on Snapchat firsthand: She once made $17,000 from a video featured on Spotlight. Drachnik told us that the experience made her want to “start pushing even more” on Snapchat.

But it hasn’t been easy for her after the fact; she hasn’t made any money on Snapchat since. “Snapchat is the hardest platform for me to understand and grow,” Drachnik said.

“I’ll post videos that got millions [of views] on TikTok, but then when I post it to Snapchat, it maybe gets a couple thousand. I’m just so confused,” she continued.

Some creators have found more luck: Martine Beerman, a face-painting artist turned influencer who has a show on Snapchat Discover, is more enthusiastic about the platform’s potential for creators.

Beerman told us she thinks Snapchat has an inherently different value to creators than apps like TikTok and Instagram. “Each platform offers value in different ways,” she explained.

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On TikTok and Instagram, she said, she gets brand deals and partnerships. But on Snapchat,

Beerman said she hasn’t “done many brand partnerships” because she’s “picky” about her endorsements. But she has made money on Spotlight, her Snapchat show, and “kind gifts from my fans on the app, via their new in-app gifting abilities.”

“They’re really trying to find ways to make creators feel appreciated,” Beerman told us. “It never hurts to invest your time in a platform that is giving back to creators—however that is—and hope that, at some point, that’ll peter down to you,” she said.

Snapchat’s story

Matt Zuvella, VP of marketing at influencer agency FamePick, told us that although he does a lot of influencer brand deals, he hasn’t done a single one on Snapchat.

“Spotlight would be the logical place to activate influencers now,” Brendan Gahan, partner and chief social officer for Mekanism, told us. But Snap doesn’t allow sponsored content on Spotlight; Nikki Merkouris, senior manager of corporate communications at Snap, told us, “At this time, there is currently no branded content within Spotlight as we focus on the Snapchatter and Creator experience within the product.”

Even so, Gahan said spon con on Spotlight would be “a seamless add-on for brands working with TikTok creators that have invested in Snap,” he explained, adding that influencers could “easily upsell Snap extensions to existing TikTok campaigns.”

He added that brand deals “aren’t particularly common on Snap” these days. The few influencer activations Gahan said he’d done on Snapchat were extensions of broader campaigns, where his team worked with creators on multiple platforms.

In comparison to other platforms, Gahan said, Snap “hasn’t really nurtured the creator community…Snap isn’t typically top of mind for influencer activations in the same way it is on other platforms.”

There are also fewer total users on Snapchat than on other social platforms, which Zuvella said could make brands less interested in more traditional deals on the platform. “If we’re being honest, to me it’s a pure numbers game. Snapchat doesn’t have the users,” he told us.

Instagram hit 2 billion global monthly active users at the end of 2021, per CNBC, and TikTok hit a billion worldwide in September 2021. Snapchat, on the other hand, told us it had about 600 million monthly active users as of April.

5/19/22 Update: This article has been updated to reflect that Snapchat has more than 600 million monthly active users as of April. It previously said that Snapchat had about 500 million in October 2021.

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