Spotlight is the new kid on the short form video scene, and therefore an automatic rival to TikTok. However, it has one twist that makes it instantly attractive to creators. Does this mean it will actually beat TikTok?

One of the biggest success stories in social media over the last few months is TikTok. Fun and exciting to use, it has captured the imagination of millions. The short-form video app has already become part of popular culture, and it’s accessibility means that everyone can have a go at creating their own content. For marketers, it has proven to be a slightly challenging but still powerful tool in their arsenal.

And yet, just like with most things in the world of social media, it already seems to have picked up it’s fair share of competitors. A recent entry into the fray is Spotlight, created by Snapchat, and available as part of the in-app experience. It also has a couple of tricks up its sleeve that ensure it will be a potential challenger for the short-form crown.

So what is Spotlight?

Spotlight is a dedicated tab within the Snapchat app. It allows users to submit videos that are up to 60 seconds long. The submitted videos can show up in search results (which already shows it has marketing potential as a vehicle) and there is also an opportunity to click on ‘my Spotlight Favourites’, which allows for a selection of favourite videos from the past 30 days to be shown.

So far, so short-form video app. But there is one crucial difference with Spotlight that has already brought a little bit of notoriety to the situation.

You can actually make money with Spotlight, as a creator. The best thing about this whole concept, primarily, is the way it levels the playing field. You don’t have to be a huge social media star with a massive following. The money (a share of, astonishingly, USD $1 million daily) is divided up between the creators who get the most shares on the platform. This means that someone who is new to the short form game has exactly the same chance of making money as anyone else (presuming they are actually creating quality videos of course).

The ancient quest

Ever since social media really became a huge part of our lives, there has always been talk of content going ‘viral’. It’s become the Holy Grail for marketers and even just regular people who want to gain some popularity online. But it soon became clear that there was no real framework or plan you could operate to go viral. Sure, there are ways to boost the chances of a piece of content becoming popular and meeting marketing goals, but you cannot guarantee that content will enter online culture in a viral way.

This makes Spotlight incredibly intriguing. Establishing a presence on the platform can bring creators a steady income. But will this also mean that the ‘authenticity’ of the platform will come into question for marketers? Would it actually be the case that marketers create content to earn money for their brand? There is no clear guidance right now on how that is all going to work.

Whatever happens to Spotlight over the coming months, rest assured it will continue to pique the interest of many. It’s not hard to understand why an app that pays you for making a successful video would be attractive.

A final point. It’s possible that the whole thing is unsustainable. As 2021 rolled around, news broke of at least two Influencers on Spotlight making up to $3 million since the platform launched. This was achieved by teenagers, and one of them posted 120 videos in one day at onepoint. Hard work pays off. But can Spotlight keep it up with $1 million a day?

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