Snapchat may be winning back digital influencers with help from recent screw ups by YouTube and Instagram
Photo Courtesy of The 11th Second
- A crop of influencers who had abandoned Snapchat are giving it a second look.
- They are being enticed by a range of new features on the platform, including an analytics dashboard announced Wednesday.
- The consensus is that Snapchat is well positioned to win back digital creators, given YouTube and Instagram's recent struggles on this front.
With over 900,000 followers, Shaun McBride, or "Shonduras," was perhaps one of Snapchat's very first homegrown social stars. But frustrated with the platform's lack of support for creators he "gave up" on it in early 2017, until the platform came knocking.
Now, McBride is among a crop of influencers boomeranging back to Snapchat.
These digital creators are giving Snapchat a second look for two reasons. For one, Snapchat is finally giving this community tools they've long desired to help nurture their fan bases.
And suddenly, recent stumbles by YouTube and Instagram in their influencer offerings may have given Snap an opening.
"I was insanely frustrated for the first two to three years, to the point that I left Snapchat," McBride told Business Insider. "But six months later, they got in touch and started consulting me about how they could make the platform better for the creator community."
The output of Snap's conversations with McBride - and a range of other Snapchat creators - is an analytics dashboard for creators, which was announced by the company today.
The dashboard is being rolled out around the world, not only to Snapchatters with official verified accounts, but also other creators with large audiences on Snapchat. The insights are intended to give them a deeper understanding of their audience as well as what type of content drives more meaningful engagement, a spokesman told Business Insider.
It includes data such as weekly, monthly and yearly total story views, the amount of time people are spending viewing their stories, as well as daily reach, audience demographics, and information on their audience's interests.
"The redesign has reignited my interest in Snapchat," said Michael Platco, another Snapchat influencer who had turned away from the platform like McBride last year. "I have suddenly started getting hundreds of new followers every day, which had stopped happening when they got rid of autoplay."
Snapchat has been cozying up to influencers in recent months after years of deliberately ignoring them. The company, for instance, announced a series of updates last summer, including allowing users to link to external websites on their videos, modify their voices in their videos and add custom backdrops. The analytics dashboard is, in this regard, an obvious next step.
But more importantly, it should entice a wider swathe of creators and ultimately, brands who want to connect with influcencer on Snapchat.
"Up until now there has been no way to measure what your audience actually likes, so you are shooting in the dark," said Rayna Greenberg, who runs the account "onehungryjew" on Snapchat. "Brands want to know who your audience is, what the potential reach of a campaign will be, and what the success of any given campaign has been -so this will allow me to network, sell my platform and create ongoing partnerships with brands better."
It could also help attract smaller brands to Snapchat, said Jason Wong, founder of Wonghaus Ventures. Snap has already been doubling down on smaller advertisers by opening its Marketing API and offering them free ad credits.
"This could help creators monetize because previously, Snap creators didn't have enough metrics to attract small to medium size brands," he said. "Brands really care about metrics of a influencer's profile, and one thing that turned many away was the fact that Snap didn't provide those to its creators."
The move also comes at a highly opportune time for Snapchat. The company had a surprisingly strong fourth quarter, and has been aggressively bidding for a greater chunk of digital ad dollars by opening up its advertising floodgates.
Most of all, disgruntled influencers are grappling with problems on some of its biggest competitors. While small brands and influencers are worried that Instagram is choking their traffic, YouTube has been tightening the noose on influencers as it deals with the aftermath of its brand safety crises. The consensus, then, is that Snapchat is well poised to court the influencer community at a time when other platforms are struggling.
"The YouTube creator community is having a hard time, and people fear the changes from Facebook are trickling over to Instagram," said McBride. "Snapchat has an amazing chance to seize the opportunity to do things right this time."
"It's long overdue," agreed Ben Arnold, managing director at We Are Social North America. "But it's great timing."