Social media influencers are ditching Snapchat for other platforms.
Content creator Shaun “Shonduras” McBride, who has roughly 1.5 million followers on Snapchat, recently told AdAdge that he’s growing tired of the app not supporting him and other content creators. Instead, he’s moving to other platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube.
“I am now at a point where I am so far beyond Snapchat that I don’t really care,” McBride told AdAdge.
— Shonduras (@Shonduras) December 11, 2018
[RELATED: Ragan's Back to the Workplace Guide]
McBride is one of many social media influencers who are leaving Snapchat in favor of other platforms and apps—though the platform also says it’s “committed” to its influencers.
A spokesperson for the company said Snapchat is more committed than ever to its creator community. The company is even developing programs that will allow some of them to earn money, the spokesperson said by email. Snapchat is working on shows—its most polished video programs that run commercials—with a handful of creators, who will share in the revenue, the spokesperson said.
“We’re working hard to support our creators and create monetization opportunities,” the spokesperson said. “This year, we focused on turning their feedback into action, including establishing multiple pro-creator programs, and we’ll continue to listen and make supporting our creators a priority in 2019.”
Influencers’ disappointment follows a huge backlash from Snapchat users and influencers after the app launched its redesign in February. Since then, Snap has been trying to entice users to come back or stay—along with looking to marketers for increased revenue.
What’s attractive to brand partners doesn’t necessarily align with influencers’ desires, however. For example, one of Snapchat’s newest publishers joined because of the ease in publishing curated content—not because of any content creator using the app.
First Media’s first video on Snapchat for Blossom had a view time of 1 minute and 50 seconds early on and then averaged out to 1 minute and 30 seconds with more than 20 million views after 24 hours. The video, shared on Nov. 28, was just under five minutes and was simply repurposed from Facebook videos. Now, with another video on Dec. 5, Blossom’s channel has more than 3 million unique viewers and 25 million views (where a view registers after each individual snap. First Media had 13, 20-second snaps in each video).
… The big incentive for First Media’s decision to join Snapchat Discover was no longer having to create original content.
“We’re seeing that Snapchat is starting to see itself as a distribution platform and wants to give the best content to its users. They understood they need to be easier with the creators and allow them to repurpose content that’s already out there. That’s a big shift from being 100 percent original,” said Yuval Rechter, head of digital at First Media.
The Next Web reported that Snapchat is working on additional features to further entice users to join and stay, including portrait mode, the ability to post multiple photos to your Snapchat Story or to a group, and a feature to enhance group conversations:
The company’s working on another feature called ‘Charms’ to define your friendship with someone. According to the screenshot posted below, you can assign a charm like “Birthday Twins” to a group to signify that your birthdays fall within seven days of each other.
Snapchat is testing “Charms” for providing information about your friendship or group pic.twitter.com/8xDH2KpMlq
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) December 10, 2018
However, those features aren’t answering influencers’ complaints—nor is it stopping teenage users from preferring Instagram to Snapchat, which could pose a threat to Snap in terms of grabbing advertising revenue.
Even if Snap figures out how to connect its creator community more effectively with monetization opportunities, there is potentially another question emerging for the company: Will the platform still be desirable to brands? Brands want Instagram and YouTube, McBride says, and he’s already seen signs that brands are less interested in hiring his services for Snapchat. Both of these rivals have adopted similar vertical video offerings on mobile and are pushing into augmented reality, two spaces that Snapchat was first to recognize as transformational.
Nearly all influencer campaigns (93 percent) use Instagram to reach consumers, a CreatorIQ survey shared with Mobile Marketer revealed, and the majority of social media influencers (80 percent) say that Instagram is their primary platform for branded posts.
Another reason marketers might prefer Instagram to Snapchat when looking to work with influencers is the platform’s recent crackdown on fake followers.
The finding that influencer follower count has halved since 2016 aligns with research by Fullscreen and Shareablee that found that mid-tier creators are seen as more engaging and trustworthy than both celebrities or microinfluencers. The falling follower counts could also be related to platforms’ crackdown on bots and fraudulent activity, as well as brands’ push for authentication of influencer followings. This could indicate that marketers are more likely to work with creators whose audience size has been authenticated and isn’t artificially inflated by fake followers or bots.
Influencer marketing initiatives will continue to grow in 2019, as well—meaning that Snapchat could stand to lose out on lucrative brand and advertising opportunities if they alienate their content creators and power users.
Online influencers can also drive your sales since consumers constantly look up to influencers for advice on what products and services to purchase. A Twitter study showed that roughly 40% of respondents purchase a product after they found out that asocial media influencer uses it. Furthermore, according to Bluecore, 85% of millennials discover new products through social media.