Snapchat is forging a strong comeback in the social media arena thanks to a focus on accessible creative applications. Here’s what you need to know.
Social distancing regulations imposed by Covid-19 continue to usher in a burgeoning DIY culture and Snapchat is taking full advantage with the introduction of two new digital design features, ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Voisey’.
Aspiring artists are forgoing regular career steps like specialist colleges and massive tuition fees in favour of going it alone with everyday digital applications. And frankly, why not?
While some maybe missing out on academic opportunities, the big upside is that lockdown provides creatives with plenty of time to hone their craft, and if you wish to go hunting for creative briefs and commissions, there’s decent profit to be made.
Once deemed a specialist industry that’s generally tough to crack into, digital design can become a lucrative hobby simply by getting to grips with accessible and free AR softwares instantly available on smartphones, like Facebook’s Spark AR or Snapchat’s Lens Studio. Building out an online community and professional portfolio has never been simpler, thanks to social media.
Speaking of accessible and free software, the introduction of Snapchat’s Spotlight and Voisey features have just dropped in the same week and it’s looking like Snapchat may very well become the place to get noticed and potentially start earning for digital designers in 2021.
Social media data shows that 75% of Snapchat’s young user base has persisted with the platform purely for its swappable camera ability and AR filters, but Snapchat isn’t too keen on the fact that its content is constantly going viral on Instagram and TikTok.
Up steps Spotlight, Snapchat’s very own music powered, vertical, short bite video feature to showcase its community’s creative talent from directly within the app. The good news is, if you’re familiar with TikTok you’ll quickly feel at home here, though Snap’s philosophy is very different.
The default setting on Spotlight will stop your profile from being instantly visible to people viewing your post, which means initially you can dabble in short bite AR content creation without attracting unwanted attention – perhaps while learning the nuances of the feature.
Obviously if the name of the game is to quickly go viral and gain lasting fame you probably won’t consider this anonymity a good thing, but for those starting out it eliminates any sort of disadvantage in terms of getting views. Those mixing in famous social media circles will have to go through the same hurdles as first-time posters, and won’t be able to coast with mediocre content just because of their hefty following. If you have an original idea or design, this is arguably your best chance to get it seen.
To engender this feeling of quality over quantity, Snapchat will be sharing its revenue with Spotlight’s creatives too. Any video that receives upwards of 100,000 views a day will receive a chunk of Snapchat’s $1million dollar pot every 24 hours, and uploads in the top 5 to 10 will make some serious money.
If you want to get in on the act now and try its features out, or have a stab at making it big on the platform then you can find Spotlight on the home screen denoted by a play button.
What good is it going up against giants like TikTok without a huge music library for creatives to layer over their videos? On that front, Snapchat has again taken a unique avenue.
In terms of official music licences, Snapchat is similar to TikTok in that its selection is pretty sparse, but is making up for it by encouraging people to create their own music with its recent acquisition of vocal effects app Voisey.
Again clearly taking aesthetic inspiration from TikTok, Voisey allows users to create their own instrumentals, which can be overlaid with your own singing and spruced up with various audio filters like auto tune, automated harmonies, and even a Billie Eilish type effect. With a selection of AR effects and filters to play around with, accompanying videos can be also created and uploaded to its community.
On the surface the app may appear to be just a bit of a laugh, but don’t get it twisted. It has the potential to draw the attention of serious industry folk, as Olivia Knight – known as ‘Poutyface on the app – displayed by signing with Island Records earlier this year.
There has yet to be official word on whether Voisey will become a direct extension of Spotlight, but given that both Snapchat developments have both dropped so close to one another it’s safe to assume that it probably is in the pipeline.
So there you have it, two big updates to get stuck into. Anyone with real ambitions of making a career in social media, digital design, and definitely in modern marketing should give Spotlight and Voicey some real attention over the coming weeks, before they go fully mainstream.
Creatives… stay ahead of the curve and get tinkering!