Snapchat Spotlight, a new TikTok and Instagram Reels-like feature, announced in India

Better late than never.

Snapchat has rolled out a TikTok- and Instagram Reels-like feature on the platform named Spotlight.

“But how is it different from Instagram Reels?”, I asked a Snap executive, and here’s what I was told.

Democratising monetisation with Snapchat Spotlight

With Spotlight, Snapchat intends to share the space of short-form videos with platforms like Instagram. However, it wants to do this differently. Snap says it intends to “democratise monetisation” for content creators.

On Instagram and other similar platforms, to be able to earn money for your content:

  1. you require a public account to create shareable content;
  2. you need a minimum number of followers

With the launch of Spotlight, Snapchat wants to give content creators in India more choice. Monetisable content for Spotlight does not depend on the number of followers a content creator has, but on the number of views the particular content has received.

Snap Inc says there will be a threshold for the number of views on a post, and the moment that is crossed, a creator can earn money on the content. However, Snap India’s executive did not share the exact threshold for the views with me.

For all content monetised on Spotlight, depending on the views, creators will earn a share of a daily bounty of US $1 million.

 Snapchat Spotlight, a new TikTok and Instagram Reels-like feature, announced in India

Snapchat Spotlight launched in India

Responsible moderation

One of the biggest challenges a content creator faces online is with interactions, including comments shared by other users. In fact, like counters on social media platforms are believed to affect users’ confidence, and even Instagram has been working on removing the same from its own platform.

Snapchat has taken a slightly different path from the beginning.

On any of the Spotlight posts, neither will there be a like counter, nor the option for public comments.

To submit content to Spotlight, a user may not need to own a public account; you can share “original content” even with your regular Snapchat account with default privacy settings.

Snapchat-spotlight-india

Snapchat Spotlight gives you the choice to show or hide your username in the submitted posts. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Creators on Spotlight can also choose to hide their username from the content and post it as an anonymous user.

Snap Inc also says that “stolen” or “reposted” content from other platforms will be reviewed, and the primary push for Spotlight is “original content”.

Every piece of content shared or reported on the platform will be reviewed by both humans and AI.

Sharing Spotlight content across other platforms

Unlike other platforms that require a viewer to watch short videos on the native app, Snapchat Spotlight videos can be shared across platforms such as WhatsApp and Twitter. These videos can be viewed across different platforms. However, Snap Inc says that when a user wants to interact with the post beyond just viewing it, they will then be redirected to Snapchat.

Snapchat Spotlight: How it looks and works

If you head to the Snapchat app now – on both Android and iOS – you will now see a ▶️ button on the extreme right at the bottom. That is where all your Spotlight posts will show. Interacting with Spotlight content is very similar to how you explore Instagram Reels or watch(ed) videos on TikTok – just keep swiping up for more.

You will notice that some posts on Spotlight show a username and some don’t. There is no option to post a comment on any of the videos. There is a like counter, but you won’t see how many likes a post has, however, you can see how many times a video has been viewed. The videos can be up to 60 seconds in length.

Snapchat Spotlight offers various editing tools.

Snapchat Spotlight offers various editing tools.

To create a Spotlight, just tap on the Snapchat camera and start shooting. You will see various editing tools on the right. Snapchat also has its own music library, which is currently not searchable. There is also an option to add your own music.

Snapchat Spotlight videos are not ephemeral in nature. Like Reels, they remain there for as long as you don’t remove them.