Leaked Snapchat documents show how its Snap Stars program pays influencers and best practices for posting (2024)

When Matthew, who uses the name MattyKay online for privacy reasons, heard in early 2022 that Snapchat was launching a program to share advertising revenue with creators, he emailed the company to show his interest.

He was not accepted into the program at that time. Then, last August, a company representative got in touch with him.

"It wasn't a big official thing. It was basically, 'Hey, let's get on a call, let's talk about this.' And we got on the call, they explained the program, then they added me to it," Matthew told Insider.

Matthew, who now has about 20,000 followers on Snapchat, is one of the platform's Snap Stars, which the company describes as "public figures or creators who bring some of the best and most entertaining content to Snapchat."

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The designation, which Snapchat picks creators for, offers perks including additional ways for creators to monetize their content.

Ad-revenue sharing on stories is one of those perks. The program is currently in beta mode with a select group of Snap Stars. High-profile influencers like David Dobrik and Hannah Stocking have said they make thousands of dollars directly through the program, Fortune reported. When asked about the ad program's eligibility criteria by Insider, Snap declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Snap Stars who aren't in the beta program are posting more on the platform in the hopes they'll be selected for this financially lucrative opportunity.

One creator, who asked to remain anonymous, told Insider that he believed Snap picks people for the ad beta who are well-known in the influencer community, have millions of followers, or have a direct relationship with members of Snap's administrative team, like he does. His identity is known to Insider.

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The creator met Snapchat executives at an event and expressed interest in becoming a Snap Star. After speaking with team, they verified his account and sent him a document outlining its creator program, which Insider has viewed.

"I was really excited because being a Snap Star really helps with your growth," he said. "You're going to see your audience expand, even on other platforms like TikTok, because Snap makes you more discoverable."

However, the effort to get the most out of the ad-share beta is too much for some.

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Matthew said he hasn't been taking advantage of the program, despite the possibility of making money from it. He thinks he'd have to post multiple times a day and feels like he would be "dumping content."

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"If you want it to be a successful thing, I think you're going to have to post a lot of interesting stories, and it's going to have to be every single day," he said.

The ad-share program is one of several monetization programs that Snap offers creators. These include a reward program for those who create short viral videos that are featured in the "Spotlight" section of the app; challenges where creators can earn cash for top-performing content; a program that allows certain creators to syndicate shows on the Stories page; grants for artists; a creator marketplace; gifting, which is available to Snap Stars; and more.

A document for creators shows Snap's best practices for posting

Snap has sent some Snap Starsguidelines with best practices for posting.

One 22-page deck viewed by Insider outlines the perks of being a Snap Star, like access to its gifting tool and a feature to view audience data and analytics.

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The deck also includes "pro tips" for optimizing stories and content, which are similar to some "best practices" the company sent Matthew via email when he first became a Snap Star. They have been edited for clarity:

  • Focusing on "day in the life experiences" by posting 20 to 50 Snap stories a day, so that subscribers are engaged for longer
  • Posting directly to the Snap Map, a feature that allows Snapchat users to see each other's location, so that users who aren't subscribed can easily discover your content
  • Making a strong "tile" on your feed, which is the most recent Snapchat photo or video taken
  • Captivating viewers in the first one to three snaps so they watch the whole story
  • Encouraging non-subscribers to subscribe a few times a week, and subscribers to turn on story notifications
  • Using captions, since a lot of people watch stories with sound off
  • Balancing commercial content with authentic personal content

The creator who got the deck said Snap told him these details aren't explicit criteria to be selected for the beta program, but he thinks following them will help solidify his account as one to be considered.

"I absolutely love Snapchat, and it's been a goal of mine to join their [ad-share beta] for a very long time now," he said. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll see how much effort I'm putting in, but in the meantime, it's a lot of fun."

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Tati Bruening, a Snap Star in the ad-share beta who Snapchat connected Insider with, is similarly enthusiastic about the app. Bruening, who has 130,000 subscribers on the platform, first joined by invitation from Snap last fall, and has been consistently earning since then.

"I like it because you don't have to edit your videos the way you do on other apps," she said. "To me, that makes it feel more authentic because they're seeing everything exactly as it is."

Still, the platform's perks, monetary or otherwise, aren't enough to convince everyone to invest time in it.

Even though he's started to earn a small amount of money, Matthew believes that the type of posting schedule Snapchat encourages does not fit his lifestyle — that of a tech video maker from South Carolina who spends most of his day at his desk.

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"I guess if your following wants to see every little detail of your life, I think that you're probably going to be good here," he said. "My outside life is not crazy interesting."

Leaked Snapchat documents show how its Snap Stars program pays influencers and best practices for posting (2024)

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