Snapchat doesn't allow sponsored content on its TikTok rival, Spotlight

Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Insider Influencers, our weekly rundown on the business of influencers, creators, and social-media platforms. Sign up for the newsletter here.

In this week’s edition:

  • Snapchat’s TikTok rival has banned sponsored posts, a key element of the influencer industry.

  • How much money a nano influencer makes on YouTube.

  • The team building David Dobrik’s buzzy new app, Dispo, which is now worth $200 million.

  • And more including The Try Guys’ new Food Network special and the 10 most-booked talent on Cameo.

But before we get started, I want to first introduce a new reporter on the business of influencers team, Molly Innes!

Molly is based in the UK and you can reach her at [email protected] and on Twitter @molllyinnes. She will be covering all things related to influencer marketing.

Snapchat’s flashy TikTok rival has lured creators with direct payments but has banned sponsored posts

Snapchat is paying millions of dollars to some creators who have high-performing posts on its new TikTok competitor, Spotlight.

This has caused renewed interest in the app from the creator community, which has historically been lukewarm on its potential as a money-making platform.

But creators have run into one big challenge already: sponsored posts are “not supported” by Spotlight.

Many influencers said they don’t believe Snapchat’s payments will last as a sustainable revenue source indefinitely, and question the feature’s longevity if Snap doesn’t integrate brands into it.

Sydney Bradley wrote about Snapchat’s monetization restrictions:

  • Besides sponsored posts, Spotlight also prohibits linking, a feature that could be used by creators to share affiliate links for commission.

  • Snap’s direct payment program was only guaranteed to last through the end of 2020, though it’s still going and no clear end date has been announced.

  • Industry insiders say the key to Spotlight’s success lies in creating a long-term ecosystem that allows creators to earn money. 

Read the full post on Spotlight here.

Have more information on Snapchat’s Spotlight feature? Email me: [email protected]

A college YouTuber with 6,800 subscribers explains how much money she earns and her filming strategy

Meghan Pruitt is a college influencer on YouTube and she treats filming videos in her dorm room like a part-time job.

Pruitt is part of a trend of YouTubers getting subscribers by sharing their college experiences (move-in videos are particularly popular).

I spoke with Pruitt who shared details on her YouTube business as a nano influencer: 

  • Her YouTube channel earned $1,920 in 2020 with 744,000 views. 

  • Over the last three months, her channel has earned between $82 (February) and $505 (December) in ad revenue. 

  • Her earnings fluctuate seasonally, with typically higher ad rates toward the end of the year.

Read more on her YouTube business here.

Meet the 8-person team building Dispo, YouTube star David Dobrik’s photo app that just relaunched and is reportedly valued at $200 million

Social-media star David Dobrik just relaunched his photo-sharing platform, Dispo.

And it’s getting major attention in the tech world.

The app raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital at a valuation of about $200 million, Axios reported on Wednesday.

I spoke with the 8-person team of designers and engineers currently working on the app:

  • Recent hires include TJ Taylor, vice president of community, and Michael Shillinburg, designer and 3D animator.

  • The app is designed to mimic the experience of using a disposable camera, and users have to wait until 9 a.m. the next day to view a picture.

  • The Dispo team is currently working on new features like creating photo filters, and is looking to fill more roles to grow the team.

Read more on the team building Dispo here.

YouTube stars The Try Guys break into traditional TV with new Food Network production

YouTube creators The Try Guys are working on a new Food Network special to air on TV and Discovery Plus.

Dan Whateley wrote that Food Network is the latest legacy media company to hire social-media stars in a push to reach new audiences.

The project is based on the group’s YouTube series “Without a Recipe,” and they will travel to different restaurants and compete to cook menu items without looking at a recipe.

Read more about the new show here.

More creator industry coverage from Insider:

  • The 10 most-booked talent on the celeb shout-out app Cameo in 2020, including one who made over $1 million (Amanda Perelli)

  • We are seeking nominations for the top PR agents for YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram stars in 2021. Submit your ideas here. 

  • MrBeast Burger has sold over 1 million sandwiches since launching in December (Dan Whateley)

Industry updates:

  • TikTok star Josh Richards and TalentX exec Michael Gruen are launching a production company focused on Gen-Z content creators.

  • TikTok is testing a marketplace where brands and third-party sellers can accept payments inside the app.

A talent agency is launching a mentorship program for Black micro influencers

Noire Management, an agency that represents creators of color, is launching a mentorship program for 10 Black micro influencers.

Noire MGMT founder Ernest B. James partnered with Digital Brand Architects to build a program that would help address inequities in the influencer industry. 

Mentees will be provided with resources about understanding analytics, pitching brands, negotiating rates, and other key topics for building their businesses. 

Influencers with between 25,000 and 90,000 followers on any social-media platform and across content categories are eligible. The program launches in March. Apply here.

This week from Insider’s digital culture team:

Black doctors are being targeted on Clubhouse after trying to educate people about the COVID-19 vaccine

Doctors are using the Clubhouse app to encourage people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Insider reporter Moises Mendez II spoke with numerous doctors who said they were harassed and bullied after discussing the vaccine on Clubhouse. 

Black doctors in particular have faced substantial pushback, adding to the biases they already face.

Check out the full story here.

More on digital culture: 

  • The host of a top Spotify podcast, “Reply All,” has stepped down amid union bullying claims. 

  • Animal rights activist That Vegan Teacher has been banned on TikTok for violating community guidelines.

  • Jeffree Star’s ex-boyfriend appears to be dating a top OnlyFans performer.

Here’s what else we’re reading: 

  • The CEO of esports company Evil Geniuses explains how teams make money (Nilay Patel, from The Verge)

  • Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become a growing market for digital art and media (Erin Griffith, from The New York Times)

  • Brands are now on the buzzy audio-only app Clubhouse (Kimeko McCoy and Seb Joseph, from Digiday)

  • Spotify wants to help creators make money through subscriptions and ads (Ashley Carman, from The Verge)

Subscribe to the newsletter here. 

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