Snapchat creators are posting hundreds of times a day about their lives and making millions along the way

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  • Snapchat began in early 2022 sharing ad revenue from stories with creators.
  • The program offers a sustainable new payment source for short-format content.
  • The revenue model also encourages posting blitzes, often in lieu of privacy.

Influencer Alyssa McKay rarely takes time off from Snapchat, adding 100 to 200 photos or videos to her stories each day as she details the minutiae of her life. 

When her grandfather passed away, she said she still uploaded to the app. On Christmas? 100 stories.

“Even if it’s a day where I’m super tired and I’m not doing anything, I’ll be like, ‘Guys, I am doing nothing all day. Ask me questions,'” she told Insider.

The 23-year-old doesn’t just post on the app to connect with her roughly 2 million subscribers. Uploading Snapchat stories can be lucrative for influencers like McKay since Snap Inc., the app’s owner, began in early 2022 sharing revenue from mid-roll ads on stories with users. McKay said that since joining the program — available to verified users called Snap Stars — she’s earned “well over a million dollars,” a figure confirmed by a source familiar with the matter. 

Compared to YouTube videos, or even content for short-video platforms like TikTok, Snapchat stories require less effort to produce. Creators can skip laborious tasks like video editing or thumbnail creation. In exchange for the lower-lift work, they often trade their privacy.

“They see everything I do, every single day, from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, literally,” McKay told a crowd of marketers at Snap’s NewFront event in May.

While giving fans constant access to an influencer’s life has “The Truman Show” energy, some creators view the content style as liberating and far more efficient than other apps.

“The privacy thing is kind of something you take with being a content creator,” Leilani Green, a beauty and makeup creator with 845,000 subscribers on Snapchat, told Insider. “You have to be built for not as much privacy as a typical person.”

For Eloise Head, who posts recipes as Fitwaffle on social media, the raw, “random” content she uploads on Snapchat provides a break from the constant curation required elsewhere. It doesn’t matter that she has to post over 100 times a day to maximize the views — to her, it feels like a more genuine way to connect with her audience.

“All the other platforms are about a profile, they stay there forever. People go look at that profile and they decide to follow you based on how your feed looks,” she said. “Whereas Snapchat stories are very different because they disappear, every new day you start fresh.”

Head began posting daily on Snapchat in the spring of 2022, and less than a year later, her stories often hit one million views a day and counting, and her revenue is also growing steadily.

“Monetarily, the amount of work versus the outcome is way higher than the other platforms,” she said.

Content dumps and scheduling make the work more tenable for some

Some creators have found ways to hack the stories program to avoid “livestreaming” their lives all day.

Rick Lox, a food creator with around 215,000 Snapchat subscribers, said he sets dedicated times in the morning, afternoon, and evening to upload stories.

“It might be like 30 in the morning, 40 in the afternoon, and then 30 at night,” he said. “Usually it adds up to roughly a hundred per day.”

Snapchat also added the ability for members of its Snap Stars program to schedule stories, offering influencers more flexibility for when they choose to upload content, Francis Roberts, the company’s head of creator partnerships, told Insider.

“Some creators are batch uploading where they’re like, ‘Hey I’m going through my day, I’m going to capture this stuff and then at one moment, I’m going to put it all up together,” Roberts said. 

YouTuber David Dobrik told The Information that he takes this approach by capturing photos and videos of his activities throughout the day, but only actually uploads them once, in bulk.

From a user perspective, Snapchat stories provide a different taste inside the life of creators that followers don’t get on other platforms, where video content is often repurposed and repackaged ad nauseam.

“I’m not just using a cookie-cutter approach to repurpose what I do on other platforms, I’ve adopted it into my lifestyle,” said creator Brandom Baum, who recently started experimenting with stories.

Is short, low-lift content the future of creator monetization?

Snapchat may be incentivizing creators to broadcast every minute of their lives, which isn’t for everyone.

“I am not a huge fan of the ‘binge posting’ method, but I see the appeal for some larger creators. I think it works well for some people and not so well for others,” said Matthew, a creator who goes by MattyKay online.

Still, Snapchat appears to have found a clear path to splitting ad revenue with its users for short-form content. For most creators Insider spoke with, that’s a game changer.

As short-video content has gobbled up attention time, it’s also disrupted the ad-revenue model that YouTube popularized where pre, mid, and post-roll ads could be easily traced back to specific creators’ work.

TikTok and YouTube’s attempts at sharing in-stream ad revenue with creators for short videos has produced measly payouts thus far. Snapchat’s stories program, which introduces mid-roll ads to short content streams tied to a specific creator, could offer the best of both worlds.

“If you do the math, 16 hours a day awake is 960 minutes, so 200 photos works out to a little more than one photo every five minutes of your waking life. Very similar to livestreaming your life,” said creator-economy expert Jim Louderback. “Seems a bit excessive to me, but if a creator wants to do it and it makes money then why not?” 

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