Snapchat, the Snap-owned image-messaging app with 187 million users, is making more audience data available to creators on its platform to appeal to social influencers who have cultivated a following. The analytics feature will tell Snapchatters with sizable audiences how their stories have been performing and who is looking at them, per Variety.
The data include weekly, monthly and year-to-date counts of story views and information on how much time Snapchat users spend viewing stories, which have multiple images linked together in a single post. Snap also provides daily reach and engagement metrics, and demographic information about the Snapchatter’s audience.
Snap is sharing the information with Snapchatters who belong to the Official Stories creator community. These users have verified accounts, which Snapchat mostly reserved for celebrities in the past. Snapchatters who have large followings on the service also will be able to see the viewership metrics.
Snapchat has struggled to build a vibrant creator community in part because of a lack of audience insight, information that brands demand when looking to partner with influencers, making the news about audience data an important development. Snapchat has in the past focused more on how it is used among friends for communication, but influencer marketing has now evolved into an important digital marketing strategy, one that continues to grow, meaning Snapchat cannot afford to ignore if it is to drive its own growth.
The news is also the second example this week of Snapchat striking back at Instagram, which has stolen a lot of its thunder by comping the app's features and luring away influencers. Earlier this week, it was reported that Snapchat is offering free ad credits to first-time advertisers who have purchased ads on Instagram or another competitor in the past.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said during a conference call to discuss the company's Q3 2017 results that it wanted to reverse course from its past neglect of the creator community who use that platform to distribute public Stories for a broader audience, per Variety. Giving these creators more tools to monitor viewership and audience data is one step toward sharing revenue with Snapchatters who have amassed a following, as Spiegel had promised.
Snapchat needs these creators to help maintain and grow its audience, especially after this week’s launch of a redesigned app that triggered a backlash among users who threatened to abandon the platform for Facebook-owned Instagram. The redesign appeared to be helping to boost user growth, but not everyone was happy with the new format. A Change.org petition asking Snapchat to bring back its old design had amassed more than 1 million signatures by Thursday morning.
The viewership and audience data may help social influencers seek sponsorships or brand partnerships, which are more common on other social platforms such as Google’s YouTube and Facebook-owned Instagram. Last year, Instagram doubled the number of posts showing the #ad hashtag that indicates a sponsored post to 1.5 million, per a study on influencer marketing by Klear.