Just about everyone would love to become wealthy overnight, but very few people are able to do it.
While there are endless options and opportunities for starting a business or making money online, most of them require quite a bit of work (and often, patience) before you can earn a significant amount.
Snapchat is changing that.
In recent months, young Snapchat users have been bringing in huge amounts of money very quickly, thanks to this popular platform and its new feature called Spotlight.
For example, an article recently published in the New York Times shares the stories of several Snapchat users, some of them still in their teens, who have been making life-changing amounts of money seemingly out of nowhere.
The people featured in the article include:
- Andrea Romo (27), a Lowe’s employee who earned about half a million dollars for posting a video of her sister deep frying a turkey.
- Cam Casey (19), who has made nearly $3 million.
- CJ OperAmericano (24), who has been paid over $100,000 by Snapchat.
- Dax Newman (19), who has made about $30,000.
- Dominic Andre (27), who has been making about $100,000 per week.
- Joey Rogoff (21), an influencer who has exceeded $1 million in earnings.
- Katie Feeney (18), a high school senior who was paid over $1 million in two months.
Want to add your name to that list?
So we took a deep dive into some of the different ways to make money on Snapchat.
Interestingly, we found that there aren’t very many ways to directly monetize the platform (besides deep frying poultry, of course). But there are still a number of legit ways to leverage it as a money-making opportunity.
If you’re searching for how to make money on Snapchat, you probably already know at least a little bit about the platform. At the same time, it isn’t quite as intuitive as some other social media apps, and it has its own vocabulary.
So here’s a rundown of some of the key terms and phrases that you need to understand.
- Chat: A messaging feature that allows you to communicate with friends or groups. Chats are automatically deleted by Snapchat once they’ve been viewed or are expired.
- Stories: A compilation of photos and/or videos that will be available for 24 hours and then automatically deleted.
- Live Stories: Similar to Stories, except they’re photos or videos of other users at an event or a specific location. They’re also only available for 24 hours.
- Lenses: A way to use augmented reality to add fun effects to your selfies, which can be sent to your friends or posted to Stories (learn more here).
- Filters: Similar to lenses, but they’re static photo overlays instead of augmented reality.
- Snap Map: Allows users to share their location. Friends appear on a map as a Bitmoji.
- Snapchat Spotlight: The primary way that people are making money on Snapchat right now is Spotlight. Users can submit their best videos for a chance to earn a share of $1 million per day. Earnings are determined by factors like the number of views.
Spotlight launched in November of 2020 and is very similar to Instagram Reels and TikTok.
Snapchat’s attempt at becoming the go-to social media platform for influencers has been off to a hot start. Users have taken notice of the earning potential with Spotlight and the amount of content on the platform has been increasing.
Ways to Make Money on Snapchat
Now, let’s take a look at how to make money with Snapchat.
1. Create Viral Videos
The Snapchat users mentioned earlier in this article have all been making money with Spotlight, thanks to the success of their viral videos.
The more your videos (“Snaps” as they’re called) are viewed, the better chance you have of earning a portion of the more than $1 million paid out directly by Snapchat every day.
Will Stewart, who helped build the Snapchat management platform Mish Guru, said:
“Snap’s new Spotlight feature works similarly to TikTok, where a viral video has a reach potential of the feature’s users, rather than only those who follow you or are looking at a particular location on SnapMap. This means both massive influencers and a brand new creator have the opportunity of a viral moment and to make money, from a single video.”
Any Snaps you submit to Spotlight must meet a few basic guidelines:
- Vertical video with sound.
- Up to 60 seconds long.
- Must have a topic, which is basically a hashtag. You can see some suggested topics here.
- Must be appropriate for a 13+ audience.
- Cannot be a sponsored or promotional Snap.
- Gambling, tobacco, weapons, controlled substances, and excessive or underage alcohol consumption are not allowed.
Although Spotlight has some similarities to TikTok, there are also some noteworthy differences.
For instance, Spotlight Snaps don’t include a public comments section for interaction, and user profiles are private by default (users can adjust the settings to make their profile public).
That means users can submit videos to Spotlight while still maintaining a private Snapchat account.
How to do it: Submitting your Snap to Spotlight is really simple. You just create the Snap, then select “Spotlight” at the top of the “Send To” screen, and then tap the arrow to submit it.
Remember that the purpose of Spotlight is to showcase the best content that Snapchat users will love. So if you want to create a Snap that goes viral and earns money, you’ll need to submit something unique or entertaining.
How Does Snapchat Pick Spotlight Users?
Snapchat offers a specific section in the app for Spotlight. This is where the Snaps you submit to Spotlight may be seen by others.
Users can view Spotlight posts at any time, and Snapchat will show the Snaps they think users are most likely to appreciate (based on the other content that users like and topics they follow).
Spotlight uses an algorithm that determines which videos are shown, using factors like how many times the video has been skipped, watched, shared or liked.
As a video gains more momentum, it will get more views and earn more money for its creator.
What Works Well on Snapchat?
Now that you know more about Spotlight and how it works, the next step is to create popular videos that Snapchat’s younger audience will love.
According to Snapchat expert Will Stewart of the social media marketing platform Mish Guru, successful Spotlight snaps are likely to fall into one of the four categories below:
Inspiring: Stewart specifically highlighted dancing and skateboarding videos as being excellent options in this category. Short Snaps that showcase people doing amazing or inspiring things are likely to be well received.
Educational: Educational Snaps can also be effective, but keep in mind that you have no more than 60 seconds. The type of educational content that will do well on Snapchat is much different than longer videos that might be popular on YouTube or another platform.
That means quick-hitting tips and actionable advice are best.
Entrepreneur Miles Beckler noted that users should keep in mind the need for energy in their Spotlight Snaps.
“You’re not only competing with other influencers and media creators,” Beckler said. “You’re also competing for your audience’s attention. If you’re not producing entertaining, high-energy content, people are quickly going to scroll or click past.”
Pranks: Funny prank videos are also very popular and have the potential to go viral. Many of Cam Casey’s videos would fall into this category, including one of him exploding a bottle of Coke with a science experiment.
Memes and trends: Again, entertainment is the key aspect of this type of content. Use humor and creativity to create something that users will love to watch and share.
A great way to stay on top of what’s trending is to follow the Snapchatter Insights section of the Snapchat blog. Beyond that, this article on Insider showcases the top TikTok memes from 2020. Although it’s a separate platform, the content that will be popular on Spotlight is very similar.
2. Create Snapchat Ads for Businesses
Like most other social platforms, the Snapchat business model includes advertisements.
With more than 249 million people using Snapchat every day, including 75% of Millennials and Gen Z, there’s no denying that advertising on the platform presents incredible opportunities for businesses.
While the potential reach is great, most business owners (and even many seasoned marketers) are not familiar with the platform or how to create successful ads on it.
Marketing on Snapchat is much different than on Facebook, Pinterest or other social media sites and apps. So if you’re an active Snapchat user and you fit the demographic, you could create ads for businesses as a side hustle or even turn it into a full-time business.
Snapchat offers several different ad formats including:
- Collection ads (a series of products).
- Commercials (up to three minutes long).
- Filters (artistic overlays).
- Lenses (interaction with augmented reality).
- Single image or video ads.
- Story ads (a series of ads).
Ads can be used for many different purposes, including driving app installs, selling a product via an e-commerce website, attracting clicks to any type of website, or driving foot traffic to a local business.
The video below is an example of a successful ad for Game of Thrones.
This lens from Sephora is an example of an e-commerce website using augmented reality in advertising.
While these two examples are from larger companies, smaller brands and local businesses can benefit from Snap ads as well.
If you’re looking to make money on Snapchat, you could reach out to businesses that might be interested in getting exposure to Snapchat’s audience.
If you’re a Snapchat expert, business owners may be interested in paying you to create and manage their ad campaigns.
3. Leverage Sponsored Content or Affiliate Marketing
Instagram has been a popular platform for sponsored content the past few years, and Snapchat presets a similar opportunity.
Users who build significant audiences on Snapchat are able to promote products in exchange for a fee.
As an influencer, you would be able to create Snaps that showcase a brand or a product to your Snapchat followers, and get paid to do it.
Creating and publishing sponsored content usually involves a flat fee based on the influencer’s reach and audience. It’s possible to find sponsors on your own, or you can work with a platform like Mish Guru that helps you to connect with sponsors.
Another option is to use Snapchat to promote products as an affiliate. Affiliate marketing is a business model that’s popular with bloggers and website owners, but it can also be used on Snapchat.
While many other social networks have a lot of restrictions around affiliate marketing, that’s currently not the case with Snapchat. You can use links with any post, and you don’t have to cloak or disguise them.
As a result, you can create posts that showcase products, services or even other apps, and include your affiliate link to drive viewers to a landing page.
Although Snapchat is currently affiliate-friendly, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have success with any product that you promote. It’s critical that you promote the right types of products that will be a good fit with Snapchat users.
Remember that the audience is very young, so simple low-cost items tend to work best. Think about impulse purchases and what your followers would be likely to click through and buy.
Some keys to successful affiliate marketing on Snapchat include:
- Focus on building your audience. The more followers you have, the better your chances are for making money.
- Don’t sell all the time. You want your audience to engage with the content you post. If every post is promotional, your audience will stop paying attention to you.
- Products from Amazon and other websites that your audience is already familiar with are likely to work best. You may also qualify to join the Amazon Influencer program, which gives you special tools for promoting the company’s products.
- Consider using paid ads in addition to regular posts. You can start for as little as $5 per day and get more visibility for your Snaps.
For a more detailed guide on the topic, see this blog post from the affiliate marketing website Lemonads: How to Use Snapchat for Affiliate Marketing.
4. Ad Revenue Sharing
In early 2022, Snapchat launched a program where select users can share in the ad revenue generated from mid-roll advertisements in their Snap Stories.
This program is only open to Snapchat’s most prominent creators, called Snap Stars. (Note that this is a different designation from having a gold star on your profile, which you can get by verifying your account.)
Unfortunately, the program is currently in early beta and there’s no timeline for when it will be available to smaller creators on the platform. Additionally, there is no publicly-released data regarding specifically how much revenue is shared.
As a reference point, YouTube currently gives creators 55% of ad revenue. And while there are various ways to make money on TikTok, ad sharing isn’t one of them.
Ways for Business Owners to Make Money on Snapchat
So far, we’ve looked at some options for the typical Snapchat user who wants to make money on the platform. However, Snapchat can also be equally useful for business owners who have a product or service to promote. If that’s you, here are some of the possibilities.
1. Promote Your Products and Services Through Your Snapchat Content
Snapchat offers personal and business profiles. If you want to run paid ads on the platform, you’ll need a business profile. However, business owners can also have a personal profile just like anyone else.
The first way to use Snapshot for your existing business is simply to create content about your business, products, and services. Show your product in use or quickly explain the features and benefits.
2. Run Paid Snapchat Campaigns for Your Business
Earlier, we looked at the opportunity to get paid to create ads for businesses. Now we’re looking at the same topic from the perspective of the business owner. If you have a business to promote, Snapchat’s paid advertising options present a lot of possibilities.
To have the biggest impact with your campaign, get creative. Snapchat’s available ad formats give you some great options to engage users in unique ways.
The example below from Dunkin’ Donuts uses augmented reality (the screenshot doesn’t do it justice, so click through to see it in action on Twitter).
The use of lenses and filters can be especially effective because they’re fun for users and they don’t feel like the types of ads people are used to seeing on other platforms.
Looking for ideas? Snapchat has examples of successful real-world campaigns on their website that will provide plenty of inspiration.
3. Utilize Lenses
Snapchat offers Lens Studio, which is lens creator software that makes it possible even for small businesses to create amazing experiences for users.
With the help of augmented reality, a Snapchat lens provides unique promotional opportunities not available on other platforms.
Creating a sponsored lens could be an effective approach for many types of business, but it will take some effort to get familiar with Lens Studio and may require some trial and error to come up with something that really connects with Snapchat users.
If this is something you want to pursue, this article is an excellent resource: How Brands Can Use Snapchat Lenses to Growth Hack.
4. Utilize Geofilters
Geofilters are filters (overlays) that are accessible only to users in a specific area.
There are two different types:
- Community geofilters are free to create (although they must be approved by Snapchat) and they are ideal for cities or specific landmarks.
- On-demand geofilters are paid ads for business. Snapchat users near your business or in a particular location will have access to the fun filters that you’ve created.
Here’s an example of a community geofilter.
And here’s an example of an on-demand geofilter.
The cost you’ll pay for a geofilter ad will depend on the size of the area that you want to cover and the length of time that you want it to run.
Geofilters open up a lot of creative possibilities for advertisers and can be really fun for users.
The example above from Disneyland gives you an idea of one way that businesses are using on-demand geofilters. When users post these Snaps it serves as a great advertisement.
You could do something similar with a local restaurant to promote a special, or advertise a grand opening for a business.
FAQs About Making Money on Snapchat
Here are a few questions we’ve been asked about making money on Snapchat. Do you have questions that aren’t covered in this article? If so, leave a comment below — we’ll do the research, find the answer and update this FAQ section.
No, Snapchat does not pay users based on the number of views. Regular posts to Snaphat do not earn any money.
However, you can submit your best Snaps to Spotlight for a chance to earn a share of over $1 million paid out each day.
Snaps that go viral on Spotlight will earn money based on the number of views and other factors that aren’t specifically disclosed.
For most Snapchat users, there is no way to share in ad revenue. However, an ad revenue program was made available to a select set of top-tier Snapchat creators in early 2022. Eligibility for that program may be expanded in the future.
Snapchat Spotlight is currently paying out over $1 million per day to users. However, there is no specific amount that can be earned per user. Some users have reportedly made $100,000 per week or more.
Snapchat does not pay for filters, however, you can create filters or lenses for businesses as a service and earn money.
The terms “premium Snapchat” and “premium Snap” are euphemisms Snapchat accounts that feature adult content.
Users create a private Snapchat account and then charge people for access through off-app payment platforms like Patreon and Venmo.
Note that there is technically no such thing as a “premium account.” This is not a Snapchat feature or a supported practice.
In fact, all other considerations aside, using your Snapchat account in this manner is a violation of the company’s Terms of Service and can result in being removed from the platform.
Making Money on Snapchat: Summary
Snapchat offers plenty of possibilities for savvy users who want to leverage current trends to make money.
There are several different ways you can earn money, either directly or indirectly via Snapchat, but Spotlight currently offers the highest potential.
In order to leverage that potential, you need to create engaging content that works for the Snapchat audience, which tends to be younger than other platforms.
And while it certainly won’t happen for every user, those who are successful are able to earn huge amounts of money right now.
Read next: Check out more small scale business ideas.