Snapchat rolls out analytics tool to win back the influencers it has lost to Instagram

Snapchat is finally giving influencers the analytics tool that they have been clamoring for, and that may bring them back to using its app.

Snapchat will give certain influencers access to an in-app analytics tool breaking down how their Stories perform and who their audiences are, the app’s parent company Snap announced on Wednesday. Influencers who are part of Snapchat’s Official Stories program — its version of Instagram’s verified profiles — or who have large audiences on Snapchat will be the first with access to the analytics tool. A Snap spokesperson did not immediately respond to a question asking what specific criteria Snap will use when deciding which influencers outside of the Official Stories program will be given access to the analytics tool.

Snapchat’s analytics tool will detail the viewership of influencers’ Stories, as well as their follower bases, in a few different ways.

Snapchat will detail influencers’ Stories viewerships and follower bases.

  • View counts: Snapchat will tell influencers how many views their Stories received in the past week, month and year, as well as the total number of minutes people spent watching their Stories over those time periods.
  • Viewership details: Snapchat will show influencers how their viewership trends for each day of the past week, including how many people viewed their Story, how much time on average each person spent viewing it and what share of viewers viewed a given day’s Story to completion.
  • Audience breakdowns: Snapchat will segment an influencer’s followers by gender, age group, geographic region and interests.

What influencers want from Snapchat

The analytics tool should help influencers sell brands on sponsoring their Stories on Snapchat and help Snap sell influencers on posting Stories to Snapchat again.

After Facebook-owned Instagram copied Snapchat’s Stories feature in August 2016, influencers largely abandoned Snapchat in favor of Instagram’s larger audience and influencer-friendly tools, such as the analytics provided to accounts that have converted to Instagram’s business profiles. Then, in November 2017, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel acknowledged that his company had “neglected” influencers and said that it would begin to actively support influencers in 2018.

According to several influencers, Snapchat has an opportunity to win them back, and an analytics tool is central to Snapchat seizing that opportunity.

“I would really like to see more analytics from Snapchat. I would like to see how many people actually follow me and what percentage of my followers are watching my Snapchat Story,” Rosy McMichael, an influencer within Univision Creator Network, said in December.

Why influencers want better analytics

According to McMichael, more detailed audience breakdowns would help her to sell brands on sponsoring her Stories because marketers could see how her audience overlaps with a brand’s target audience. And now Snap is giving influencers like her exactly that.

The audience breakdowns featured in Snapchat’s analytics tool mirror the targeting options that Snap provides advertisers — e.g., the interest categories are the same as Snapchat’s interest-based targeting parameters, Snap Lifestyle Categories — and can make it easier for influencers to pitch brands on sponsoring their Stories.

For example, an influencer would now be able to share with a brand a screen shot of their Snapchat audience analytics to show them how much their audience may over-index compared to Snapchat’s average user base when it comes to “movie goers” or “frequent travelers,” so that the brand may opt to sponsor the influencer’s Story in order to supplement their ads targeting that audience on Snapchat or potentially in lieu of running ads against that audience.

Of course, audience breakdowns are only as good as the size of the audience. With its recent redesign that separates public Stories from influencers, publishers and brands into the Discover tab apart from the Stories and private messages from a person’s friends, questions loom. If people primarily use Snapchat to chat with their friends, will they stick to that side of the app and be less likely to swipe to the other side of Snapchat to check out Stories on Discover? Given the tile-based design and algorithmic ranking of Stories on Discover, will people need to scroll farther down to find influencers’ Stories, and if they don’t, will that hurt their rankings even more? Has Snapchat made itself a better or worse home for influencers?

For now, no one knows the answer — at least no one outside of Snap — but with the new analytics tool, soon influencers might.

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About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.

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