Snapchat is now letting everyone on its platform share the number of subscribers to their accounts — a move designed to support creators who rely on building large followings to build their business on the app.
“We’ve listened to feedback from our creator community and many of them expressed interest in having the option to show that their community on Snapchat is growing,” a Snap rep said in a statement. “So, starting today, we are giving creators the option to make subscriber counts visible on their public profiles.”
Snapchat’s move to enable creators to display their follower counts was first reported by Tubefilter.
Some Snap Stars, whose accounts are verified by the company, have already made their subscriber counts public. Those include Kylie Jenner (36.4 million), Kim Kardashian (26.9 million), Khloé Kardashian (16.5 million), Kendall Jenner (15.8 million), Charli D’Amelio (13.8 million), DJ Khaled (13.4 million), Addison Rae (13.6 million), Selena Gomez (12.8 million), Ariana Grande (12.2 million), Loren Grey (10 million), Gigi Hadid (7 million), Liza Koshy (6.8 million), Michelle Obama (1.6 million) and Will Smith (386,000).
Snapchat users have been able to see their own subscriber counts, but until now the company resisted turning on the ability to make those public. For years, follower and subscriber counts have been a standard part of other social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Two years ago, CEO Evan Spiegel, speaking at the New York Times’ DealBook conference, disparaged the idea of follower counts — arguing that they amounted to a counterproductive popularity contest. “What people are experiencing on Instagram is, they don’t feel good about themselves. It feels terrible, they have to compete for popularity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Instagram had started a test in the U.S. to hide “like” counts from posts, which CEO Adam Mosseri was intended to “depressurize” the app and “make it less of a competition, give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them.” But so far, Instagram hasn’t turned off like counts on a broad scale.
Snap still doesn’t believe that follower metrics should be used to quantify friendships, according to a source familiar with the company’s strategy. Rather, the point is to give influencers another tool to promote themselves on the platform and grow their fanbase.
The ability for Snapchatters to show subscriber counts is optional. “We understand not every creator wants to have public metrics visible to their fans,” the Snap rep said. “Therefore, creators can choose to toggle this metric on and off as needed in their settings.”
According to Snap, the option to add follower counts is part of a broader suite of tools it has been introducing the last several months to better support Snap Stars and creators.
In September, for example, the company introduced Creator Profiles, extending the same features available to verified Snap Stars, with the ability to set up a permanent profile (with a bio, photo, URL, location and email contact), add “highlights,” a collection of photo and video content, and create Story Replies to engage with fans around the stories they post.
For the third quarter of 2020, Snapchat had an average of 249 million daily active users, up 11 million sequentially and an 18% year-over-year increase.
Spiegel attributed Snapchat’s Q3 growth to “product innovation and infrastructure improvements.” Content also spurred higher usage: Total daily time spent by Snapchat users watching shows increased more than 50% year-over-year in the quarter, according to the company.