Last Thursday, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, went public.
And in spite of questions about Snap’s growth, finances and competition, investors were eager to buy shares in the company, bidding its shares up by 44% over the original offering price.
By the close of trading, Snap was worth approximately $34 billion, giving the young company a valuation around three times that of elder social platform Twitter.
But while investors seem enthused about Snap’s prospects, at least for the moment, according to a BuzzFeed story, some of Snapchat’s biggest influencers are heading for greener pastures on competing services like Facebook-owned Instagram and Google-owned YouTube.
One influencer, Mike Platco, was turned away when he attempted to visit Snap’s offices in 2014. Today, he has some 500,000 followers on Snap and reportedly earns as much as $80,000 for campaigns, but his relationship with Snap apparently hasn’t warmed much over the years. As a result, Platco is working to move his followers over to Instagram.
“Every single bad thing I could possibly say about Snapchat, I could say the opposite of how my relationship is going with Instagram,” he told BuzzFeed.
Platco apparently isn’t alone. “Where [Snapchat] used to be the primary platform they were making content for, now it’s like a secondary platform where they’ll make content for other platforms and repost it on Snapchat,” an individual who manages influencers stated.
In some cases, influencers are turning their attention to other platforms out of pure necessity. One, Sallia Goldstein, said that the Snapchat Android app had become all but unusable for her and support messages to Snap went unanswered. Despite her desire to maintain her presence on Snapchat, like Platco, she’s moving to Instagram.
Snap bets on friends and family, not its homegrown stars
Some observers suggest that Snap is intentionally not rolling out the red carpet for influencers, and Snap has essentially confirmed this by stating that its strategic focus is on friends and family users.
Given the risks and challenges that influencers can create for social platforms, there might be some wisdom in Snap’s strategy. After all, if it can avoid being overly dependent on a small percentage of its most popular users, that would probably be a good thing.
But at the same time, there’s no doubt that for better or worse, influencers and their content are big draws for platforms like Snapchat and its competitors.
Even if Snap would prefer to focus on friends and family, the company’s wisdom in letting its biggest stars bring their followings to other platforms will certainly be questioned if its user growth and revenue figures disappoint shareholders when Snap starts issuing quarterly earnings reports.