It's interesting to note the varying approach to influential users being adopted by both Instagram and Snapchat.
In the case of Instagram, new reports suggest that the platform is now testing "creator account" profiles, which will offer additional data tools and options for high profile users.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
"Creator-specific tools that will be part of the new accounts include growth insights such as data around follows and unfollows, direct messaging tools that allow users to filter notes from, for example, brand partners and friends, and flexible labels which enable users to designate how they want to be contacted."
Instagram's Ashley Yuki, told THR that:
"Creators are an important part of our community. We want to make sure that Instagram is the best place, and the easiest place, to build fan communities and also build personal brands."
Essentially, Instagram's looking to give high-profile and prominent users a more dedicated experience, in order to keep them posting to Instagram, and keep their audiences engaged on the platform.
Which is in contrast to how some creators are coming to view Snapchat. According to a new report in AdAge, various high profile Snapchat influencers are considering quitting the platform outright over issues with how the company has treated - or largely, ignored - them.
Two of the platform's biggest names, Shaun McBride (a.k.a. 'Shonduras') and Cyrene Quiamco (a.k.a. 'CyreneQ') have raised significant concerns about their dealings with Snap, and are both now looking to expand their audiences elsewhere. That's not a good sign for Snapchat, which has been able to remain the cool app by facilitating high-profile, popular users, and keeping their dedicated fans coming back.
For Snap's part, a company spokesman told AdAge that it is developing new programs which will enable high profile users to earn money, including dedicated shows and new opportunities to boost exposure. It's worth noting too that not all Snap influencers report the same experiences as Shonduras and CyreneQ, but it does look to be another battleground in the Facebook vs Snap war, with Instagram sniffing out another opportunity to hit Snap where it hurts.
For Instagram, the addition of new, dedicated influencer features could be a big tick for the platform, which is already surging past Snap in terms of audience growth and revenue opportunities. Snapchat remains hugely popular with younger users, and there are groups who are hugely aligned to the platform, but it could be another area where Facebook's advanced systems put the squeeze on Snap, and limit opportunities.
That said, Snap can still win out, there are still plenty of opportunities for Snap to develop new programs to facilitate creators. But definitely, it's another area to keep an eye on in 2019.