I’m Snapchat Friends with Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande

Snapchat is probably the most used app on my phone. This is also probably true for many others. Snapchat is my favorite social media platform for several reasons.

  • The visual component makes it much more exciting than a simple text or Facebook message
  • A personal snapchat is much more intimate, whereas an Instagram photo or a Facebook status is for everyone to see
  • I don’t see any ads, unless I watch the “Discover” or “Live” snap stories, and out of all the free things in the world, ad free is probably one of my top favorites

Sometimes I spend about 30-45 minutes on Snapchat, pretending to be an artist.



Happy midterms week?

Also, I bet not everybody knows how to get black and white from the color palette!

While Snapchat has provided me great entertainment, I’ve also been wondering how it can really move forward in terms of revenue. We really haven’t seen much–there are the “Live” and “Discover” snap stories that I mentioned earlier, which do contain sponsored ads. However, if people choose to not view them, how exactly are they going to make money?

In addition, Facebook is a data giant. It knows way too much about us and has almost perfected consumer targeting because not only does it have a ton of data, but it can also predict and mimick existing data to target other consumers who might fit that persona. So if you think about it, Facebook can reach and provide relevant content to every single user. On the other hand, Snachat simply does not have nearly as much data to really reel in ad revenue. On a different note, I was thinking about influencer marketing using Snapchat. How can influencers really “influence” if they must be added back in order for people to see their snaps? I hope I’m making sense here – I mean that for someone to reach others, he or she has to first add other users, and these users will have the option to either add them back or ignore and even block them. If these users block the influencer, how can the brand message be communicated?

Then I found out that what I just described is NOT how it works. There are actually influencers you can add by username and can then view their snap stories without them having to add you back. So turns out, they’re not really chasing us – we’re chasing them. And this makes sense because if we’re big fans of, say, Jenna Marbles (YouTube personality), and she provides her Snapchat username, many of us probably would be interested in adding her and seeing her snaps.

There are actually a lot of celebrities with public usernames. This list here provides usernames of Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Calvin Harris, One Direction, and more. I added some of them just for fun, and here are a few Snapchats I’ve seen so far from our favorite celebrities.

Ariana Grande wishing her fans a good day

Ariana Grande wishing her fans a good day

The Biebs showing us his tattoo

The Biebs showing us his tattoo

Paris Hilton here, though not sure what she's doing

Paris Hilton here, though not sure what she’s doing

Joe Jonas being Joe Jonas

Joe Jonas being Joe Jonas

But wait, if they didn’t have to add me back for me to see their snap stories, does that mean I can also send snaps directly to them? Does that mean they get millions of snaps from fans everyday? Nope, it does not mean that.


You can see here that I sent a snap to a few celebrities and some other influencers, and the arrow quickly turned grey to indicate that it’s pending and that they would not see my snap until they have added me back. And so I guess I lied in the title of this blog post, but I was hoping it would catch your attention?

One thing I learned from this little experiment is that you cannot simply become an influencer on Snapchat by adding other people, hoping that they will add you back and will look at your snap story. You have to already be an influencer and you have to already have a large following in order to “influence” on Snapchat. Now, this makes perfect sense and you might be thinking that I did not have to go through my experiment to figure this out.

But take a look at this:

IMG_1881 IMG_1880

Who are all these random people adding me on Snapchat by my username??? I used to think they were trying to become influencers by sharing their content with me once I’ve added them back, but I’m now realizing that this was just all spam, and they found my username because Snapchat had some security issues not too long ago.

I also realize that I never elaborated on my thoughts about how Snapchat can make money, but that’s a topic for another post.


  1. Great post! I think snapchat will definitely start using influencers more to start increasing revenue. I believe the celebrities just have public snapchat accounts and that is the way everyone can see their stories. I just recently followed a few celebrities on snapchat for the first time. I think it’s a really cool way to see behind the scenes footage and it makes them seem more normal which is kind of neat. Keep up with the personal snap chatting, maybe some day you will get a response!

  2. Great idea of a post! I also believe snapchat will definitely start using influencers more to start increasing revenue. I think another way influencers can enter into snapchat is if they target major sports teams. Following your favorite celebrities or sports teams is a great way to get a message out to the public and create revenue for the company. I thought this was a very well thought out post with a clear message and great detail.

  3. The idea of using influencers to increase revenue, in my opinion, is very similar to the discover tabs that are available now. In some ways, I feel like celebrities/sports teams and their sponsors will end up creating such revenue for Snapchat. On another note, Snapchat definitely figured out an intimate way for fans to get “closer” to their celebrities in a similar way to Twitter. Knowing that your favorite celebrities and athletes are snapping or tweeting makes them seem a lot more accessible than they actually are! That being said, Snapchat could definitely figure out a way to increase revenue with that knowledge in mind.

  4. I highly recommend following “bachsnaps” during Bachelor/Bachelorette season. I’m not sure about the mechanics of how the account gets passed around, but different Bachelor and Bachelorette personalities from previous seasons send snapchats detailing their post-Bachelor franchise lives.

    I won’t comment on how Snapchat can generate revenue here, but it does seem that brands would have a much better chance of monetizing their Snapchat presence by teaming up with an influencer, rather than continuing to invest in the Discover tab. If Justin Bieber is drinking Sprite on Snapchat, that’s a highly-visible endorsement for the brand that could convert to significant sales.

  5. This is a great post! I too had lots of random people follow me on snapchat, and I would just ignore their requests. I think it is great that we are able to follow our favorite celebrities and see their day to day routine. It also helps celebrities grow bigger followings and develop deeper connections with their fans. Although these celebrities are not actually Snapchatting their fans directly, it gives them a more personal following of their life. I do not know how big of an issue it is now, but Snapchat needs to ensure that these spam accounts are taken care of and deleted. Twitter went through a similar problem a few years back when their was a surplus of spam accounts inflating follower numbers.

  6. Enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for the insight. SnapChat has taken over as my favorite social media app as well. But you’re right, it remains be seen how they will compete with giants like Facebook and Twitter for revenue share. As for the celebrity appeal, I think it’s great. As a few people have mentioned, it enables fans to better connect with their favorite celebrities. It humanizes them in a way because we get to see some of their daily routines. Finally, I have received various spam accounts try to add me on SnapChat too–pretty annoying. Hopefully they can take measures to prevent this from being a problem in the future.

  7. awesome post – even more awesome snapart and snappuns

  8. Great post! I am a big fan of snapchat for the very same reason; I use it to follow some of my favorite celebrity personalities. Sometimes I enjoy those snapchats more than snapchats of my friends. When celebrity personalities post, they want to make sure they entertain their fans and give them a behind the scenes look of their lives. I think its great and that it brings us closer to these celebrities. Snapchat almost “humanizes” them. Instead of only seeing an actor or singer on TV or the stage, you can see what they are doing before the show or what they are doing at home. I love the idea of Snapchat having celebrities on Snapchat, but I’m just not sure if Snapchat should use it for revenue. Also, I hope companies don’t use celebrities and tell them to advertise products on their account. Right now these celebrity snapchats are organic, and I hope it stays that way.

  9. I love your snapchats! I’m also a huge fan of snapchat and it’s probably the social media platform I use the most frequently. You actually investigated something I’ve been wondering about as well, since I’ve added some “influencers” on snapchat and wasn’t sure how it worked. Thanks for the info! Maybe brands can become “influencers” as well and that’s a way to monetize Snapchat and have more conversation with customers. Like @luthraaditya said, I really hope celebrity snapchats don’t become essentially advertisements. But I would definitely be open to adding some companies I love on Snapchat if they joined and showed creative content.

    1. Actually just had another thought about this— I wonder if somehow Snapchat could integrate into the “real-time” marketing trend for retail and brick & mortar stores. Already they have geolocation capabilities (i.e. geofilters), why not have brands that you friend on snapchat send you snaps of sales going on that day, near you? That could potentially be linked back to ROI

  10. Clever title, definitely grabbed my attention. I think it’s awesome that celebrities are making their snapchats public for there fans, as they’re not essentially selling anything but maintain a loyal fan base. I follow several celebrities including famous DJs because its interesting seeing these figure in private settings doing every day things. It kind of makes them more human to us and every day people. I even follow celebrities I find obnoxious (ex. Kylie Jenner) which doesn’t exactly make sense but just adds to how relevant social media is to our every day lives.

  11. Ah, but you dodged the most important question – money. That’s always been my biggest concern about Snapchat. They certainly have good usage. My concern is that the nature of that usage will not lend itself well to monetization. They certainly have created a powerful platform, but that’s my greatest concern about its future. I’d welcome any ideas you may have. I thought they might try to monetize Snapchat stories as a geofencing ad platform, but I don’t think they’ve moved in that direction.

    1. We will argue about their value until the end of time. Or until their IPO…

  12. Here’s the tipping point. I will now download snapchat. I’ve seen many tweets, blog posts, and a presentation or two that have now convinced me that I should be on snapchat.


    I’m learning how this now works. Worried that I’ll also spend 30 – 45 minuntes on my snaps.

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