Out of all the social networks used around the world today, Snapchat might be the strangest one we’ve see. Unlike other social networks, Snapchat was originally built on being temporary, acting as a daily diary written in disappearing ink rather than a permanent record of your thoughts and actions. The ability to make things disappear overtime was what made the app popular to begin with, and we’ve seen its greatest features copied by apps like Facebook and Instagram almost directly. Since then, Snapchat has, perhaps, gotten a bit lost in the woods with its original premise. The app has become increasingly feature-packed, with brand-new features added every couple months like group chats, map tracking, and more. Snapchat has become so obsessed with adding contextual features, AR filters, and more in the quest to become an app for everything, it can be incredibly difficult to get used to if you’re unfamiliar with the basic functions of the app. Snapchat doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and it can make it tough for new members of the network to learn what the app does.
Also see our article What Do the Fruit on Snapchat Mean?
One thing littered all over the app: numbers. Whether they be ratings or “scores,” they are absolutely meaningless if you’ve never seen the app, or a guide explaining what each individual value means. Since they’re scattered all over the app, without much meaning outside of some contextual information you can gather, new users to Snapchat will probably be confused on what each of these represents. Luckily, we’ve gathered every number together into one place. The number on your profile? The number on your friends’ profiles? The number next to your friends’ snaps? We’ve got them all, along with an explainer of what they mean and what you should take away from each number. It might not be the clearest application ever to exist on Android or iOS, but with this guide, you’ll know exactly what those numbers mean when you’re using your favorite social network. Let’s take a look in this Snapchat explainer.
Snapchat Scores Explained
Let’s start from the top. From the home screen of your app, open up Snapchat—we’re using the Android version of the app, but you’ll find the interface to be largely the same on both platforms, with only small visual elements to match the icons used on each respective operating system. From the camera interface, swipe down or tap on the Bitmoji icon in the top-left corner of your display to view your Snapcode and Snapchat user ID. There’s all sorts of information on this page: in addition to that Snapcode, which allows you to share your Snapchat information easily with a friend or colleague, you’ll find the settings menu, a share icon, menus for your friends list, adding friends, and viewing friend requests. A link to the trophies appears here at the top of this settings page, but by and large, that’s an entirely different article for another time.
As you’re looking at this display, you’ll see one major thing we haven’t covered. Next to your name is a number that changes at regular intervals, always rising, never falling. That’s your Snapchat score, a number that acts as a sort of achievement for how well you use Snapchat, just like the trophies mentioned a moment ago. Whether or not Snapchat needs a “scoring” method is another discussion entirely—what’s important here is discovering what that score means, how it rises, and what metrics it’s based on. Let’s take a look.
At the core of the app, you gain points for your Snapchat score by using the app. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but to any basic user, it’s still just as confusing where the point value system spawns from. Snapchat doesn’t actually tell users straight out how the points are values—their help page on the topic simply states it’s based on an equation combining the number of snaps you’ve sent, received, posted stories, and “other factors,” whatever that last part means. Filter usage, stories viewed, group chats—it could all mean something or nothing when it comes to your Snap score.
So if Snapchat isn’t going to tell you exactly how the equation works, we’ll have to take our best guess. Here’s what we’ve found Snapchat uses to calculate your score:
- Sending and receiving snaps typically equals a point each, with some snaps occasionally equalling more.
- Sending snaps to multiple people at once doesn’t equal more points.
- Posting a story on Snapchat increases your score by a point.
- Viewing and sending chats doesn’t seem to have any impact on your score.
- Viewing other people’s’ stories also seem to leave your score at the same value.
Your mileage may vary, however. Without knowing what “other factors” means when Snapchat describes their equation, it’s impossible to determine exactly how the score is calculated beyond sending and receiving snaps and posting stories increasing your score by a single point. As for why these scores exist? It seems to be simply for the spirit of competition. Whether that’s a satisfactory answer really depends on how you feel about the app and competition, but a quick Google search for “increasing Snapchat score” yields nearly 500,000 results, so clearly enough people care for guides to be written about it.
Oh, and a quick tap on your snapchat score will reveal two new numbers: your number of sent and received snaps, respectively. Maybe not the most important information out there, but definitely interesting for any fans of hard data and numbers.
And what about your friend’s Snapchat scores? Well they’re listed in a separate part of the app than your own, but you can view any Snapchat score you’d like. There’s two ways to do this, depending on what user you’re looking for.
- If you’re looking for a user’s score you commonly snap with, swipe right from the camera display to enter the Chat screen. Find your friend’s username in your recent conversations and swipe right once more. This will open the chat interface for your friend, where you can send messages, snaps, video calls, and more. Tap the triple-lined menu icon in the top-left corner, which will open their menu displaying a snapcode, remove and block options, and their snap score.
- If you’re looking for a user’s score you don’t commonly snap with, it’s faster to access your standard Snapchat friends list from that menu we referenced earlier. From the camera screen, swipe down from the top to reveal your Snapcode and score. Tap “My Friends” to load your friends list within the app. This will bring you to an alphabetical list of your friends, with your “best” friends at the top of the page. Scroll through your list until you find the name you’re curious about. Tap their name to view their Snapcode and, with it, their score.
Other Numbers in Snapchat
Let’s take another look at that chat screen we mentioned earlier. Swipe right from the camera display to open the chat interface. There are typically a bunch of numbers here as well, and it can be a bit confusing if you aren’t sure what to look at. Let’s break down exactly what everything means here. Those numbers on the right side of your contacts? Those are your streak counts, which keep track of how many days in a row you’ve snapped back and forth with a user. Even more than the Snapchat scores we just talked about, streaks are very important to a minority of Snapchat users, with some going out of their way to build their streaks with as many users as possible. For more on Snapchat streaks, check out our feature on streaks here.
Now tap on the search icon to open up a hidden display inside Snapchat. Here you’ll find a bunch of new information, including events around you, popular and top stories around the world, and genre-based stories for music, sports, fashion, and more. There isn’t a lot of number-based icons here, but you’ll want to pay attention to the time stories were posted on the account—you can find the minutes since the last story was posted here. Scroll down and you’ll find some “Discover” stories, as well as your most recent new friends and their own snap scores.
Hit back and head over to the stories tab in Snapchat. Just like in the Search interface, there are a bunch of numbers and icons to view here two. Your followed user stories will appear here, listed in reverse chronological order (newest stories first, expiring stories last). The numbers on these snaps will display when they were posted (14 minutes ago, 2 hours ago, 10 hours ago, etc). The more interesting numbers here actually come from your own stories.
If you have a story posted, tap on the triple-dotted vertical line button at the top of your page to view every story you’ve posted on your account. You’ll see an eye icon, along with a corresponding number. This refers to how many people have seen your story. Tap on the eye icon to load additional information on who has seen your story (users will be displayed in reverse chronological order), as well as how many people (and who) have screenshotted your story. Snapchat will notify you when someone’s taken a screenshot of your story, so you won’t have to check this number too often in normal usage.
To conclude, there are a ton of numbers within Snapchat that make it difficult to know everything happening within the app. With a bit of research however, Snapchat’s functionality becomes a lot more clear—and in fact, most of these numbers are useful pieces of information once you know to what they correspond. In fact, most of the numbers in Snapchat have a perfectly rational explanation—with the major exception of Snap scores, which make about as little sense as one could hope for an aggregate score to make. Snap scores are harmless pieces of information, though, and despite the overall meaningless of such information, it’s fun to compete with your friends for Snap scores—if only to see who uses the app more between you and your friends. If you’re still looking for some tips on becoming a true Snapchat power user, check out our ‘how-to’ guide here.