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.
Updated to include screenshots from the Dec. 2017 Snapchat redesign.
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, complete with the brand new visual upgrade that began rolling out in December 2017. Regardless of your operating system of choice, you’ll likely find the interface to be relatively the same, but if you haven’t gotten the new update to Snapchat quite yet, this interface may be unfamiliar to you. When you first open the application, Snapchat will load into the camera interface. In the old Snapchat interface, a swipe gesture down the display would load the in-app menu, but this is now accomplished by selecting the icon in the top-left corner. This icon has a couple different forms; if you have a bitmoji synced with your account, you’ll see your avatar appear. If you have snaps posted on your Story, you’ll see a small, circular icon displaying your most recent Story upload. And if you fall into neither of those categories, you’ll see a solid-colored silhouette for an avatar instead.
Once you’ve loaded this display, you’ll see all sorts of information on the page. In addition to your Snapcode (of which, I’ve edited out of my person screenshot below), which allows you to share your Snapchat contact information easier and faster with a friend than by using your Snapchat username, you’ll also find a link to the settings menu, a share icon, links to your Bitmoji profile and your list of trophies, the ability to add friends through phone number or Snapcode, and new to this version of the app, links to both your personal Story and the option to create a new Story with various privacy levels.
As you’re looking at this display, you may also notice the stats below your personal display name. Next to your username 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 thousands upon thousands of guides—including this one!—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.
- Swipe right from the camera display to enter the Chat display inside of Snapchat. All of your contacts are now listed in this display, as of the new December 2017 update, along with each Story posted by your friends. If a user you follow on Snapchat has posted a Story, you’ll see the Story icon overtake their usual profile icon (either a Bitmoji or a randomly-colored silhouette). However, if there is no Story posted, you can tap on the Bitmoji or profile icon to view the pop-up message displayed below, which will feature their score front and center.
- Alternately, if you’re looking for the score of a user who currently has a Story posted on their account, tap anywhere in the white space of the Chat screen to the left of your camera interface to load their Snap conversation display. In this panel, you’ll find the option to tap on the triple-lined menu icon in the top-left corner of the conversation display. This will open a menu from the bottom of your screen, revealing the Bitmoji, name, username, and score of a friend.
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 (along with their related Stories and Bitmoji icons.
Hit back and head over into the camera interface in Snapchat. Since the redesign first started rolling out, Snapchat has relocated your personal Stories from the Discover section to the Snapchat menu, as we mentioned at the top of this article. Snapchat Stories have numbers of their own, and it’s important to know what to look for on this display as well. When you tap on the Bitmoji/Stories icon in the top-left of your camera display, you’ll see the menu for your Story in the middle of the display. Tapping on the circular photo to the left will start to automatically playback your Stories, while tapping on the grey area will open up the Story menu, displaying everything you’ve posted.
The number at the top of this page will correspond to the oldest post on your Story, showing how many people have viewed your content. Opening the full list of your posts will show the small eye icon on the right of each Story, along with the corresponding views. On the left is the time passed since you posted the corresponding Story; since posts disappear after 24 hours, you’ll want to make sure you save any posts prior to them disappearing in order to not lose your photos or videos. 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.
There are a ton of numbers within Snapchat that can often 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.