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How the Snapchat Algorithm Works


How the Snapchat Algorithm Works

With the younger generation flocking to Snapchat for daily content consumption, brands, advertisers, and influencers find whole new opportunities on the platform. Understand the Snapchat algorithm and find ways to make it work for you.

Snapchat may not have been making as much buzz as other social media faves, but it’s definitely staying strong. In fact, it added 13 million daily users in Q3 2021, with Gen Zs making up most of its users. Those are interesting numbers worth looking into.

How the Snapchat Algorithm Works

If you’re not accustomed to the app, fair warning: the Snapchat algorithm might take some getting used to. And if you don’t speak the Snapchat language, you’ll find some terminologies that can be a little confusing. Consider this article your crash course in Snapchat algorithm. 

What Is The Snapchat Algorithm? 

The Snapchat algorithm works to show users the most engaging Snaps they’d be interested in. With the goal of serving the right snaps, to the right person, at the right time, it organizes the content you’ll see based on its importance and relevance to you一the key ingredients to a more personalized experience. 

How the Snapchat Algorithm Works

Snapchat veers away from arranging snaps in chronological order or only presenting you with what’s considered popular. This kind of algorithm works well for advertisers and marketers. If you’ve viewed their ads or content in the past, for example, then it’s likely that you’ll see your content higher on your feed. And because of how personalized your feed is, you are less inclined to skip the content you are served. This means the chance that you’ll view their ads in full is high. 

How Does The Snapchat Algorithm Work? 

Just like a lot of social media platforms these days, Snapchat is not a single-purpose app. It’s chock-full of functionalities and features—all of which have their own algorithm. Let’s break them down one by one. 

Snapchat Algorithm For Best Friends 

Snapchat relies heavily on your contacts. One of the first things you’ll notice in the app is your Friends list. The people you Snap and Chat with the most—they’re what the app calls your Best Friends. 

You can have up to eight Best Friends. These profiles will appear on the “Send To” screen when you send a Snap. You’ll also find them in the Chat section of your profile. Your list will refresh in real-time as you engage with different friends. 

Snapchat’s Discover Algorithm

Snapchat wants to distinguish between personal content and communications that you and your friends share, and material created by professional media. Hence, the Discover section. 

Here you’ll find stories from media outlets (also known as publishing partners) and other content from brands and influencers. This feature allows users to find new channels to subscribe to, see Snaps that their friends are viewing, and get curated content, based on users’ past activities on the platform. 

Snapchat Algorithm For Quick Add 

There are a ton of ways you can add users as your friends. One functionality that might pique your interest is the app’s Quick Add suggestions. The Snapchat algorithm determines who to add to this list through your contacts, people you are in Group chats with, and your mutual friends. 

Mutual friends are the friends of your Snap friends. So if your friends start Snapping someone, they’ll show up in your Quick Add suggestions. It’s very similar to Facebook’s People You May Know feature. 

Snapchat Algorithm For Story Views 

Unlike the other features of the app, Snapchat Stories go in chronological order. This is what makes the Snapchat algorithm for Stories unique. The more Stories you publish, the more people will be able to view them. If you want to grow your account, it’s crucial to post regularly.

Snapchat Spotlight Algorithm

Personalization is the name of the game—especially in this feature. Snapchat’s Spotlight algorithm works at understanding your personal preferences to bring you Snaps that might be interesting for you.

The algorithm checks for positive factors such as the amount of time you spend watching a Snap, if you favorited it, or if you shared it with the people in your Friends list. It also considers negative factors, such as if you skipped a Snap too quickly.

Snapchat Face Detection Algorithm

One of Snapchat’s most powerful features is its Snapchat Lenses. The app uses the Viola-Jones algorithm to apply Lenses or filters to a user’s face. It’s all thanks to this algorithm that makes Snapchat’s filters look so fun and realistic. 

Most people have similar facial structures and features, which the algorithm identifies as Haar Features. The app will then use the Active Shape Model to detect all your facial features. 

Snapchat trained this model to recognize the borders of facial features on an average face. Using the knowledge it has, the Active Shape Model can then use machine learning to produce a 3D model that can move and scale with your face. 

The great thing about this feature is that advertisers can use Snapchat’s Lens Web Builder to develop immersive 3D Lens ads using the app’s AR technology. Sponsored Lenses will include a visible logo or brand name. 

How Do I Make The Snapchat Algorithm Work For Me? 

As trends come and go and as technology progresses, Snapchat’s environment continues to evolve. It’s up to brands and users to come up with strategies that will help them market themselves on the app. Here are some ways to make the Snapchat algorithm work for you: 

How the Snapchat Algorithm Works

Stay Relevant

Remember, Snapchat is all about personalization. It wants to create an environment that puts the users’ interests first so that they will keep using the app. Avoid churning out content that’s centered on you or your brand alone. Snapchat is a photo and video-based platform, so approach it with creativity in mind. 

Snapchat said it themselves: they reward creativity. So go beyond sharing images of your new products! Find a way to show your brand’s personality through different strategies. Think interactive games or behind-the-scenes tours of your brand and its operations. The possibilities are endless.

Leverage On Paid Marketing 

While its focus on personalization is apparent, Snapchat is still a social network that benefits from businesses paying to advertise on its platform. 

Snapchat’s ad program isn’t the best—it even went through some growing pains over the years. However, the app remains a top choice for businesses looking to reach consumers aged 13 to 25. 

If you want more engagement, keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Link your ad to the correct landing page
  • If applicable, add a poll
  • Write catchy, irresistible copy 
  • Try the app’s shoppable AR Lens feature 
  • Use audience insights to your advantage 

Get Authentic Follows 

One positive and negative thing about Snapchat is that it’s a very personal app. Most people use it to keep up with what’s going on in their friends’ lives instead of following their favorite celebrities or brands. The best course of action with an app like this is to get consumers to follow you like they would a friend. Think like a friend, act like a friend. 

Ultimately, it all boils down to creativity. Snapchat is famous for its time limit on content. Use that to your advantage by creating engaging content so they’ll keep coming back for more. 

What Are Snapchat’s Friend Emojis? 

It wouldn’t be Snapchat without emojis! Snapchat has a pretty cool way of showing you your friendships. What it does is record your app activity and assign emojis to your friendship. This will depend on how frequently you communicate with the other person. 

Here’s a little guide to decoding those emojis beside your contact names. 

💕 Super BFF – You’ve been #1 BFFs with each other for two months in a row. 

❤️ BFF – You’re each other’s #1 BFF for two weeks in a row. 

💛 Besties – You’re best friends and send the most snaps to each other. 

😊 BFs – This person is one of your Best Friends. They’re not your #1, but you still send a lot of Snaps to this person. 

😬 Mutual Besties – You’ll see this when a person’s top best friend is also your top best friend. 

👶 New Friend – This baby emoji will appear if you’ve just become friends with each other.

🔥 Snapstreak! – Your friendship is on fire! This will appear next to your friend’s name when a Snapstreak starts or when you and your friend have Snapped each other for at least three consecutive days. 

💯 100 Day Snapstreak – Snapped back and forth with someone for a hundred days in a row? What an awesome friendship! On the 100th day, you’ll see this 100 emoji instead of the fire icon. 

⌛ Snapstreak is Ending – Your Snapstreak with your friend is about to end! Send a snap with each other within 24 hours, or you’ll lose your Snapstreak. 

🎂 Birthday! – It’s your friend’s birthday! 

Is There A Way For Me To Quickly Make Someone My #1 Best Friend on Snapchat? 

To quickly make someone your #1 Best Friend on the app, just send a lot of Snaps and Chats with them for more than 24 hours. You’ll receive a yellow heart after constantly communicating with each other. On average, it takes three days for that coveted 💛 to appear.

How the Snapchat Algorithm Works

Much like friendships in real life, this shouldn’t be a one-way street. You can’t really establish a friendship if it’s just you Snapping away, so there should be constant communication between the two of you.

Wrap Up

Think of your audience as more than consumers of your content or your brand—they’re your friends. Creating a strategy that puts creativity at the forefront will definitely help you build your community and rise to the top.

karina gandola

Karina Gandola was born and raised outside the city of Charleston, in the beautiful mountain state of West Virginia. Karina loves writing about the influencer marketing space and an area she is passionate about. She considers her faith and family to be most important to her. If she isn’t spending time with her friends and family, you can almost always find her around her sweet yellow Labrador retriever, Poshna.



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