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Understanding the Psychology Behind Snapchat

This is the foundation for any brand attempting to make the most of Snapchat. You need to know what makes Snapchatters tick, and why.

Accurate Emulation Of Real Life Social Interactions

Day-to-day interactions with other human beings are fleeting and unrehearsed; a temporary yet constant series of moments that range in emotion – from casual, to silly, to crude, and so on - which cannot be reproduced.

Snapchat replicates this more so than any other social media platform. In fact, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the total opposite: posts are rehearsed or edited to perfection, and are then archived forever unless you decide to delete them.

Any brand seeking to market to the Snapchat generation thus must bear this in mind and adapt their communication strategy on social media accordingly; if your Snapchat posts are the same as those on Instagram or Facebook, you’re doing something wrong.


Snapchat content is more real than posts on other social media platforms. It is more personal and raw, and this is a huge part of its appeal. Not only that, it is more authentic in the sense it allows for more genuine expressions of its users’ identity.

Unlike Facebook and Instagram, where users often feel the need to create and then stick to a specific identity or persona, archived and there for everyone to see, Snapchat’s ephemeral communication lends itself to our real life, fluid and ever-changing identity.

In other words, identity on Snapchat is not permanent or pigeonholed and users care less about social image. Brands should bear this in mind when interacting with users on Snapchat and creating content.


Humans love to doodle. That’s a scientific fact (probably).

Snapchat allows its users to unleash their inner Van Gogh and turn mundane, everyday situations into the ridiculous and the hilarious simply by adding an emoji or drawing.

Brands should not only show their followers their creativity and humour but also interact with them by playing on these – ask your followers to send their best or funniest drawings of something relevant to your brand, and offer a shout out or discount to the best.


Another outcome of Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging and time-limited stories is the sense of urgency it provokes among its users.

Having no more than 10 seconds to view a snap or 24 hours to view a story creates more incentive to the user to open content and mentally engage with it. This is a great tool for time-limited discounts.

Understanding the psychology behind Snapchat is the first step in recognising its potential and practical applications with the Gen Z audience. By taking into account these features of Snapchat that make it such a popular social network, brands can optimise the content shown on their own Snapchats to be in line.

Reuben Lewis

Head of Special Projects

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