Here’s Why Those Snapchat Snapcode “Ghosts” Are Invading Twitter Profiles

The ghosts you're seeing on Twitter are real! See how accounts on Twitter are using them to build their Snapchat followings.

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Snapchat Snapcode “ghosts” are popping up all over Twitter profiles, and it’s likely to get worse in the coming days. Don’t know what a Snapchat ghost is or why someone does this? Come along, and I’ll explain all.

Don’t Get Snapchat? Don’t Panic!

First, if you don’t even get Snapchat at all, let me direct you to my post from earlier this year that provides a still-good overview (or at least I think it does):

As you’ll discover, Snapchat isn’t just for teens nor as a way for only teens to send private messages to each other. As a regular user this year, I’ve found it a wonderful way to pass the time seeing the “Stories” that people and brands share on the service to the world.

Snapchat Snapcodes 101

That story also explains the concept of a Snapchat ghost, or a “Snapcode,” as Snapchat calls them. These are an easy way for anyone using Snapchat to add you as someone they want to follow.

When you have Snapchat open, simply point the camera toward a Snapcode (make sure you’ve reversed the camera from selfie mode, if it’s already there by default) and take a picture. Give it a moment, and the camera should automatically recognize the Snapcode. You don’t have to share it. Once it’s recognized, you can delete it.

Here’s an example of how a confirmation looks, from when I added Mashable’s Sam Sheffer. A reverse bar will appear at the top of your screen telling you that the person has been added:

Sam Sheffer

You can also take a picture using your regular camera or a screenshot of a code, then do this:

  • Tap on your own ghost at the top of the screen
  • Tap “Add Friends”
  • Tap “Add By Snapcode”
  • Select the picture

If you’re not successful, there’s a good chance the account sharing the code messed it up, not you. Try searching for them instead by name. But if you’re successful, the person whose Snapcode you scanned will be added as someone you’re following. And that leads to what’s begun happening on Twitter.

Pimping For Snapchat Followers On Twitter

I’m not certain where it began, but until today, I hadn’t noticed people using Snapcodes as their Twitter profile pictures. The first account I spotted doing it today was the Huffington Post, like this:

HuffPo Snapcode

Later today, I spotted the Daily Dot doing the same, as well as a number of individual people I follow:

Daily Dot snapcodes

NowThis is also doing it, though as best I can tell, they messed up their code so that it won’t scan properly.

The goal is the same in all these cases. By showing their Snapcodes, these accounts are hoping that people will scan and follow them on Snapchat. Changing their Twitter profile to a Snapcode means any time they tweet, people see the Snapcode and perhaps will make use of it.

Of course, many people have no idea that’s how Snapchat works, at least judging to the reaction I got when I tweeted about this happening today. Hence this article, to explain it in more depth. And marketers, you might take a tip from Sam Sheffer, whose Snapcode I mentioned earlier. Notice how he gives some “snap or screenshot to add” guidance right within it:

Snapcode with instructions

I’m certain we’re about to see an invasion of Snapchat ghosts on Twitter in the coming days, then the fad will likely fade away.

We’re On Snapchat!

This is also a good time to remind that you can follow Marketing Land on Snapchat. Just search for “marketingland” on the service or scan our code below:


Our social team shares a variety of interesting stories and things through our Snapchat story on a regular basis — and yes, people really do view them.

Our sister site, Search Engine Land, is also on Snapchat at “sengineland” or via the Snapcode below:

Search Engine Land snapcode

And yes, I’m on it too. I share things I find personally interesting every few days, so feel free to follow. I’m “sullivandanny” there, or my Snapcode is below:

danny sullivan snapcode

More About Snapchat & Snapcodes

For marketers who really want to get into Snapcodes, Snapchat recently made a way to download the basic code and spruce it up however you like. Get your own and instructions here.

Again, also see our A Marketer’s Guide To Snapchat & How Brands Can Build Followers Through “Stories” story from earlier this year for a primer on using Snapchat, either as a marketer or just someone who wants to use the service to view stories. You’ll also find many other articles from us about the service in our Snapchat category.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Danny Sullivan
Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, MarTech, and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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