Vertical VS Horizontal Snaps & Why It Matters On Snapchat

In accordance with Snapchat’s meteoric rise over the next year, now is the time to at least get familiar in order to be ready to dive in once the platform has reached peak mainstream attention and adoption. While you really should think about becoming proficient sooner rather than later, you’ll undoubtedly notice a couple things simply by watching what others are doing with their snaps.

Typically the best place to start when learning the platform is to be like a fly on the wall — always watching, always listening. Once you’ve started to follow a decent number of influencers or thought leaders in your industry, really pay attention to what their stories look like.

After a time, you may begin to take notice that not every snap is shot vertically — which is the typical orientation of most snaps. And you may be thinking to yourself, “Oh, maybe I should try that!”

Not so fast, buster.

Obviously, you should be trying everything you can when experimenting with different ways of creating your snaps. But before you go diving face first a la Pete Rose, here are some things to consider.


via Giphy

With the exception of mobile games, the majority of mobile apps are designed to be viewed in the “portrait” or vertical orientation. Which makes sense considering that most folks hold their smart phones with one hand.

Snapchat is no different regardless of which device it’s being used on. Because of this preferred orientation, you’ll probably notice almost every snap is shot vertically.

So while it may be tempting to take some of your snaps horizontally, understand that when followers viewing your story realize they have to turn their phones on the appropriate side, some may not be able to flip it in time to view the snap. Meaning they have missed the snap entirely and possibly become slightly annoyed.

This isn’t to say that everyone will look at your horizontal snaps with displeasure, but here are a couple tips to see what may work for you.


Retention Rates & Views

If you really want to see the impact of horizontal snaps, make sure to record your average number of views for your typical stories. Then once you’ve made a story with horizontal snaps, pay attention to how many followers drop off after the snap in question.

For example, if there’s a sharp decrease in the number of users right after the horizontal snap(s), the orientation may be one reason for this decline.

Give Users Enough Time

Since Snapchat won’t automatically correct orientation for horizontal snaps, we also know that the user will have to flip their device to the right way to look at it. In these cases, shoot for a video or image that is at least 5 seconds in length or more. This will ensure that they will have ample time to look at the snap you worked so hard to create.

Another tip — be consistent with the side you choose for your horizontal snaps. If one of your snaps was shot rotating your device to the left and then the next was to your right, just imagine what the user will look like trying to view these consecutive snaps.

(Hint: you’d probably be annoyed, too.)

Advanced Engagement

This tip is for more advanced Snapchat users who are always looking to push the envelope when creating an engaging experience for their followers.

If you follow Shaun Ayala — which you already should be — you know that Shaun has some of the most fun and interactive snap stories. In one of his stories, users were encouraged to tap through a horde of walkers in a Walking Dead-style experience set in Los Angeles.

For those of you who want users to engage in a similar fashion, horizontal snaps could be used in such a way. A good example of this may be to create your own flight simulator in which your snaps depict the first person perspective of a fighter pilot.

Do What Works for You

Ultimately, there is no trusted formula to create the perfect snap. It’s all going to depend on who your followers are and the kind of story you’re trying to tell.

Although it may seem obvious, the same logic applies with almost anything that you want improve. Know everything you can, and test, test, test, test, test.

Did I mention you should be testing everything?

Thanks for reading! Did you like this? Hate it? Think I may have missed something? Be sure to leave a comment down below or tweet at me what you thought of this!

If we aren’t already friends on Snapchat, you can follow me at [Stephen.Hoops]

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Hoops is an all-around goof that enjoys to make people laugh. An SEO & content marketing specialist by trade, he is also a storyteller on Snapchat who uses sound and weird faces to keep his followers entertained.