How your Snapchat metrics changed with the auto advance update

Just when we thought we had figured out Snapchat, the Venice Beach-based company released an update that changed the Snapchat marketing landscape and your Snapchat metrics. Snapchat remains a favorite of millennials and many deep-pocketed brands are signing on to produce app-exclusive content, further cementing its importance as a component of any marketing strategy.

What changed?

In-app audio and video calls, sharing images, and a friendlier user interface were added to Snapchat’s repertoire. The app also changed the way stories are viewed, and here lies the most noticeable alteration to how users behave within Snapchat. Let's take a look at how engagement has changed with this latest update.

Previously, your followers would have to manually click through the different stories under Recent Update, allowing them to choose which one they watched next. After the update, the app automatically goes from one story to the next with no prompt from the user needed.

How does this change engagement for brands and influencers on Snapchat?

The update may not seem like a lot; however, it is designed to increase time spent by users within the app and perhaps more importantly the magic word ~Snapchat engagement~. As a brand or influencer it’s important you understand the impact this can have on your publishing1:

Retention rate

Average retention rate has dropped 5-6% points. Before the update, stories that had 5-10 Snaps had an average retention rate of 90%; after the update that number sits at 85%. Stories with 11-20 Snaps had a retention rate of 86% before the update, while now that number is 80%. This means that the number of followers watching all the snaps in your story has dropped.

Snapchat retention rate for stories before and after the update.

Snapchat completion rate on stories before and after the update to auto advance of stories. With the percentage of first opens it has a significant impact on your Snapchat metrics.

First opens

The percentage of followers that open the first Snap in a story has increased 3%. Before the update the average rate was around 43% and that number is now around 45%.  This is an expected jump considering that the app now takes you to the next story automatically.

What does that mean for an account with 100k Snapchat followers?

Well, actually it is not a huge difference in terms of how many will see the full story. But if you measure the success based on “first opens”, you may be celebrating a bit too early.

Story with 8 snaps - before and after the update for a 100k Snapchat account

Number of followers 100.000 100.000
% opening the story 43% 45%
People who will see the first snap 43.000 45.000
% completing the story 90% 85%
People who will complete the full story 38.739 38.347

For a 100k account, your “first opens” will be 2000 higher than before the update, but with the lower completion rate, 400 fewer people will have seen the full story.

Plausible logic behind the numbers

What does this all mean? First, it seems your followers may not even realize they are watching a completely new story for the first 2-3 Snaps in a story. However, when they do, it appears that a percentage of them stop watching, which impacts retention rate. The increase in open rate for the initial snap is positive, however the negative impact from lower retention overshadows that increase.

The data seems to indicate that users are annoyed by the automatic transition between stories. Snapchat, by wrestling control of how Snaps are played from users, indirectly impacts how many of your followers stay tuned to your entire story. To combat this, the first few Snaps in a story must be able to hook in viewers more so than before the update.

Lesson learned: disgruntled users that realize the Story is not from the same account need a reason to stay and you must be able to provide that reason within the first few Snaps.


1) All data based on detailed insights from Snaplytics customers.

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