Snapchat is insanely popular with the younger demographic, and it flourishes in areas like schools, where there is a community of individuals using the app who see each other face to face.

One of Snapchat’s greatest weaknesses, though, is that it lacks good discovery tools built inside the app. It’s why I believe that its growth, although impressive, has been bridled in some instances. It’s why an app like GhostCodes can provide a valuable bridge to user discovery on the platform.

Why Snapchat is lacking in discovery

First of all, let’s not get it confused; there are discovery tools inside of Snapchat, they just aren’t very effective for brand new users. If you know what to do and who specifically to look for, you can discover new people to follow on Snapchat, it’s just nowhere near as easy and convenient as it is on other platforms. Perhaps this is by design, but that still doesn’t change the fact that it can stymie new users who aren’t familiar with the platform.

By simply going to the Add Friends section of Snapchat, you’ll find four different ways to add new Snapchat friends. You can add by username, add by address book, add by Snapcode or add nearby.

The problem is that two of these options assume that you already know someone’s snapchat username or Snapcode. New users won’t necessarily know this, or, in the case of Snapcodes, may not even understand how it’s to be used.

The other two ways, add from address book or add nearby, assume that you have someone in your contacts who uses Snapchat, or that you’re directly within the vicinity of a person who does.

Snapchat discovery

Snapchat’s native discovery options are limited

To be fair, these are legitimate discovery tools, and seasoned Snappers can easily harness them to do add new Snapchat friends. I think most will agree, however, that there exists room for improvement.

Hashtags are an obvious omission, but due to the nature of Snapchat’s auto-disappearing photo and video-centric sharing, I’m not sure how the company would even go about implementing such a feature. More importantly, I’m not sure it would even help.

Snapchat stories are an obvious area where hashtags might be able to be used effectively, but I think hashtags may be the wrong direction. In my opinion, Snapchat is more about connecting users and personalities than it is connecting with the content that said users create. That’s why user discovery, not necessarily content discovery, is the ideal solution.


Enter GhostCodes, a free app built directly around Snapchat user discovery. Snapchat has yet to release an API for developers, and as such, GhostCodes doesn’t use any Snapchat API’s. Instead, the app allows you to create a GhostCodes account and upload your own Snapcode; this lets other GhostCodes users find you based on your name and interests.

GhostCodes Profile

The GhostCodes profile page makes it easier to check content prior to following

Once your account is created, you can categorize the type of snaps that you feature, and you’ll be placed into one of many available categories for users to hone in on. GhostCodes users can then download your Snapcode in order to easily add you as a friend.

To assist more with the discovery aspect, users can give out kudos to those who they feel are worth following. This helps elevate Snappers who regularly publish compelling content.

Video walkthrough

GhostCodes contains a curated featured tab that’s used to highlight a person from each available category. Users can then tap on the Snapcode to view a user’s profile, download their Snapcode, access related social media accounts, and more.

The main downside to using GhostCodes is that it features no direct Snapchat integration. It means that you cannot discover Snapchat users who aren’t also GhostCodes users.

GhostCodes categories

GhostCodes makes it easy to find new interesting people and brands

But GhostCodes seems to be growing rapidly, and I’m finding more Snappers on the service each day that I use it. Most importantly, GhostCodes doesn’t try to do anything shady like ask for your Snapchat login credentials. You will be required to create a GhostCodes account, which may be seen as counterintuitive to some users, but until Snapchat opens up more, this is probably one of the better ways to go about user discovery.


As someone who’s relatively new to Snapchat, I appreciate being able to find Snappers who post content that interests me. I like that I can view their other social media accounts to verify what type of content they post before following.

GhostCodes contains a variety of categories ranging from tech and music to artists. It avails the type of discovery process that Snapchat is currently missing, and makes it much easier for Snapchat newbs to find traction on a social platform that can seem quite foreign to the uninitiated.

You can download GhostCodes on the App Store for free. There is also a version of the app available on Google Play for our Android friends.

How do you go about discovering new users on Snapchat? Would you consider using an app like GhostCodes to aid the process?

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.