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Snapchat Geofilters: How to Use Them for Marketing

If you are a business owner or a marketing manager whose target market is a younger audience, Snapchat is the place to be.

By Ana Simova, content writer at Ranking Press

This image and video messaging app with its many lenses, filters, and geofilters is so fun to use that it now has close to 190 million daily active users, which is more than Twitter – and this number is constantly growing. But how can your business benefit the most from Snapchat? We present you the custom Snapchat filters known as geofilters.

Snapchat geofilters are immensely popular among Snapchat users. These personalized and geographically based filters are a clever marketing tactic that every business whose target market is a younger audience should incorporate in their marketing strategy.

In this guide to Snapchat filters, we’ll tell you how to use geofilters for marketing, all the reasons why your business will benefit by including them in your marketing strategy, and how to create and promote your own. We’ll also look at costs and give you some examples of branded filter campaigns to inspire you. But before we get into all of that, let’s simplify things by briefly explaining the difference between lenses, filters, and geofilters so you can easily make the distinction between these three types of overlays.

The Difference Between Lenses, Filters, and Geofilters?

Since this is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to Snapchat, let’s shortly go over each type of overlay.

Lenses

A lens in an animated overlay that can change a user’s face by adding some special effect to it – like anime eyes or doggy ears.

Some lenses can even change your voice, or make you seem like you’re puking rainbows. The main difference between lenses and filters is that lenses are animated, meaning you have to choose one and set it in place before you take a photo.

Filters

A filter is a static overlay you can use to add some effect to your photo or video or change how it looks like. There are plenty of different filters on Snapchat, some that add the time when the photo was taken, or various color effects. Unlike lenses, filters can be added to a photo or a video after that photo or video has been taken or recorded.

Geofilters

Now we come to the main star of this guide, geofilters.

To put it simply, a geofilter is a custom Snapchat filter that’s geographically based.

This means that a particular geofilter is only available in a specifically defined geographic location that’s, obviously, set by its creator.

While community geofilters are free to create and most commonly used while in a big city like London, a special landmark, a neighborhood, and so on, we’re here to talk about on-demand geofilters.

Why?

Because they can be created by businesses as a way to market their brands.

Why Should You Include Geofilters in Your Marketing Strategy?

With the help of geofilters, Snapchat has become a powerful marketing tool that has helped many businesses engage with their audiences and promote their brands in an interactive and fresh way.

Let’s give you 5 reasons why these geographically based Snapchat filters can do wonders for your business if you include them in your social media marketing strategy. This way you’ll know if using them is the right move for you and your brand.

Geofilters Drive Brand Awareness

First and foremost, they are remarkable for building brand recognition.

As the creator of your geofilter you make sure to include your brand’s colors, font, even logo when designing it. Everyone who is on your specified location will be able to use it and get to know your brand, which is why geofilters are so effective for driving brand awareness.

Geofilters Help Attract New Audiences

As we already mentioned, geofilters are available to literally anyone who is on or around your specified location, given that, of course, they have the Snapchat app in their smartphones. This is the real beauty of geofilters, helping brands attract new audiences without them even realizing.

So, imagine a person, who does or doesn’t know your brand, using your geofilter for the first time. He or she will share that image with their friends, most of which have similar interests, so hundreds of Snapchat users who’ve never heard of your brand will see it and potentially be interested in it. Great way to attract new audiences, don’t you think?

Geofilters are Fun to Younger Audiences

In the US, over 70% of Snapchat’s users are under 25 years old, while worldwide the same percentage comprises of users under 34 years old. Younger audiences enjoy using lenses and filters, which is why so many of them are on Snapchat, and geofilters are another type of these fun image and video overlays that younger audiences love.

If this is your target audience, you’ve probably already concluded that Snapchat geofilters are a smart move for you and your brand. If you’re trying to “hip up” your brand and give it a youthful vibe in order to attract this promising target market, these special overlays will only help you out.

Geofilters are Great for Promoting Real-Time Events

Creating a geofilter to promote an event can make that event unforgettable, and even more importantly – it can make your brand more well-known.

After all, if Snapchat users create geofilters for their anniversaries, weddings, and birthdays, why wouldn’t you for your company’s event or for an event where you represent your brand?

But wait, there’s one more way in which you can promote your brand, and it can be even more successful for driving brand awareness.

Let’s give you an example.

Let’s say that you have a sportswear brand. You sell some cool clothes and want to reach a younger audience. Where can you find this audience that is also interested in sportswear garments? Sports games, of course! You can create a geofilter for the next big basketball or football game where you’ll include your company name or logo.

Make sure it’s related to that specific event, doesn’t take up the whole screen, and that it’s fun to use. Imagine all the Snapchatters at the event sharing snaps with their hundreds of friends who’ll see your brand. You’ll be way ahead of your competition and promote your company by not doing anything besides creating the geofilter.

Geofilter are Great for Promoting Local Stores

If you have a physical store where you sell your products or services, using geofilters can really help your business out.

Let’s assume that you have a beauty salon where you offer cosmetic treatments – do make-up and other cosmetic services. If you want more people (especially millennials) to find out about your salon, geofilters can easily do that.

You can offer a 5% or even 10% discount to anyone who uses itr while in the beauty salon. Since not many of your customers will pass on this deal, especially the younger ones, they’ll be sharing snaps with their friends who’ll get to know your brand. You can also collaborate with influencers so they promote your business with your geofilter and get new customers in no time.

How to Create Your Own Snapchat Geofilter

  1. Go to Snapchat.com and click on “Create”.
  2. You’ll be taken to the “Creative tools” page where you’ll be presented with three options: “Community filters”, “Filters”, and “Lenses”, so click on the “Community filters”.
  3. Then you’ll be given two more choices, so click on “Geofilter” and you’ll be taken to Snapchat’s own design page where you’ll get to create your geofilter by using Snapchat’s design tools OR upload a previously created filter.

If you decide to create one on the website, Snapchat has some pretty amazing design tools  that will easily help you recreate the exact geofilter you have in mind.

If you want to create your special overlay elsewhere, you can use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, but if you’re not a professional designer we recommend that you try Canva. Why? Well, they offer pre-made templates that you can play with and you can create a great-looking geofilter in no time.

Remember that your geofilter’s size should be 1080x2340px and it should be no larger than 300KB. If you create it outside Snapchat’s design page, make sure that it has a transparent background and that you save it as a PNG file.

  1. Once you upload it, you’ll have to pick the exact days and hours when you want it to be available.
  2. Now comes the most important part, selecting the location. You’ll be given a map of the world. Type in the location that you’re looking for and draw a circle, square, a triangle, or another shape around the specific location where you want your geofilter to be available by using the “Draw fence” tool. Remember, this will determine its cost.
  3. After that’s done, all you have to do is leave some contact and payment information and submit it. Take note that Snapchat has to approve it first, which can take anywhere from one to a few days – and even longer in some cases.

Some of Snapchat’s geofilter guidelines include that you don’t use any hashtags, phone numbers, or any other contact info. The special overlay should be relevant to the location and have up to two lines of text. It shouldn’t cover much of the screen and it shouldn’t have any photos. Its design must be 100% original.

When it comes to the location size, you can set it to cover a minimum of 20,000 ft2 to up to 5,000,000 ft2, and last for a minimum of 1 hour to up to one whole month.

For more info on geofilters, check out Snapchat’s custom creative tools submission guidelines.

Are you on other social media platforms besides Snapchat? Sign up to Amplifr to manage your accounts with a single dashboard and receive the best analytical insights and posting time suggestions.

How to Promote Your Geofilter

As you already know, geofilters can be used by literally any Snapchatter who’s in the geofilter’s specified location. This is why promoting it so that more people are aware of its existence is always a good idea. After all, geofilters usually last for a couple of days, so the more Snapchat users know about yours – the better.

If you’re a business owner or a marketing manager, we assume that you have at least one if not a couple of social media profiles for your business. This is where you can let your followers know about the upcoming or existing geofilter and even give them an incentive to use it.

For example, you can create a contest where you’ll ask your followers to visit the particular location and take a snap using your custom geofilter. In return, you can award some lucky Snapchatters with discounts, gift cards, or some other type of lead generation methods.

If you want to know more about how to collaborate with influencers, check out our Influencer marketing guide and How to manage influencers and micro-influencers.

Another idea would be to ask your employees or marketing team to post some snaps using your brand’s geofilter. You can even collaborate with influencers from your industry and spread the word about your awesome geofilter by working with either a few micro-influencers or a more influential macro-influencer. 

How Much Does a Snapchat Geofilter Cost?

Many businesses that use Snapchat say that marketing their brands via geofilters is the most inexpensive form of social media advertising. That being said, how much does a custom geofilter cost?

According to Snapchat, it all depends on the exact location, the size of that location, and the exact duration of the geofilter.

Before you actually submit your newly created geofilter, Snapchat will give you its precise cost. If you think it’s too expensive or if you have a bigger budget to spend, you can change the location’s size and the geofilter’s duration and reach your desired amount.

Since the cost of geofilters depends on their location and duration, we cannot give you the exact cost, but it starts as low as $5 for 20,000 ft2. This means that they are not great marketing tools only for larger enterprises, but are pretty affordable for smaller businesses as well.

Check Your Branded Geofilter’s Success

After your branded geofilter runs its course the time has come to measure its performance and success.

Thankfully, Snapchat gives you the opportunity to see how many times it was used, and even more importantly, how many times the snaps with your geofilter were viewed!  

The best time to check the metrics is 24 hours after it expires. Check out Snapchat’s view your on-demand filter’s metrics to see exactly how to do it.

Snapchat Geofilter Campaigns to Inspire You

Now that you know everything there is to know about location specified filters, let’s take a look at some Snapchat campaigns that used geofilters so you can get some inspiration when creating your first one.

GSD&M

One of the first brands to ever use Snapchat’s geofilters was the GSD&M marketing agency from Austen, Texas. This happened on the 1st of March in 2016 which is when geofilters were still hot off the fire. Their geofilter was very simple. It included their name, their location, and the year the company was founded. They made it available for the 140,000 ft2 of their office space and encouraged their employees to use it for the whole day while at the office. Since their geofilter was fairly simple, the creativity was left in the hands of GSD&M’s employees.

This was a very smart move for a marketing agency, and their employees didn’t disappoint. There were quite a few snaps that referred to some of the marketing agency’s clients like big airlines among others.

This is a great example of how your own employees can make your geofilter popular and help your business. You can encourage them to make use of their creativity and even create a competition of sorts. For example, you can award the best snap with an extra day off or another incentive, that’s up to you.

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts is a big and well-known brand that many of us have heard of, but did you know that they’re constantly using geofilters either for special events or promotions?

For example, they made a really cute geofilter on Valentine’s Day. It said “Dounuts About You” and had the DD logo below and a flying DD cup on the right side with some heart-shaped balloons. Their customers were encouraged to share their snaps with their friends or send their crush or a loved one the “donuts about you” message. They created a branded geofilter for National Coffee Day as well.

This is a great way to connect a special day or a holiday with your brand, and Dunkin Donuts did it perfectly.

If you don’t think that any of the major holidays like Christmas or Easter align with your brand, just think about all the other ones you might not even know about. Of course, we all know about Valentine’s Day, but have you ever heard about National Hangover Day, which is actually on the 1st of January? How about National Spaghetti Day, National Hat Day, Chocolate Cake Day, or Beer Can Appreciation Day? And these special days are all in January, so check out all special days and holidays to see if you can make use of them in your geofilter campaign.

Another example by Dunkin Donuts would be the geofilter they created to promote their new cold brew coffee. Their social media followers were encouraged to find a special code on Twitter and use it to open their geofilters – and this was done one whole day BEFORE their cold brew coffee was even in their stores! The filter included the words “Gimme gimme cold brew” and a DD cup filled with coffee.

This marketing tactic with geofilters was a smart way to make their customers and social media followers aware that a new product is about to be launched in their stores.

All of the Snapchatters who used their geofilter as well as their friends who saw it probably visited the nearest Dunkin Donuts store to try the new product. So, if you want to make your followers and customers excited about a new product, this is a great way to do it.

Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer is a fashion designer with a clothing brand bearing the same name and dozens of retail stores. This brand also used geofilters in a fairly interesting way.

Their geofilters could only be used from inside their stores, so their customers snapped photos while wearing their favorite garments. The geofilter was a promotion of their summer line and said “Lilly Pulitzer, Summer in Lily” with some flowery design.

The main takeaway from this campaign is that if you have retail stores, encouraging your customers to share their shopping experience with their friends is a great idea. Since nowadays online shopping is the easier option for many, show your audience that in-person shopping is a great experience, and spread the word about your brand in a unique way.

Final Words

As you can see, geofilters have a lot of marketing potential. They are great for spreading awareness of your brand and connecting with millennials and younger audiences. We hope this guide answered all your questions about geofilters, but if you want to learn even more about Snapchat marketing, check out our Snapchat branding guide.

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