Geo 201: How Should Marketers Use Snapchat Geofilters?

The location-specific overlays have applications far beyond branding.

We defined geofilters in our Geo 101 series — but how can marketers go a step further to use Snapchat’s location capabilities as a valuable ad campaign component? With that question in mind, we introduce the latest installment of our Geo 201 series: How should marketers use geofilters?

Geofilters In Action

First, a refresher: Geofilters let mobile users add a location illustration — specific to where they are by city, neighborhood, or even store — to photos that they may then share with friends or followers via Snapchat. The smartphone’s location signals pick up where the user is at a given time, and the appropriate geofilter is offered based on this location.

As far as brand usage, Snapchat first expanded its ad options in June 2015, launching “sponsored geofilters” for business locations. McDonald’s was the first to try it out, and the fast-food chain paid to make custom filters — illustrations of McDonald’s cheeseburgers and pouches of fries, among others — available to Snapchat users while they were in its physical locations.

But while sponsored geofilters for many locations were at first expensive, that changed with the introduction of custom, on-demand geofilters in February 2016 — which made it so that everyone from SMBs to global brands could create a custom, branded geofilter starting at a price of just $5.

Using Geofilters To Drive Traffic

So, how can savvy marketers use branded geofilters to help drive an increase in foot traffic and sales?

Many perceive the technology to be useful primarily from a branding perspective — if a business boasts a fun geofilter, customers are more likely to send it to their friends on Snapchat, thus driving awareness of the brand — but when integrated as part of a marketing campaign, they can be a lot more than that.

Here’s an example: Create a custom geofilter to be used as part of a social media contest. Let’s say a QSR chain decides to run a campaign in which customers hashtag their social posts for a chance to win gift cards or other prizes. Instead of allowing participants to post any related photo, the brand could require that customers share a photo overlaid with the custom geofilter in order to enter.

Why? Because the geofilter would only be available at the business locations themselves during a specified period of time, this would guarantee that customers would have to come in and eat at the time of the campaign in order to take the required photo. Essentially, it’s a 21st century version of the “make a purchase during the month of March for a chance to win” idea.

Another idea that some marketers are already catching on to? Using geofilters during a real-time event. For example, if a retailer is running a pop-up shop for a limited time, creating a geofilter for the pop-up location can be a great way to spread the word — and drive foot traffic to the event. If a shopper shares a fun image with a geofilter on Snapchat that also contains information (e.g. “Rita’s Vintage pop-up shop — today only!”), this amplifies the reach of the message.

Essentially, the key for marketers is to leverage the location-specific component of geofilters as one element of an event or campaign to drive foot traffic to the desired areas. And, as a bonus, every customer’s followers will then be able to take in the action on social media.

Read more about geofilters:

Snapchat Now Offers Custom, On-Demand Geofilters — Starting At $5

Foursquare Location Data To Power Snapchat Geofilters

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.