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How to Create a Branded Snapchat Geofilter for Your Business

July 13, 2016 | Andrew Brown

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for accuracy. 

Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks, with over 100 million active users who watch 10 billion videos a day. A branded Snapchat Geofilter is a fun and effective way to enhance your brand’s appeal while getting your name in front of localized audiences on this exciting channel.

Snapchat started with two variations of Geofilters: Community Geofilters that could be submitted by anyone for free, and Sponsored Geofilters that big-budget brands could create to cover large areas. Recently, Snapchat announced On-Demand Geofilters that allow anyone, including smaller businesses and agencies, to create and distribute custom-branded overlays in specific locations for a set period.

Unlike Snapchat Lenses, which add real-time special effects and are available regardless of location, Geofilters can only be accessed in specific geographic areas determined by the creator. Since Snapchat unveiled Geofilters to the world, people have used the feature to honor famous landmarks, events, or ­­even commemorate weddings.

What’s more, many of the world’s biggest brands are reaping the benefits, including Starbucks, Nike, and BMW.

In an advertising world where every second counts, it’s critical to identify the best ways to reach your addressable audience. And given Snapchat’s skyrocketing popularity, it’s no surprise that Geofilters have become one of the more exciting new methods for driving brand awareness.

Are you curious about how to can unleash your own dynamic, On-Demand Geofilter? It’s a simple, four-step process: Design, Schedule, Map, and Buy.

Step 1: Create a Compelling Design

Since Snapchat is inherently image-based, make sure your Geofilter is compelling to ensure that it is accepted by the platform. You can still Snapchat’s predesigned templates on Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, (When saving your file on Photoshop and Illustrator, make sure the file is on a single artboard or canvas, respectively.) but its recent update makes the creation process exponentially easier.

Snapchat is now providing themed templates directly on its On-Demand website. While the options will likely expand over time, this first update includes themed templates for birthdays, celebrations, and weddings.

Here are three design tips from the Content Services Team at Brand Networks you should consider when building your own Snapchat Geofilter:

Keep it Simple

To make sure you’re getting the most from your Geofilter, our Content Services team recommends keeping the design vector-based and straightforward. Remember, your objective is to create a scene that users will want to interact with, not to create something that will overwhelm their screens.

One way to do this is to utilize transparent gradients, which ensure the design seamlessly incorporates itself into users’ pictures and videos. (See below for examples using Geofilters created for two of Brand Networks’ office locations)

IMG_5343    bn-SM-snapchat

Focus on the User Experience

Snapchat’s primary purpose is to provide users with a compelling photo and video-sharing experience. So, as you design your Geofilter, it’s imperative that you keep that in mind to avoid creating a spammy experience.

Make sure the user’s image speaks the loudest, and that it won’t be overshadowed by yours. Our Content Services team recommends that the Geofilter be designed to enhance the Snap and provide a fun and friendly experience—not take it over. It’s also important that the design makes sense for all types of mobile devices.

Stay True to the Brand

Just like any branded content, it’s important that your Geofilters remain consistent with your brand’s image, and if done correctly, they should appear as a seamless extension of what your brand is attempting to convey. While you should always try to create fun, engaging content that’s appropriate for Snapchat’s audience, never do it in a way that compromises your brand’s image, voice or values.

No matter how compelling your content is, though, it’s most important that you stay within Snapchat’s guidelines. Make sure your design follows size requirements (1080px wide by 1920px high), and that you leave a buffer zone to ensure your Geofilter doesn’t take over the screen.

Step 2: Choose the Dates and Duration

When do you want your Geofilter to be available? Of course, the price is a direct reflection of the time frame, so the longer you want your Geofilter available, the more it’s going to cost. To decide what timeframe is best, determine what your Geofilter’s purpose is. Are you promoting a particular event? If that’s the case, consider having the Geofilter available a few days leading up to the event and then the day of.

It ultimately comes down to what you want and what your budget will allow. If you want your Geofilter available every day for a month, which is the maximum Snapchat allows, that’s certainly possible, but it’s important to weigh the cost of that investment against what you’re hoping to gain.

Step 3: Choose the Area

Now that you have a timeframe, the next step is to determine the geofence (geographic footprint) you want your Geofilter to be available within.

Snapchat Location

You’ll be prompted with the above screen, an easy-to-use mapping tool. Your geofence has some wiggle room, but can’t exceed 5 million square feet. For example, when building one of Brand Networks’ Geofilters, we selected the area around Brand Networks’ Rochester office, in this case, an area just under 4 million square feet.

To make the experience as transparent and user-friendly as possible, as you draw your fence, Snapchat combines your timeframe with the size and automatically calculates the price. As you can see above, a Geofilter running for one day in a large area surrounding Brand Networks’ Rochester office, it would cost just under $80.

Step 4: Checkout

Once you have all the specifics of your Geofilter sorted out, the final step is completing the purchase and waiting for review, which should happen by the following business day.

When budgeting for your Geofilter, keep in mind that pricing will vary by location. For instance, a Geofilter in New York City is going to cost more per square foot than one in Rochester.

At Brand Networks, we created Geofilters for our offices in Rochester, Boston, New York City, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Chicago, Mexico City, London, and Sydney.

Pricing for month-long Geofilter campaigns ranged from 8/10 of a cent per square foot in Rochester to 5 cents per square foot in New York City. The average per-square-foot price for a one month Geofilter was 9/10 of a cent. This was the cost in London, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Boston.

Snapchat Order Snapchat Payment

Step 5: Analyze

Once your Geofilter is approved, Snapchat provides some useful metrics to gauge its efficacy: Views and Uses. Views indicate who’s seen or scrolled by the Geofilter, and Uses refer to the number of users who posted photo or video content featuring your Geofilter. Although you can view these metrics throughout the campaign, you’ll get the most benefit out of seeing how your campaign did overall. To find these, go to geofilters.snapchat.com, log in, and use the menu in the top right to select your order.

If you’re curious about how your branded Snapchat Geofilter performed in comparison to other social ads you’ve run, all you have to do is take the number of Views the Geofilter received during the campaign’s flight, and the cost. Then, essentially back into cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions, which is a common performance metric used by other types of digital media.

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Growing at unprecedented speeds, Snapchat Geofilters are an engaging and interactive way to get your brand in front of a localized audience. Couple that with their relative affordability, and there’s no reason your brand shouldn’t give Geofilters a try.

To learn more about Snapchat and its evolving advertising and marketing capabilities, be sure to add Brand Networks on Snapchat. We use this channel to share tips and tricks for telling stories and finding business value on Snapchat.

To add Brand Networks on Snapchat, search for “brandnetworks” or scan the Snapcode below!

Brand Networks Snap Code

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Andrew Brown

Marketing Coordinator