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A New Industry Standard That’s Flying Under the Radar: Custom Snapchat Geofilters

A New Industry Standard That’s Flying Under the Radar: Custom Snapchat Geofilters

The case for using Snapchat as part of your event social media strategy, and a step-by-step guide to get started

Note: Since social media networks like Snapchat are updated regularly, we recommend always cross-referencing its support page.

As an Art Director for the brand experiences of several major corporate brands, I’m surprised to see how despite the power of social media, brands have been slow to embrace the power of Snapchat to engage event audiences. 

Despite backlash against a recent redesign, Snapchat downloads are up. And with more than 300 million active monthly users, this growing social media platform deserves a closer look.

Snapchat creates all kinds of opportunities for marketers looking to get in front of relevant audiences, allow users to co-create with the brand, and boost that all-important brand connection. With so much potential to reach relevant audiences, why is Snapchat so often left on the cutting room floor and out of an event’s social media plan?

Whatever the reason, the result is that marketers are losing out on not only the opportunity to provide connections attendees are sure to enjoy, but also the clear metrics that can guide future social media campaigns.

Driving Attendee Engagement in a Snap

As an experience-sharing platform, Snapchat is deceptively easy. Users simply take a picture or video, make it fun (by applying filters, stickers, or doodles), and share it. They can create a sense of inclusivity by sharing Snaps with specific friends, or they can cultivate FOMO by posting Snaps on their own Story.

Regardless of how updates are shared, they have a short lifespan: just 10 seconds for Snaps (unless put on loop) and 24 hours for Stories.

Snapchat empowers brands to take experience-sharing at in-person events a step further, particularly by creating unique, event-based Geofilters. Geofilters are fun, customized overlays businesses can create and share with Snapchat audiences based on specific user locations, dates, and times.   

Brands can even deliver hyper-personalized live event experiences by targeting specific venues and moments of the day.

And the cost won’t break the budget: The price for a Geofilter campaign starts at just $5, which covers 20,000 square feet and lasts one hour, and they can easily be created and purchased through Snapchat.

5 Steps to Creating Memorable Geofilters

With just a little planning, every brand can leverage the power of Snapchat Geofilters to amplify its message effectively. These five tips can help your next Geofilter campaign be the talk of the town.

1. Design to the Platform

It might surprise you to learn that Snapchat users share content beyond selfies. Instead, users share a wide variety of content, from photos of landscapes and food to videos of live performances and moving transportation. So, don’t limit Geofilter designs to just those that enhance selfies. Keep designs flexible by using the edges of the screen — like creating a customized frame — or adding Geofilters to just the top or bottom quarter of the frame. This helps keep the focal point clean and clear, increasing the chances of users applying the Geofilter.

2. Prototype and Adjust

Snapchat Business Geofilters are still relatively new, so expect a few kinks when designing one for an event. There will generally be some back and forth with Snapchat on a design to ensure it matches Snapchat guidelines. And the design submitted to Snapchat isn’t always identical to the filter that goes live.

Once your design has been approved, launch it for an hour to see exactly how the filter will appear and what the user’s experience will be. If any technical or design issues need to be resolved, you’ll need to cancel the Geofilter and resubmit a revised design. Keep prototyping until you’re happy with the results.

This step of testing Geofilters before the big day follows a simple rule I have for myself: Always be prototyping.

3. Submit Designs Early

Snapchat requires Geofilters to be submitted a minimum of four days before the go-live date, and they also restrict the number of Geofilters in any one area. As well, you’ll need extra time for the back-and-forth of the design process. Once approved, claim your event date, time, and location as early as possible, or you may be out of luck in getting a coveted spot.

4. Amplify Your Social Media Strategy

Now that you’ve launched your Geofilter, make sure attendees can find it. Even though you’ve identified your target audience, your filter will be one of many they see, and likely won’t be on the initial screen.

Use Snapchat and your event hashtag in the days and weeks leading up to the event as you post exclusive content, behind-the-scenes footage, and sneak peeks at the event Geofilter. During the event itself, capture and share moments on your Story. You can even download those Snapchat images to your other social media platforms to gain traction and promote your Snapchat presence.

5. Design a Complete Snapchat Campaign for the Best ROI

Geofilter applications are all about flexibility. They can run for as little as one hour over thousands of square feet or for 180 days at 50 million square feet. Geofilter usage often spikes around pivotal moments in the event experience, like meet and greets, live bands at registration, and final parties.

So for the best campaign results, be strategic in your approach. This may mean targeting these key moments with a cohesive campaign of filters. Not only will it cost less than running the same filter continuously, it will also enhance memorable touchpoints and encourage multiple uses — and that’s where you’ll get the biggest ROI.

When your Geofilter campaign is over, don’t forget to access Snapchat’s wide range of metrics. From the number of swipes and views to usage statistics, Snapchat delivers essential insights that let you calculate the value derived from the platform.

Snapchat is all about being in the moment, and their temporary vignettes make every moment special and unique. Leverage this unique audience channel through thoughtful applications and creative designs that support your goal, help you reach new markets, and enhance existing brand connections.


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Stephanie wallis

Stephanie Bellay

Art Director

She is a brainstorm fanatic. It’s her favorite creative activity because brainstorms spawn creative ideas that are better than any one person could come up with on their own, and she loves to be a part of that collective. But for Stephanie, it doesn’t end there. She knows that the best design...

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