How to Use Snapchat Geofilters to Grow Your Business

Think you’ve checked all the social media marketing boxes? Well, I hate to tell you this, but I don’t think it’s possible. Let me explain: our world is spiraling towards a digital future.  Digital marketing thus continues to evolve, and as you perfect one platform or skill, two others pop up. Although it can be tempting to feel as though you need to scramble to take the reins of each new strategy as soon as it enters this crowded space, be selective about which channels you are going to use for your marketing, as it’s more productive to perfect one skill at a time than to underperform on multiple.  If you’re experiencing growth and conversions on your chosen platforms – like Instagram or Spotify -, and you’re looking to add another tool in your belt, look no further than Snapchat.

Image from Snapchat’s Geofilter Studio

Why Snapchat?

Snapchat offers the most organic paid branding opportunity on any social platform in the form of geofilters.  A showcase of images and videos, Snapchat gives users the ability to share special moments with their family and friends, and the app is most known for its “disappearing” photo and message sharing characteristic.  In the first quarter of 2019, Snapchat reported 190 million active daily users, and as of March 2019, 2,100,000 snaps are created by users every minute.  These users are primarily from the younger demographics: 68% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 use Snapchat and 69% of young adults aged 18-29 are active on the app.  Due to the fact that the Snapchat market is primarily made up of a younger demographic, some brands might steer clear.  However, this younger-generation appeal is what has encouraged other brands to step outside of their social media marketing comfort zone.

A geofilter created by Starbucks with Snapchat’s Geofilter Studio

With branded geofilters, brands can participate in shared moments, thus developing a personal connection with users while building brand recognition.  Companies that have had wild success with Snapchat Geofilter campaigns include Sour Patch Kids, who boosted their following by 120,000, Amazon, Starbucks, and universities across the country.  Using geofilters increases user engagement, brand awareness, and user reach.  Whether you use filters to announce new products, promote events, or share company culture, filters are an organic brand boost that should be taken advantage of sooner rather than later.  According to Snapchat, businesses should enlist their services because of their experience and proven results, their reliable performance, and their privacy and security guarantee.

Geofilter Studio

A geofilter created by McDonald’s with Snapchat’s Geofilter Studio

Snapchat advertising campaigns are created on Snapchat’s Geofilter Studio, where marketing and creative experts partner with your brand to help you build a customizable, effective, and engaging filter.  Snapchat’s team operates 7 days a week, and they guarantee that their design and sales team will provide “incredible customer service and rapid turnaround time.”  Among the services that are provided throughout the filter customization process are a campaign strategy, audience targeting and optimization, geofence pricing and optimization, and performance metric reporting.  In order to guarantee the most effective campaign, Snapchat truly does take the hard work into their hands. Brands that have used, trusted, and had success with the Geofilter Studio include McDonald’s, Google, Amazon Web Services, and Target. 

Getting Started

To kickstart geofilter customization with Snapchat, 1) you first will select the run time of your filter: a geofilter that runs longer than one month is considered long-term, whereas one that runs shorter than one month is short-term.  There is also an option to look into their Augmented Reality option, which is directed by Geofilter Studio’s parent company, EveryStudio

After selecting your campaign’s run time, 2) you will then be directed to the Business Inquiry form, where you will be prompted to fill out basic information about your company, including company name, address, and interests and ideas related to your geofilter vision.  If you plan on creating a short-term filter, 3) you can then immediately begin the customization process by filling out business filter details including copy, colors, logos, and custom imagery.  For long-term filters, you will be contacted by the design team in order to establish these details after submitting the Business Inquiry.

Designing Your Geofilter

You will work directly with Snapchat’s design team to create a geofilter that aligns with your ideas.  Geofilters are truly customizable; Snapchat says that, “Our designers can make anything imaginable, just describe your ideas and we will make them come true.” From colors, images, logos, and even to custom cartoons, you can incorporate any visuals into your filter; files can be uploaded directly into the form or can be described in text boxes if you do not have any reference photos.  The design process can take anywhere from 24-48 hours, but Snapchat ensures that if you need your filter sooner, then they will do their best to accommodate you.


From the design page, you will be directed to the payment page.  Prices for businesses range from $50 to around $450, depending on the level of customization.  However, Snapchat ensures that they are more than happy to accommodate a business’ budget if need be. The design fee is a one-time payment per filter and does not include the Snapchat Activation fee.  The Snapchat Submission Fee is free with all orders.

According to the Geofilter Studio, the Activation fee is “based on the timeframe and geographic area that the geofilter will be active over.” The Account Manager assigned to your project will handle the submission and management process for your campaign.  The following guidelines and limits determine the Activation fee: 

  • The geofence size can be anywhere from 2,000 square feet (approximately the size of a house and a yard) to 50 million square feet. 
  • Generally, the geofilter timeframe can range from 1 hour to 6 months, but businesses in the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, Kuwait, Mexico, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Lebanon, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and UAE have the exclusive ability to have their filter active for up to a year.

In order to optimize your geofilter budget, Snapchat advises the following: 

  • “For extended time frames, the Activation Fee is cheaper on a per day basis.”
  • “Businesses looking to utilize geofilters as a long-term marketing tool should consider investing in a longer term geofilter to capitalize on these savings while still experiencing increased marketing benefits.” 

Other pieces of information to know about Snapchat Geofencing are: 

  • Depending on your location, the Activation fee could be inflated.  For example, custom filters in luxury hotels, stadiums, and metropolitan areas can incur a larger fee.
  • You will not be charged the Snapchat Activation fee until you have approved both the design and the Geofence.

After Campaign Launch

Following your approval and payment of your brand’s geofilter, you will receive an analytics report from Geofilter Studio.  These are the key metrics available for Business Geofilters: paid impressions, earned impressions, shares, share rate, camera time (the average number of seconds your ad was seen as an overlay option), and paid reach. 

Image from Snapchat’s Geofilter Studio

Particularly for reaching younger demographics, Snapchat geofilters are an effective and cost-friendly ways to promote your brand.  Using Snapchat’s Geofilter Studio means that you gain access to their marketing experts, graphic designers, and metric reporting capabilities.  If you are looking to strengthen or add to the tools in your marketing toolbox, look no further than Snapchat geofilters, as they are a highly customizable, cost efficient, and organic branding opportunity.

Fifth Tribe Geofilters created by lead designer, Schuyler Mobley.

Featured Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Khuram Zaman

Khuram Zaman is the CEO of Fifth Tribe, a leading digital agency serving the Washington DC Metropolitan Area based out of the 1776 Startup Co-working Space. In his professional capacity, he has provided digital marketing services to clients as diverse as the Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, Oxfam America, Ernst and Young, and The Hult Prize. His writing has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, and Business2Community. Khuram is the host of the Campfire: Impact and Innovation live podcast on Youtube. In his free-time, Khuram serves as a mentor to startups through the Peace Tech Accelerator, the Halycon Incubator, and is also a Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown University