What exactly is Snapchat?

Directly from Snapchat’s website, founders Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel described the creation of Snapchat as a way to escape insecurities in life by posting temporary photos that could only last as long as 10-seconds.

Snapchat, compared to other social media networks, can be described as the most personalized and creative social platform, as users are able to draw art on themselves, add funny filters to their faces, create specific Snap Groups with friends, use Bitmojis (custom emojis of the user) in their pictures, and even catch-up on the daily news stories in a large, interactive setting.

Snapchat by the Numbers:

What’s great about Snapchat for businesses, however, is the personalized ad experience that can be offered to prospects and potential customers. One of the best ways to do this is by using a Geofilter.

A Geofilter? What’s that?

When a Snapchat user takes a picture—snap—the user has the option to attach a unique filter to each of their snaps. Similar to those on Instagram, these filters can include different color films placed over the photo, or they can be even more personalized and unique. For example, some filters allow the “Snapper” to give more details about their Snap. Filters that include speedometers, thermometers, and even altimeters, allow Snappers to display real-time information to their audience.

Geofilters, then, allow a business to create a customized filter that Snappers can apply to any Snap they take, albeit these Snaps must be taken within the boundaries of in the geographic location purchased by a business. Similar to geo-fencing, pricing for a Geofilter is determined by the square-footage desired (20,000-500,000), dates, and time the Geofilter will be active. In other words, the more reach desired, the more expensive the filter will be. Think of Geofilters as a type of postcard for anyone to use, but instead of a location, your business’s logo will appear along with their Snap! Just like the real-time filters mentioned above, Geofilters have the potential to be highly engaging forms of advertising. When used in a Snapper’s “story,” (running reel of snaps that are public and re-playable for 24 hours,) Geofilters have the potential of gaining hundreds—if not thousands—of personable views on a full-screen scale of a smartphone.

With the potential of gaining those staggering numbers of uses, remember that Geofilters are only designed for brand awareness. There is no option (at least, not yet,) to allow Geofilters to warrant clicks and drive traffic. Therefore, if you’re promoting some sort of call-to-action with a Geofilter, keep in mind that this might not be the best way to drive website traffic, and you won’t be able to pull any report that shows clicks to your website after viewing the Geofilter.

I know what a Geofilter is, but when should I use it?

In order to gain a maximum ROI, a decent amount of time should be allocated to the strategy of your Geofilter. At a weekend festival, for instance, your business needs to decide when would be the best time to turn the Geofilter on and also when to switch it off. If a festival ends at 6 PM, do you want to leave your filter on for an extra hour to catch some stragglers, or would you rather allocate funds to the start of the event’s second or third day? Although there’s no tried-and-true method for this type of strategy, there is no real reason for leaving a Geofilter on in the dead of the night or in the wee-hours of morning—unless, of course, that’s the time the event is taking place.

For ROI and time’s sake, be sure that you only use a Geofilter when at least one of the following conditions are present in your marketing campaign:

  • The target market segment is in their 30s or under
  • The campaign’s goal is to build brand awareness
  • The campaign can be used at an event
  • If not promoting at an event, the filter is year-round at your business.

Finally, keep in mind that a quarter of Snapchat’s total users have yet to graduate high school! The older demographics are slowly, but surely, adopting the app, but it will still take a great deal of time for them to outnumber the younger Millennials and Generation Z users.

What should my Geofilter look like?

The design of a Geofilter needs to directly relate to your business’s goal with this type of campaign. Do you hope to capture simple brand awareness? A creative, clean-looking logo might suffice. Hoping prospects will take screenshots and then post to other forms of social media? Consider designing an interactive filter that will encourage high involvement from Snappers, like a duck bill filter, or maybe a sunglasses filter—just be sure you don’t forget the company name somewhere on the filter. In this case, you want to be as unobtrusive as possible while still achieving the side-goal of brand awareness!

At the end of the day, just remember this key takeaway—creativity matters. Your end goal here is to instill users with a desire to use your Geofilter. Without the proper creativity and functionality, your Geofilter may succumb to a “right-swipe.”

Our Campaign at Springfield Artsfest 2017:

During Springfield, Missouri’s annual Artsfest, we created, implemented, and organized a Geofilter campaign for a local Springfield business. At an event that 81,000 attended in 2016, Artsfest is local-staple of the community, as the event offers artists of all mediums a chance to network, collaborate, and even show off some of their best works and talents. This Geofilter was targeted toward a very specific niche of people at this two-day event, as the Geofilter was not a generic design that anyone could relate to. In other words, the filter had “conditions” attached to it that, if not abided, would make the user seem awkward and ignorant of the filter’s and client’s message.

Results from Artsfest Snapchat Geofilter Campaign:

  • Total amount of funds spent for a two-day campaign, spanning 20 hours total: $83.14
  • Impressions (number of times a user viewed the filter in their carousel): 551
  • Conversions (actual use and sending of a Snap using the filter): 70
  • Views (number of times the filter was seen by users in either a story or snap sent to them): 4,961
  • Cost per…
    • Impression: $0.15
    • Conversion: $1.19
    • View: $0.01 – $0.02

It’s important to note that although 70 uses of the Geofilter might seem low, these 70 Snaps were seen almost 5000 times. Specifically, this means that each use of the Geofilter resulted in 70 views per use.

Summary and conclusions:

Snapchat offers businesses a new, inexpensive way to accomplish the feat of brand awareness in an engaging and fun experience that links a business to a potential customer’s personal life. While specific demographic marketing isn’t possible with Snapchat, (at least, not yet) there are various demographics that are already present due to the type of audience that uses Snapchat.

After reading, you may be asking yourself, should I be using Geofilters? Depending on the size of your market and budget, the answer to this question might be a bit tricky. If your audience and market is large enough and you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive way to promote your business at an event, a Geofilter can help boost your audience awareness. Be careful, though, as the wrong festival or target market may not be as receptive to your filters. If your market is Baby Boomers or the event has a high attendance of the older generations, Geofilters wouldn’t be worth your time.

If you’re not looking to capitalize at an event, Snapchat offers year-round Geofilters for your business! These are also relatively inexpensive; they offer something familiar to your guests when they return, and it might just spark a desire to return. Whether you want to provide customers with a Geofilter to make them look like an auto mechanic at your auto repair shop, or you’d like to give them a wacky haircut at your barbershop, these year-round Geofilters can help increase brand awareness while also providing your customers with a lot of fun.

Looking back, our campaign at Springfield’s Artsfest was a success, and we were able to acquire very high numbers of brand awareness for relatively low price. We’re excited to continue to offer these services to both our current clients and future clients, and we can’t wait to see more results from future campaigns!