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Tips for Designing Snapchat On-Demand Geofilters

Snapchat is undoubtedly the most popular kid on the marketing block right now. Big brands are paying big bucks for sponsored lenses to promote their products – with everyone from Benefit Cosmetics to Twentieth Century Fox forking over between $600,000 and $750,000 for 24 hours of a fun custom lens that generates high engagement.

But luckily, Snapchat is not only accessible to massive companies with multimillion-dollar marketing budgets. When Snapchat launched On-Demand Geofilters earlier this year, it created an affordable and effective new way for businesses to reach customers.

A Geofilter allows Snapchat users to choose a graphic overlay for their photos and videos when they’re in a specific location. If your brand designs an appealing Geofilter and activates it at the right time and place, you have the potential to reach a wide audience – quickly and without a big investment. When one Snapchat user sends a snap with your Geofilter (or adds it to her Story), your brand is now in front of not just one person, but lots of her friends as well.

We’ve been incorporating On-Demand Geofilters into the marketing strategy for a few different clients, and we’re very happy with the impressions and engagement we’ve been seeing. If you haven’t yet tested out Geofilters for your brand, invest a few dollars and give them a try. Here are a few tips to help you design effective Geofilters that get the most out of your budget.

Get familiar with the submission guidelines.

You’ll save yourself some time by learning the difference between Community and On-Demand Geofilters, and reading the submission guidelines carefully. In short:

  • Make sure you have the rights to use the logos or other graphics you’re putting in the Geofilter
  • Make the visuals creative, appealing and relevant
  • Leave out the clutter (no hashtags, URLs, emails, Snapcodes, etc.)
  • Design to the correct dimensions (1080 px wide by 1920 px high) and preview to see how it will display on different devices
  • Submit with your business name if you’re a brand

Put yourself in your users’ shoes.

Timing and location are incredibly important to a Geofilter’s success. Plan around specific events, holidays and times of day when your audience is most likely to be active on Snapchat.

For our client Beach House Dewey, we created Geofilter campaigns for clients over Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July. We set it for areas close to the hotel that had a good chance of reaching our target audience, including the beach and nearby restaurants and bars. Your Geofilter doesn’t have to be set at your business’ location, so think about where your potential customers spend their time.

Keep the parameters tight.

How much you pay for a Geofilter depends on the size of the area you choose, and the length of time you have it active. Maximize your budget by spending a little extra time choosing these parameters. If you want to target restaurants on both sides of a large thoroughfare, for example, don’t highlight the entire area, including the street. People driving by are probably not (we hope!) using Snapchat. Instead, create two separate Geofilters, one for either side of the street, so you’re not paying for the dead space in the middle.

Similarly, don’t run your campaign from 9 a.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday if between 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. there won’t be much activity. Create two different Geofilters, and save your budget for peak hours.

Make your design simple and appealing.

Again, think about it from your users’ perspective. What will they be excited to use on their photos and share with their friends? A graphic overlay with a huge logo probably won’t make the cut, nor will anything that requires too much work to put on a snap.

Keep the Geofilter design simple and non-invasive (stick to the top or the bottom of the frame, not both). Downplay your branding, and let the user’s content remain the focus. In one of our campaigns for Beach House Dewey, we created a graphic with a sandcastle that users could put on their beach photos; it was fun and straightforward, and the only branded element was a subtle logo placed on a flag flying on the castle. Users who engaged with the Geofilter had positive, but understated, exposure to the brand.

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