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You stopped picking up phone calls so your parents started texting you. Next, they added you as friends on Facebook. Now, be ready for them to find you on Snapchat; puppy-dog filter and all. Yes, people are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but Snapchat is now the place where people go to share, in real time, what is happening, capturing the world in its purest, distilled form; the way people see it.

With 150 million daily users, and an average of 2.5 billion snaps sent per day (that’s 9,000 snaps every second for those without a calculator), Snapchat is the next mobile platform to offer businesses an entirely new way to engage consumers. Not only that, Snapchat is unique in that its platform is 100% mobile, and its audience is primarily under the age of 34. Yet, only 1% of brands are reaching Snapchatters, so, what gives? What are the ways to advertise, the costs of doing so, the limitations, the feedback metrics, and should your brand pursue this avenue?

What types of ads are there? And what about the cost?

Snapchat offers three types of advertising opportunities: traditional Snap Ads, Sponsored Lenses, and Geofilters.

Traditional Snap Ads are 10 second vertical video ads, that can be customized to include a “swipe up” option that allows users to read an article, download an app, be taken to business’s website, or view a longer version of the advertisement. These traditional Snap Ads require a minimum expenditure of… $40,000 a month (yikes). Sponsored Lenses, such as the Gatorade Super Bowl lens, that allowed Snap users to have orange Gatorade drenched over them, are another advertising option, but are rumoured to cost in extent of $500,000 (double yikes).

There must be another way! And there is. For small businesses who want results without the costs, Snapchat Geofilters are an interesting option. After they have taken their picture of video, filters are available to Snap users by swiping left or right, which creates a graphic overlay on top of users’ pictures or videos. Pricing for Geofilters is dependent on two factors; the size of the geofence and the number of days you want the Geofilters to be active. As a roundabout figure, Snapchat charges approximately $5 per 20,000 square feet.

How big? How long? What can I include in my filter?

Your Geofilter will only be available to users in the geofence that you create, and during the dates that you set for it to be available. You’ll want to make sure that your geofence and time period is relevant. For example, if you were launching a coffee shop, place the geofilter in the block or two around the shop on the launch day. Your geoframe can be up to 5 million square feet, and can be live for up to a month.

Snapchat does have some restrictions about content of the filter. You cannot include phone numbers, emails, hashtags, social media usernames, and all logo and trademarks must be authorized for usage.

You can create your filter by using the graphic software of your choice, or by using Snapchat’s online “filter maker”. The most important thing to remember is to be creative and make it visually compelling! Make something that Snapchat users will want to send to their friends. Geofilters are about sharing a location, event, fun effect, or idea and should be something that Snapchat users will want to send to their friends.

Success? Failure? Reach?

After your Geofilter has been approved by Snapchat and is active, you can see how many times it has been used and been viewed. Unfortunately, for a predominantly mobile platform, the only way to check your filter’s metrics are to sign in to your Snap account on their website, not their app. Once logged in, you see data on conversions, the number of times your filter was applied to a Snap, and views. Views count for Snaps sent in a story, or sent directly to a Snapchatter.

Small-Business In Action

So, how about an example. The Hoopsfix All-Star Classic is an annual event that showcases the best basketball talent in Britain. In an effort to engage the audience who were attending, while spreading word of the event, the organizers created a Geofilter. The Geofilter was live for 25 hours, spanning approximately 80,000 square feet, costing a total of $30. The results: by the time the filter expired, it had been used 389 times and received 91,346 views. Not bad for your casual $30 in spending!

No Cost Options

Don’t want to spend anything on Snapchat marketing? No problem. Some brands simply use Snapchat as a regular user, posting Snaps to their stories. Brands have found success using promo codes due to the high engagement rates. Brands have also found success using Snapchat to launch a new product, offering customers a behind the sneak first-glimpse at the new product.


Puppy-dog filter aside, with Snap’s IPO, and over 10 billion daily views, this once adorably unexplainable app is suddenly poised for global domination. Marketers need to be ready to keep the snap streak going, and use the ephemeral content app to reach these under 25 users while the platform is still new and “cool”. If you want to translate a couple dollars into thousands of views or if your target market is younger users, it may just be the perfect vehicle for your brand message.