Up close: How the new Snapchat On-Demand Geofilters work

For as little as $5 per day, Snapchat lets anyone create custom stamps to add when sharing from particular locations. Will competitors target each other?

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One of the coolest things in Snapchat is the ability to add a geofilter to an image, a special stamp with the name of a place, business or event. Now, anyone, including brands, can easily make their own.

Snapchat announced the news today, saying that for as little as $5, you can create geofilters for anywhere within the US, the UK and Canada.

Here’s a walk-through of how these work. In this example, I went through the process to make one that would appear for anyone attending our SMX search marketing conference.

Submit Your Image

The first step is to visit the new On-Demand Geofilters area at Snapchat. You have to sign in with your Snapchat account information, then upload a file that meets the technical and creative guidelines.


Pick Your Dates

Next, you choose the date or dates you want the geofilter to be available. The longer it runs, the more you pay — though you won’t know the exact cost until you pick a location.

On-Demand_Geofilters 2

Select Your Location

Now for the fun part — geofencing. This means you’ll draw a virtual fence around the area where you want the geofilter to be available. It’s easy. You just click to highlight the area you want, which needs to be at least 20,000 square feet. Then you’ll be shown the cost for that area and those dates:

On-Demand_Geofilters 3

Pay & Play

Finally, you’ll be asked to submit a credit card and indicate if the geofilter is for personal or business use. The main difference is that personal geofilters can’t include brand images.

After placing your order, the geofilter goes off to Snapchat for review — there’s no ability for it to appear instantly. Currently, Snapchat says you’ll know by the next business day if it’s approved. In my test, it took about five minutes.

If approved, then you’ll have filters like some of these I’ve spotted myself, in the past:


Here’s how one of our own looked that we ran during SMX:

After It Goes Live

Snapchat will email you when your geofilter goes live and send you another email when it ends. You can also view metrics for your geofilter. Here’s an example of how it shows the uses and overall views for a campaign we ran:

snapchat metrics

Sadly, you can’t take a preexisting geofilter and reuse it for the future. Instead, you have to create an entire new order from scratch, including uploading your image again.

Snapchat’s Limits

There are cases where On-Demand Geofilter orders you place might get disapproved. In particular, Snapchat won’t allow more than seven geofilters at any time in any particular location. You won’t know if this limit has been reached when placing your order; you’ll only be told after the fact.

Snapchat also won’t allow On-Demand Geofilters to appear in the same place where Live Stories or Sponsored Geofilters may be running. Again, you might not realize this is the case when placing an initial order.

Targeting Competitors?

It’ll be interesting to see how these play out. It certainly makes it super-easy for many brands to quickly build them around their own businesses. But it also makes it possible for brands to target other businesses and events offered by competitors.

Microsoft, for example, potentially could target Google’s big I/O conference — and Google could do the same with Microsoft’s Build event. The guidelines don’t seem to prevent this. Will dueling geofilters be headed our way?

Postscript: This story was originally posted on February 22, 2016 and updated to reflect new information about Snapchat’s geofilter limits and to add in campaign metrics.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Danny Sullivan
Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, MarTech, and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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