Snapchat Starts Selling Sponsored Geofilters; McDonald’s Steps Up First

More than 1 million snaps a day include location-based stickers. Now brands will be able to create and sponsor their own.

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You want fries with that Snapchat post? Monday, McDonald’s became the first brand to buy into Snapchat’s latest ad product, sponsored geofilters.

Geofilters are digital stickers that Snapchat users overlay on photos and videos they post on the social messaging network. Tied to locations and triggered in the Snapchat app by sensors on mobile phones, they allow people to plant their “Look-at-me-I’m-here flag” at Disneyland, LAX, Las Vegas, the Golden Gate Bridge, Piccadilly Circus and many other places.

Starting Monday, McDonald’s was added to the mix and customers at or nearby any U.S. location were able to decorate their Snapchat posts with illustrations of double cheeseburgers and fries, among other options. The Los Angeles Times reported the news first.

It’s a very playful ad play; the perfect medium for a brand going after Snapchat’s young audience, said by the company to number nearly 100 million daily active users. First introduced last July, Geofilters are wildly popular; Snapchat told the Times that more than 1 million messages are sent with them applied daily. It’s not a stretch to imagine the audience embracing branded filters — really stealthy ads that include a small “Sponsored” label.

Judging from the response on Twitter, the audience is … loving it. Here’s one example:

Snapchat’s only other revenue comes from ads that are inserted between user-generated content in its Live Stories feature and the professionally-produced Discover section. Ads in Discover reportedly sell for a $20 CPM. Snapchat declined to reveal to the Times the price McDonald’s is paying for sponsored geofilters. We emailed Snapchat asking the same thing and whether any other brands have signed up and will update this post if we receive a response.

Snapchat’s page about geofilters notes: “We’re beta testing Sponsored Geofilters with a few brand partners. We’ll be launching this product broadly later this year.”

Postscript:Snapchat declined to share pricing details for sponsored geofilters and confirmed that McDonald’s was the first sponsor. A spokesperson declined to name other brands in the pipeline but said the company has tested geofilters for DisneyWorld, Soul Cycle, Groundworks and a few other businesses.

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About the author

Martin Beck
Martin Beck was Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter from March 2014 through December 2015.

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