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Should your business be thinking about Snapchat Geofilters?

Should your business be thinking about Snapchat Geofilters?

Friday, September 02, 2016

In celebration of A-level results this week, Nationwide Building Society partnered with Snapchat to offer a custom geofilter and lens across the UK, aiming to target its next generation of customers.

Only available on results day (18th August), the lens and geofilter enabled students to celebrate with their friends on Snapchat with balloons and confetti in Nationwide brand colours, and messages such as ‘smashed it’!



Speaking to Marketing Week, Alex Bennett, senior manager of digital marketing at Nationwide, said he “didn’t want to just launch yet another geofilter but something that was highly targeted and relevant by only being available for a set amount of time”.

“You could put out a beautiful piece of filmic content that is 90 seconds long and talks about the journey from student through to adulthood and even retirement. But this audience would prefer bite-size content so if you get the creative right, you can potentially do as much with a Snapchat filter as a 90 second film,” Bennett explained.

What are Snapchat geofilters, and why use them?

Geofilters are fun, location-based overlays that users can add to their snaps, by searching for what’s available within their local area. They can be created for personal or business use. ‘Community Geofilter’ submissions are free, and can be used to share a location such as a city, university or local landmark. Snapchat says it does its best to select those that “are visually compelling and represent the location”.

Businesses (and individuals too) can purchase ‘On-Demand Geofilters’ for a specific location, for maybe an event, product launch, local business opening or even just some office fun.

With a daily video view count of 10bn, it’s easy to see why Snapchat is fast becoming the go-to platform for brands looking to reach and engage with millennials. According to Snapchat, in the US, a single national sponsored geofilter typically reaches 40% to 60% of daily Snapchatters.


Geofilters can help to communicate the ‘where and when’ of a snap, and give businesses an opportunity to engage with an individual in that ‘micro-moment’ (as Google likes to call it!). When used creatively, they can be an effective way for a brand or business to show that they are social-savvy, and can build audience attention organically, without any ad intrusion or hard sell.

So for example, in the US, Austin-based agency GSD&M created its own custom geofilter which featured its name and founding year in white and was available for its employees to use within its office space between 9am and 5pm. Employees were able to have a bit of fun with the filter, by sitting emoji passengers on the Southwest Airlines bench in the office for example (Southwest is a client).

See below a snap taken by an employee at GSD&M…


Where to begin?

If you’re keen to get started with Snapchat geofilters, here are a few beginner tips to consider…

  • Be targeted in your location, as the greater the area, the larger the expense. Pricing for on-demand Geofilters starts at $5, with the cost depending on the size of the geofence and the length of time the filter will remain active.
  • In a city location particularly, with dense population, a small geo-fence can still attract a few hundred individuals and a large number of businesses      and offices.
  • Creativity is king. As geofilters rise in popularity, which is already happening, a small business could still face some fair competition within a small geographic location. So ultimately, it will be the creative that helps to create cut-through and standout from the crowd. Consider the audience carefully, to ensure the creative is relevant and in touch with their interests.
  • Plan ahead. According to Snapchat, it can take up to a day for filter designs to be approved, although there are many reports of filters being approved in less than an hour.
  • Think about how you can enhance the user experience. Snapchat users add geofilters when they want to share where they are with their family and friends.
  • Location-based events are ripe for picking. If you’re sponsoring or taking part in a local event, this can be the perfect opportunity to test out geofilters. The Bournemouth Air Festival this weekend, for example, would potentially offer lots of scope for local business creativity.
  • Think short-term activations, initially. These are affordable options for small businesses, and can be used as a learning exercise also. The Nationwide campaign above lasted just one day, so this can be sensible for big brand thinking too.

We’ve already seen a lot of businesses experiment with Snapchat geofilters, and there’s no reason why smaller local businesses shouldn’t get in on the fun!

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