Here's Why Smart Marketers Are Already Mastering Snapchat Geofilters

Snapchat Geofilters have all the signs of being The Next Big Thing. Get in before it gets too noisy.

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By John Lincoln


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Last July, Snapchat released a new feature called geofilters. Geofilters are graphical overlays available to Snapchat users in specific areas. Back then, geofilters were only available for public places. For example, you could use a geofilter if you were at Disneyland or the Santa Monica pier.

After a while, Snapchat natives got restless and pleaded with the development team to enable geofilters for businesses and private events. Their pleas were answered. In February, Snapchat released custom, on-demand filters for all users. Now, anyone can create a geofilter, and upload it so that it's available to other Snapchat users.

What's in it for you?

As a digital marketer, you may be wondering: How would a Snapchat geofilter benefit my business in any way?

My answer: It's an outstanding way to build brand-name recognition.

Think about it. You have the potential to develop a creative geofilter with your logo. You can then make it available to anyone, who takes a snap in a specific area or at an event.

When the Snapchat user sends the snap with your overlay, it's seen by his or her friends. Now, multiply that by 1,000 or 10,000.

You see where I'm going? A geofilter is an excellent way to get the word out about your brand.

Geofilters are great if you're targeting young people.

If your target market consists of millennials, it's really not an option to use branded geofilters. It's mandatory.

Why? Because almost three-quarters of Snapchat's 150 million daily users are 18 to 34-year-olds. That's a significant share of your market that you're neglecting if you don't take Snapchat marketing seriously.

But don't think that Snapchat is confined to the young'ns. About 30 percent of the user community consists of people 35 and older, and millennials say they spend 40 percent of their time on Snapchat.

Marketers ruin everything.

If you've been in digital marketing for any length of time then you know that this one proclamation is unquestionably accurate: Marketers ruin everything.

It's proven itself to be true repeatedly throughout the history of commerce. There's no reason to believe it will change in the future.

Sadly, marketers will also ruin the Snapchat geofilter strategy. One day, areas and events will be overcrowded with multiple overlays and Snapchat users will be left sifting through countless options just to find the right one.

That hasn't happened yet though.

That's why you should get in on geofilter marketing before it's too late. Be an early adopter, and boost your brand with Snapchat before all the other marketers step in, and ruin the strategy.

How much does it cost?

Snapchat isn't a charity. You're going to have to pay if you want to make your branded geofilter available to people at a location.

Right now, the cost is $5 per 20,000 square feet per hour.

There are some restrictions though: You can't make your geofilter available over five million square feet, and it can't last more than 30 days.

Is the cost worth it? That depends on the value you put on promoting your brand and how many impressions you get.

Related: The Quick Guide to Using Snapchat for Business in 2016

Gary Vaynerchuk spent $62.98 on a geofilter that received 229,713 impressions. That works out to $.27 CPM.

In his mind, it's a no-brainer.

As he noted on his blog, "These are deep impressions: people are actually consuming them unlike banner ads and other digital assets. These filters appear directly in the app, directly in front of the consumer."

Get the ball rolling.

Once you're sold on the idea of using a geofilter for your next event, it's time to create one, and make it available to the Snapchat community.

Start by creating the graphic overlay. Snapchat still favors portrait orientation so your image will be higher than it is wide. In this case, the graphic needs to be 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Make sure you test it before you make it available. If you'll be offering it in a well-lit area, for example, you might notice that some of your white lettering disappears.

Related: Why Snapchat's 'Memories' Proves It's a Real Competitor to Facebook

Also, make sure you're overlay doesn't take up too much screen space. People, who send snaps, want to show off more than your graphic after all.

A good rule of thumb: Your overlay shouldn't take up more than one-third of the screen space.

Once you're set with your graphic, upload it to Snapchat so that it will be available to other users. You'll also have to specify the timeframe and target area.

It's considered a best-practice to set your target area a little wider than what you want because geo-targeting isn't quite as precise as we'd like it to be just yet.

Related: Snapchat Sees 6 Billion Video Views Every Day. But What Does This Figure Actually Mean?

Also, keep in mind that your filter won't be available immediately. That's why you should upload it at least two days before you want to make it available to other Snapchat users.

Once you receive word from Snapchat that your filter is approved, it's time to start promoting it. Let people know about your filter using your social media accounts. If you're using it for a specific event, make sure the event literature and website advertises that the filter is available.

Above all else: Lead by example. Send fun snaps with your geofilter to other Snapchat users in the area. Maybe they'll follow suit.

Get started now.

If you'd like to get ahead of your competition, consider using Snapchat geofilters to promote your business. They're inexpensive and offer a great way to build brand-name recognition to a predominantly millennial crowd.

John Lincoln

CEO of Ignite Visibility

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, a digital-marketing teacher at the University of California San Diego and an online-marketing consultant. He has worked with hundreds of clients ranging from startups to large companies such as FOX, USA Today, WeddingWire and Links of London.

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