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Snapchat Isn't Dead: How to Use Sponsored Snapchat Filters as a Marketing Tool

Shania Young

When sponsored content first appeared on Snapchat in 2015, the disappearing photo sharing app began to feel less charming to its young, technologically inclined user base. As paid advertisements popped up, the 'kids' became concerned their trendy channel for instantaneous communication was falling into an ad-saturated, revenue-driven world (you know, the one that had already consumed the entire internet). However, as Snapchat began to expand its sponsored offerings, it became obvious this wasn’t the case. While it definitely does toss some disruptive ads into the mix, the platform has laid out a rather nice digital marketing landscape for both its users and advertisers. 

Snapchat has managed to successfully integrate branded content into a quality user experience through its Geofilters and Lenses, offering interactive, entertaining, and relevant paid content unique to its platform.

We’ve all heard the hyped-up skepticism surrounding Snapchat’s worth and success. The significant influence of competitors and the unknown fate of Snap Inc.’s stock poses challenges, but don’t count the ghost out yet! Snapchat still has 166 million daily users on average, allowing advertisers to reach a major group of teens and young adults.

Snapchat usage
Image via Snapchat for Business

TechCrunch revealed that while user growth is slowing, many millennial and Gen Z users are staying loyal. Large ad campaigns can be pricey, but luckily Snapchat offers affordable sponsored Geofilters for as little as $5, allowing you to increase brand awareness as users post and send your filters to friends. While these filters may not necessarily drive clickspurchases, or downloads, brand awareness matters when it comes to being heard above the traditional advertising noise.

Snapchat Geofitlers are a prime way for companies on a smaller budget to engage with the app's users and take advantage of its marketing reach.


Here are 4 ways to utilize Snapchat filters as an affordable marketing tool:

1. Partner with a convention, festival, or other event

If your company is sponsoring or playing a major role in an event, professional or otherwise, offer to make a sponsored filter. Snapchat filters create a more exciting experience for the event visitors, so present your filter as a mutually beneficial service bolstering publicity for you and the event organizer. This requires designing, executing, and paying for the filter on your own, but many are shockingly affordable,  starting at $5. Your company gains brand awareness, and the event organizer receives an engaging social media action for its guests.

Tip: Sponsored filters should always have the audience’s interests in mind. Make the event the focal point of the filter and your brand name/ logo secondary in order to best engage users.

2. Place a filter at other relevant events & locations

The goal of Snapchat filters is to enhance the user experience. When Snapchat reviews submitted filters for approval, it considers whether or not the content aligns with the location and respective audience. You can place filters at events and locations not formally associated with your company, but it is against Snapchat policy to use logos and brand names that are trademarked to another business.

Example: Your company's buyer persona is a Vegan Vanessa, a woman who lives a plant-based lifestyle in LA. You discover the ‘LA Vegan Food Festival' and decide to make a filter for the event. You cannot sponsor a filter that uses the festival’s trademarked name without explicit permission, but you CAN make a filter saying something like, “Eat Vegan” and place your company name in smaller font on the filter.

3. Place a Long-Term Geofilter at your office

Does your office have a significant amount of daily visitors and foot traffic? Purchase a branded filter at your place of work and invite guests and employees to use it. You can buy an annual plan that receives a discounted price, features metrics and reporting, has automatic renewal, and allows you to adjust your filter design at any time. The price starts at around $440 and increases depending on square footage and popularity/demand of the location.

Example: The area surrounding Salted Stone’s Monrovia office costs $440.65 per year to maintain a constant Geofilter. The same square footage at Downtown Disney in Anaheim would cost around $9,000 to maintain due to location.

4. Buy filters for company events

Whether you’re having a Holiday party or hosting a seminar, create a custom filter to engage your employees and guests. This is especially important if you are having an event with visitors from outside the company. Your filter, and your name, will be seen by these visitors’ followers/audiences.

Example: At the annual Halloween party for Shania’s Shoe Shop, a colleague brings their friend. That friend happens to know the local university's Dean of Sports. They post a photo to their Snapchat with the custom filter that reads, “Halloween Partay! Shania’s Shoe Shop.” The coach snaps them back and says, “By golly, we need a shoe store to supply all of our athlete’s shoes forever! Can you get me in contact with this Shania gal?” The shoe shop gets thousands of customers, makes millions… okay this may be a stretch, but you get the idea.

Snapchat Filter examples.pngImage via Snapchat Geofilters

Additional Tips

You want to get the most out of your sponsored Geofilters. Ensure your submissions are approved and maximize returns on your filters by doing the following:

  • Design quality filters: Limit the amount of text, use high quality imagery, and always follow snapchat’s guidelines. Learn exactly how to make a filter on Snapchat’s helpful Geofilter Q&A page. Following these rules and directions, you will increase the chances of your filter being approved and of users actually engaging with your filter.
  • Monitor your metrics: Discover how many users used your filter on their photo or viewed it on a friend’s Snapchat. Metrics are available after the full run of your filter has completed. You can determine what types of designs, events, and locations are working for your company.

Snapchat filters are like inbound for social engagement. You provide relevant, desired content, and the audience willingly engages as a result. While Snapchat’s long-term future is uncertain (just as with all social platforms), the user base is still kickin’. Snapchat is making constant changes and improvements to keep up with the big boys, so take advantage of this affordable and fun resource while it’s around to enjoy.

Want to master the art of social media and build a solid presence across all platforms? Contact Salted Stone and work with our team to make your brand a social media boss.
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