The Social Media Marketer’s Guide to Branded Snapchat Geofilters

May 31, 2017

Christopher Spong

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Everything you need to create a custom Snapchat filter that engages app users near your business or at key events.

Image via Snapchat


First introduced to brands in June of 2015, Snapchat’s Sponsored Geofilters enable both general users and marketers to create customized filters for other users of the disappearing message application. Users simply choose and apply the geofilters to their images and videos and share with friends. Created or submitted through an on-demand, self-serve interface, Geofilters can be promoted between a minimum of 1 hour and maximum of 30 days. Unlike other Snapchat advertising opportunities, geofilters require little effort to create and promote.


For general Snapchat users, a custom filter is a great way to surprise and delight friends and family at events, during celebrations, or for special gatherings. For both large brands and small companies, promoted geofilters at major events or around brick-and-mortar locations can engage Snapchat users and consumers with unique or branded visual elements. When a brand or business submits a custom filter for promotion, the company name will appear as a user swipes through filter options. Having the brand name display before a user selects to apply a filter is a low-friction, non-disruptive way to increase awareness.


The primary benefit for both general Snapchat users and companies is the relatively low cost to promote custom geofilters. Starting at just $5 to promote a filter for one hour in a 20,000-square-foot area, the cost of showing a filter scales moderately as the promotion area expands and the promotion duration extends.

For example, while a filter spanning a 20,000-square-foot area for one hour costs $5, extending the promotion time to 12 hours only increases the cost by $0.75, totaling $5.75. Extending the same area to 24 hours raises the cost to $8.58. To get a closer estimate of filter promotion costs, draw a geofence and adjust promotion duration after uploading a filter for review.


Filters can be designed outside of the Snapchat website and uploaded for review, or users can create filters from templates provided by Snap. Custom filters are reviewed within one day of submission by a quality assurance team. The dates and times of the promotion are then selected, followed by the setup of a specified geofence. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator templates can be downloaded to help with the filter design process.

The Sponsored Geofilter will only be available within the set geofenced area. Only one area can be marked off at a time for filter promotion. If a user would like to have multiple custom filters in a specified area or would like to select multiple areas to promote the same filter, the user must duplicate the setup process and re-submit the custom or templated filters.

After a geofilter is uploaded or selected, promotion duration is selected and geofences are drawn within a Google Maps interface. The drawn geofence must be between a minimum of 20,000 square feet and maximum of 5,000,000 square feet.


Nina Hale recommends creating and submitting a custom filter adhering to the following design specifications and recommendations:

  • A .PNG file with a transparent background is required
  • The file should be 1080px wide by 1920px high
  • File size should be under 300 KB
  • The filter should not cover more than 25% of the screen
  • Geofilter templates may be downloaded in Photoshop or Illustrator from the Snapchat website
  • The business name will automatically display beside a “Sponsored” indicator
  • NOTE: CTAs directing users to engage outside of Snapchat are forbidden, including:
    • – Website URLs
    • – Hashtags
    • – Social handles or platform logos
    • – Contact information


All submitted custom geofilters must be reviewed and approved by a team at Snapchat prior to the filter being published. Snapchat recommends submitting at least 24 hours before intended filter promotion. An internal test of the geofilter approval process yielded a response within just 3 hours of submission.

Filters that are not approved by Snapchat may be tweaked and resubmitted. According to the company’s submission guidelines, rejected submissions will include reasoning for why a filter is not approved for publishing to help with readjustments.


After promotion of a geofilter has ended, Snap provides basic engagement metrics to determine the visibility of and engagement with a sponsored filter. Metrics are provided around 12:00 PM the day following a filter’s promotion and fall within three categories:

Impressions: The number of times that users see a filter within the Snapchat application when swiping through filter options

Conversions: The number of times that a filter is used, either sent as a direct Snap or added to a user’s Story

Views: The number of times a filter is seen by friends of users who have applied a custom filter


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