Thursday, April 27, 2017

Understanding Snapchat Geofilter Uses and Guidelines

By Gina F. Rubel

If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, let’s start with the basics. Snapchat is a mobile photo messaging and multimedia sharing app which has been growing rapidly among mobile users (predominantly ages 18- 34). At the end of 2016, it had over 150 million active daily users among which 54 percent log in every day. For more statistics, check out Snapchat by the numbers.

Here is a brief Snapchat lingo lesson:

  • Snaps are the posts on Snapchat. 
  • Snapchatters are the users of Snapchat.
  • A filter (a.k.a. Geofilter) is a photo overlay that changes the Snap photo in some way.
  • A Geofence is a virtual geographic boundary defined by GPS or RFID technology, which enables software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.

Types of Geofilters

One of its most popular features – and, importantly, an revenue stream that Snapchat hopes to grow – Geofilters are location-based overlays that Snapchat users can apply to their Snaps. Snapchatters, businesses, artists and designers can submit fun and creative Geofilter artwork which can be used strategically for marketing.

There are two types of Geofilters:

A Community Geofilter is one that doesn’t include any branding, business marks/names, or logos, and doesn’t promote a business or a brand. Sometimes called a Personal Geofilter, it can be submitted to Snapchat, for example, to celebrate a birthday, a prom, a graduation, an anniversary or the like.

An On-Demand Geofilter is one that promotes a business or a brand, and it will need to meet the Business guidelines set forth by Snapchat. A Geofilter delivered to a national audience will typically be seen by 40 percent to 60 percent of daily Snapchatters.

Uses for Geofilters

The idea behind Geofilters is to be creative and compelling. An On-Demand Geofilter cannot be active for more than 30 days, so if it’s a Geofilter with the name of your business, make it something exciting and submit new Geofilters monthly (and remember not to cover up too much of the screen). There are many uses for Geofilters. Just some of them include:

  • Company sporting events
  • Company sponsored events
  • Speaking engagements
  • Community events
  • Company recruiting (best moments of the day at your company)
  • Trade show and professional association events

In order to have your Geofilter accepted by Snapchat, it is important to follow the guidelines (listed on SnapChat’s website as of April 24, 2017):

Places and Dates

  • Draw your geofence thoughtfully; it should cover only the relevant area.
  • Keep it local. Do not cover an entire country, state or province.
  • Select a public place, neighborhood, landmark, venue or other location where people are likely to gather and send Snaps.
  • Select the dates and times that the Geofilter should be active. An On-Demand Geofilter cannot be active for more than 30 days. 


  • Do not use logos or trademarks you don’t own or have authorization to use.
  • No photographs of people, hashtags or lotteries. 
  • No phone numbers, emails, URLs, Snapcodes, download instructions, social media usernames, or personal information.
  • No more than two lines of non-stylized text.
  • Make sure it's relevant to the location.
  • For additional content restrictions and guidance go to Advertising Policies and Community Guidelines.

Have you seen or used any compelling Geofilters lately? Share your Geofilter stories with us in the comments.

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