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Step Up Your Snapchat Game! How to Create a Geofilter for Your Next Event

Selfie business team taking pictures in the office. Their tongues

In case you haven’t heard, people love Snapchat. And while you may think it’s a teen fad not worth adding to your social media plan consider this: Snapchat is more well-known and widely used than Pinterest and LinkedIn. Snapchat has also quickly grown to be America’s second most used social network, just surpassing Instagram by 1% in 2016.

So while not many event planners aren’t using Snapchat today compared to the other mediums, it sounds like they should definitely explore the idea.

A quick overview for those not familiar with the app: Snapchat allows users to send photos and videos to each other that can only be seen for 1-10 seconds. Before sending a photo, users can add text, draw or apply Geofilters (special text, graphics, banners, etc.) to enhance it. Video filters, also called Lenses, that change or animate faces in selfies, take the fun (and believe me, it’s addicting!) another step further.

And creating customized Geofilters is what event planners can take advantage of when building Snapchat for their audience. Here are some tips, tricks and things to keep in mind when considering a Snapchat Geofilter for your next event.

Consider your audience

Adding a Snapchat account for your event just to share photos and videos with attendees is free and that alone is probably worth your time. But before you take it a step further by investing in Geofilters, you may want to analyze your audience to make sure they will actually use it. Is your audience young? Are they tech and/or social media savvy? Is the vibe at your event fun and laid back?

Though growing fast, Snapchat is definitely most popular among the younger crowd and often is used in a fun, silly manner. If your audience is older or your event has a more serious tone, you may want to reconsider before you pay for a costly, animated video Lense.

Either way, just like the rest of your social media accounts and hashtags, if you do create an account and have a filter to go along with it, promote it to your attendees prior to and during your event to ensure you make the most out of it. 

Geofilter basics

The good news is that the price for submitting a customized Geofilter on Snapchat can be as little as $5. From there, prices vary based on how long it’s available, how much square footage it covers, etc. The animated video filters with more complex graphics obviously cost way more, even in the six-figure range.

The section on Snapchat’s website that covers all the customized Geofilter details is extremely helpful, but here are a couple takeaways to keep in mind for when you create yours:

  • Your Geofence (or area where your filter is available) must be between 20,000 and 50,000,000 square feet. Basically anywhere from the size of an office building or venue space, up to a few city blocks.
  • On-demand Geofilters can be active for up to 30 consecutive days.
  • You can have more than one Geofilter displayed next to each other to give attendees multiple choices. Each one needs to be submitted separately.
  • Filters need to be 1080px wide, by 19px high, under 300 KB in size and saved as a .PNG file with a transparent background.
  • Other guidelines for submitting and creating graphics can be found here.

Quality graphics 

Do note that the very affordable $5 cost only covers the submission and usage of your event filter, not the creation of the filter itself. Designing one may be an extra cost issue for smaller event organizations who don’t have an in-house graphic designer or routinely outsource one.

You cannot solely submit a logo and be done with it. Not only is it important to keep in mind crucial graphic design and artistic principals (like how to frame a photo, not to cover up too much of the screen, etc.), but above all this is a place to be creative and fun! Like I mentioned above, Snapchat is most often used to take pictures of fun experiences, silly group photos with friends and, of course, selfies. Continue that vibe when you brainstorm ideas with a designer to make your Geofilter unique and amusing enough for attendees to spread the word and take several Snaps throughout your event.

Another creative idea (and a way to off-set the costs!) is to use Geofilters as an extra monetization feature for sponsors. Do you have a sponsored specific event or cocktail party? A Geofilter with a sponsor is a great way to promote these special and sometimes exclusive events. Don’t forget to save some you Snaps to post on other social media channels, like Instagram. 

Whether you have a sponsor tie-in or not, remember that Geofilters should not be too busy or promotional. Try drawing image and color inspiration from your event theme, industry theme, your venue location and other unique points.

For example, two of my colleagues were recently at techsytalk 2016, which promoted a Geofilter (as well as to save it and post to Instagram and Twitter. Another great idea!). As you can see, they drew inspiration from the event’s sunglasses logo and colors, making it seem like the user was wearing them. Simple and creative. 

geofilter

Geofilter inspiration

When trying to find other direct examples from the events industry, I actually didn’t find too many, it’s just that new. But that doesn’t mean you can’t draw inspiration from the following examples:

Whether you go for a custom filter or not, creating a company or event branded Snapchat definitely doesn’t hurt. Along with the opportunity to personalize photos and video, there are many free ways to engage your audience with the app such as contests and games, building your “Story” (or chronological  narratives of your Snaps), and, of course, simply sharing highlights of event with your community.

Do you use Snapchat at your events? What’s the most unique Geofilter you’ve come across? Share in the comments below!

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