Did you know you can customise Snapchat with your own filters? Anyone with a smartphone, a Snapchat account, and $5 in their back pocket can create eye-catching filters to share on the app.

Geofilters can be used to show your location, promote your event, tell better stories or just wish someone a happy birthday.

You don’t need to be a social media expert to upload them, and you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a designer, either. Using Canva and the Snapchat website, you can create a filter in five minutes or less. (Yes, really.)

In this article, we're going to show you what Geofilters are, how you can use them, and a simple five-step process to set them up.

What are Snapchat Geofilters (and why should you use them)?

Snapchat Geofilters are image overlays that are activated by your location. This will often be a logo, message, or image that appears at the bottom or top of your snap.

Let’s say you were in Manchester, England and you wanted to take an image to share with everyone where you were. You’d turn on your location services, snap a picture, swipe to the right a few times, and it’d show something like this:

Pretty cool, right? But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

These filters are user created and can be designed for anywhere in the world where Snapchat is. You could have a filter for an area as small as your backyard, or one as big as an entire college campus.

This makes them popular at events, sports games, festivals, weddings, parties and anything else that's location specific. Why?

Because users can create a conversation about where they are and what they’re doing. Or, even better, show support for a cause or team they feel passionate about. It’s a cool way to extend the conversation beyond what’s in an image or video.

If you’re someone who runs events, is trying to market a company, or generate interest in a cause, Geofilters might just be the tool you’ve been waiting for.

5 cool ways to use Snapchat Geofilters

Since their launch in 2016, Snapchatters have been getting creative with Geofilters. And there are some cool ways you can take advantage of them.

01. Attract the attention of employers

Because Geofilters are location specific you can use them to attract attention in a specific place. That could be people who are passing through that area, or people and buildings who already exist there. For Erik Sena, it was to attract the attention of an employer.

According to DigiDay, Erik was an advertising student and copywriter trying to attract the attention of digital agencies in San Diego and Los Angeles.

To get noticed he decided to create his own Snapchat Geofilter that would appear at some of his favourite agencies. So, when staff wanted to take a snap on their premises, they would see this:

He then used Twitter to monitor and contact the companies to see if anyone took note. They did and praised him widely.

Pretty smart, right? Well you can try this technique to get a job in your favourite coffee shop:

Or maybe to grab the attention of a company that is currently hiring young graduates:

02. Attract attention to your club or association at an event

You can take advantage of events to promote your own club or association. For example, clothing brand Great Lakes created a Snapchat Geofilter to be used at events they attended.

For a small investment of $35 they were able to reach over 22,000 people (from just 248 uses):

That’s a lot of attention to your brand or product for a small investment. And, because people remember and recall visual information quickly, you can leave a lasting impression on the people who see it.

Recycle this idea using our Turquoise and Pink Urban Music Festival template to promote your local festival:

Or get people to come to your summer sale using this Yellow and Blue Marathon template:

03. Tell the story of your event as it’s happening

Documentation is art. If you can create a story around your event (or the event you’re attending), you can get a lot of people interested and share your filter to their friends.

When Gary Vaynerchuk did a book signing event, he spent $62.98 to target the bookstore’s location for five hours. Throughout the day, Gary used the filter to tell the story of his event and asked people who were there to do the same.

By the end of the five hour period, he’d reached 229,713 people. Which is $0.27 per thousand people. That’s a great return on investment, and powerful for growing a brand.

04. Go behind the scenes

Snapchat is a great tool for letting people see the behind the scenes view of what you’re working on. And, adding a Geofilter makes it even more powerful.

You can set the filter up in a location for everyone who’s working on your project, is involved in your club, or helping set up your event. They can then use it to tell the story of what you’re doing and reach lots of viewers.

Take a look at Major League Baseball’s behind the scenes Snapchat Day video below. There are lots of Geofilters used throughout:

The story in itself is interesting. But being able to use the Geofilters adds extra context and creates a focal point for each video. Fans can find different filters to use at grounds their attending, see where teams are playing, and generate hype for different games.

Comment your local race on the go with our Green Icon Marathons template:

Or support your friends with this Yellow Sports Games Competition template:

05. Campaign for a cause

People love to show they support a larger cause. It helps them share their values with the world and shows belonging to a community. (Remember those Livestrong wristbands everyone used to wear?)

Snapchat Geofilters are a great way to use that to promote a cause you’re passionate about, too. It could be something you’re part of a team for, like a fundraiser. Or it could be something you’re at the head of, like an on-campus election or charity event.

Using these Geofilters allows people to show their support for your campaign. If they see you, or their friends, have used it, they’re likely to take a snap just to use the filter and show their support.

A great example of this is glaad and Target’s I’m Against Bullying filter:

On the 18th October people across the USA can use this Spirit Day filter to show their support for this anti-bullying cause.

This doesn’t have to be done on a nationwide scale, either. As you’ll see in the next section, this can be narrowed down to small, local, areas, too.

Try this Brown Moustache Bachelor Party template to celebrate Movember:

Or this Red Vegetables Community Local Markets template to support responsible farming:

How to create your own Snapchat GeoFilter in Canva

If you feel like Snapchat’s Geofilters are a good choice for you, it’s time to learn how to create one.

Now, don’t worry. You don’t need to be a gifted designer or spend lots of money to hire one, to be able to create your own Geofilter. By using Canva’s design tools, and Snapchat’s website, you can effortlessly create a filter in just a couple of minutes.

In fact, it’s so easy to do, we're going to make a filter from scratch, and show you how to do it. That way you have a guide you can follow along step-by-step.

01. Sign up for Canva

The first step in this process is to create a Canva account. (If you’ve already got an account, you can jump straight to step two.)

From the list on the homepage, select the options that best fits you, and follow the steps to create your free account.

This will present you with Canva’s dashboard of templates and tools you can use.
From here you can get access to lots of pre-made designs for the majority of your online design needs. But, you’re going to ignore these options for now.

Instead go to the “find templates” tab on the sidebar. Click the link and you’ll find yourself on a page where you can access all of Canva’s free templates. Once you’re there, jump over to the next step.

02. Choose your template

To find the right templates you just need to type in “Snapchat Geofilter” into the search bar at the top of the page:

There is a wide range of templates for you to choose from here, catering to lots of different needs.

You can find everything from holiday specific and coffee shop designs, through to celebrations and conferences.

For this we’re going to choose something super simple that’s easy to edit.

To get your template into Canva’s design tools, all you have to do is click the green “use this template” button in the top right of your screen.

03. Create your filter

When the template is open in Canva’s design tools, you can begin to edit it however you’d like. You can add text, change the colours, put in extra icons or do whatever you like.

This should all be in accordance with Snapchat’s Geofilter guidelines though. Our templates fit those guidelines, so try and remain within the same structure and style.

Here’s the updated version of our filter. We’ve changed it so it contains a name and not much else!

All that’s left to do in Canva is download the image to your computer. That can be done by clicking the “download” button the top corner.

Your image needs to export as a PNG, so select that from the drop-down menu too:

Download Canva image file

04. Upload your filter

The next step is to head to Snapchat’s website and upload your filter.

You’re looking for the section below which allows you to start the process of adding your filter. It should be on their website’s “Create” section:

You’ll then be asked to sign in with your Snapchat account. This should be done under your account, or the group account you’re using for your campaign or event.

Once inside you’ll find a dashboard to help you create Snapchat filters. Here you can click the upload button and upload your custom design:

Hit next and you’ll be asked to choose the dates you want to run your Geofilter one.

The soonest you can run this filter is 12 hours after the time of uploading. So, you’ll want to do this a few days or weeks in advance. But just click the dates you want and hit next again.

On the next screen, you’ll be able to highlight the area you want your Geofilter to appear in. You can search for specific locations and postal codes by typing into the search bar.

Then, click on the map to start drawing your frame:

Your frame needs to be at least 20,000 feet. So expand the area until you hit that!

Once that’s done, jump over to the next page, and enter your payment information.

05. Review the pricing and costs

At time of writing a Snapchat Geofilter costs $5 per 20,000 square feet, per hour. You also have to select a minimum area of 20,000 square feet, which is about half a soccer field.

You may have to increase or decrease the size depending on your budget, so be sure to review the pricing before you accept.

06. Start Snapping!

After a short waiting period, you’ll get an email from Snapchat saying whether your filter has been accepted, or you’ll have to rework it.

If you’ve followed their guidelines correctly, you should be all set to go! Just like the beautiful filter below:

Whenever someone turns on their location services and walks into your area, they can use your filter too.

Wrapping this up

Snapchat Geofilters are a great way to include people in your brand or event, build hype or reach new people outside of your current circle.

They can be used in lots of unique and interesting ways to attract employers, promote your brand or event, tell the story of your event, go behind the scenes, or campaign for a cause.

Creating your own filter is easy to do with Canva’s design tools and Snapchat’s simple upload feature. You can do it in five steps:

  1. Create a Canva account
  2. Choose your template
  3. Design your image
  4. Upload your photo
  5. Start Snapping

All that’s left to do now is to tell people about your filter and get them using it!

 

James is the founder of the Freelance Writers School where he teaches normal people how to make money through freelance writing even if they failed English at school.