How to Make Your Own Geofilters

Snapchat is one of the biggest camera apps out there—and for good reason. Not only is it easy to use, but it also comes with tons of customization features. Take their lenses, for example, you can easily overlay one of them onto your snap. The best part? There are literally thousands of them for you to choose from. On top of that, you can add stickers, doodles, music, and more. If anything, that’s why it’s so popular among young people…there’s just so much that you can do with it!

And guess what? There are certain effects that can only be used in specific locations—these are referred to as geofilters. Basically, they’re a fun way to share your location through virtual overlays. Introduced in 2014, they’ve only become more and more popular over the recent years.

More About Geofilters

Geofilters are a type of filter that lets users add an overlay that’s specific to where they are by city or neighborhood. The snap they take can then be shared with their friends like any other picture or video. Yup, that’s right, the app will know exactly where you are (it’ll use your smartphone’s location signals). In doing so, it’ll be able to offer you the appropriate geofilters.

For example, it’ll show you various Statue of Liberty filters if you’re standing near the statue.

How Do You Use Geofilters?

To use geofilters, you first have to enable them through the app. Before that, though, make sure that location services are turned on in your phone settings (otherwise, it won’t be able to figure out your location). Once you’ve done that, tap on the settings cog in the app.

Select the “Manage option” and you should see “Filters” on the top. Make sure that it’s toggled on—that will enable geofilters.

And for those who are wondering, no, Snapchat won’t store your location data!

Why Should You Use Geofilters?

We mentioned this earlier but geofilters are a fun way to share your location with friends. Not only that, but they’re great for businesses as well. For one thing, they can help spread brand awareness to those in and around the location.

Not only that, but they can impress your customers. And if you’re lucky, they’ll share it with their followers, which can increase your foot traffic.

Who Can Make Geofilters?

The great thing about geofilters is that anyone can make their own! That wasn’t always the case, though. In the beginning, if you wanted to create one, you’d have to apply through their site. Fortunately, they got rid of that system so now the process is much easier.

How Do You Make Your Own Geofilter?

Believe it or not, it’s actually not that difficult to make your own geofilter. Simply follow these steps:

1. Go to Snapchat’s Geofilter Site

The first thing that you want to do is go on their site. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to pick the category that you want for your geofilter—either personal, community, or business. Depending on what you chose, the fee will be different (unfortunately, they’re not all free).

Community filters: These filters are free and can be used to showcase various landmarks and locations in the neighborhood.

Personal filters: These filters aren’t free, but cost less than a business filter. For example, you can use to promote personal events such as parties or weddings. They cannot be used to promote a business brand.

Business filters: These filters are meant for promotional purposes. As such, there will be a “Sponsored by” label at the bottom of the screen.

2. Design Your Geofilter

The next step is to design your filter. Don’t know where to start? You can always use one of their many templates. Or if you want, you can upload your own designs and images. Just make sure that they’re the proper resolutions (either 1080 x 2340 pixels or 1080 x 1920 pixels). Also, the images will have to be transparent and in PNG format.

Note: There are certain rules that you have to follow when you’re designing your geofilter. Remember, all geofilters must be reviewed and approved by Snapchat before they can be used.

And another thing—you should always plan your filter a few weeks in advance. That way, even if they reject it, you’ll have time to redesign and resubmit it.

3. Pick Your Location

Once you’ve designed your geofilter, you want to pick your location—that will determine where people will be able to use it. To do that, use the fence tool on the interactive Google Map; the minimum area is 20,000 square feet. As it is, the bigger the area, the higher the cost will be.

Also, you want to choose the length of time that you want the filter to be active (that will also impact the total price). When you’re finished, you can preview your geofilter. From there, you can submit it to Snapchat.

Note: Planning on doing a long-term geofilter? You can always contact Snapchat about their annual plans. Chances are, it’ll be cheaper than constantly renewing the filter.

4. Make Sure to Have a Plan

It’s important to have a plan if you want to make the most out of your geofilter. For example, if the filter is for a business, you’ll want to make sure that it’s integrated into your marketing plans. If you want, you can even turn it into a promotion. For instance, you can offer individuals a small discount if they take a snap with your filter. That way, if they share it, you might attract new customers. Why not make the most out of the geofilter that you’ve created, right?

Geofilter Guidelines

Make sure to follow these guidelines when you’re making your geofilter:

  • You have the rights or permissions to use the graphics, logos, and business names in the filter
  • Geofilters must include a business name if it’s for a business (it’ll let users know who the filter is provided by)
  • The geofilter must be relevant to the specific location
  • The file size must be under 300KB

There are also certain things that you can’t include in your geofilter:

  • Photos of people, whether you know them or not
  • Personal information such as phone numbers, URLs, email addresses, usernames
  • Drug or gambling-related content
  • >2 lines of non-stylized text

How Much Does a Snapchat Geofilter Cost?

Geofilters are relatively affordable. On average, you’re looking at around $5 to $20 per filter. Keep in mind, however, that that’s only a general outline. The exact cost will depend on various factors such as your city (some areas cost more than other locations), time period, and the size of the area that you want to target.

What Programs Can I Use to Make My Geofilter?

There are various programs that you can use to create your geofilter. For example, you can use Adobe Spark Post (available online and as a mobile app) to create images, backgrounds, text, and more. If anything, it’s quite easy to use; you won’t need to know how to code or anything like that. The best part? It’s free to use!

Canvas is another option. One great thing about it is that it has a library of stickers that you can apply to your design. And yes, it’s also free (you’ll need to sign up for an account). Start by opening a new page in the editor. From there, you’ll be able to choose from their many ready-made templates. Click on the one that you want to use and you’ll be able to start designing. If you want, you can even add audio or video. Of course, there’s also the option of uploading your own images or artwork. When you’re satisfied with your design, save it as a PNG. You can then submit it to Snapchat for review.

How to See How Many People Have Used Or Viewed Your Geofilter

There’s an easy way to see how many people have used and viewed your geofilter. First, log into create.snapchat.com. Once you’re logged in, click on your username at the top right-hand corner of the screen. Select your ad account and click “My Orders.”

Choose the geofilter that you want to see metrics for and you should be able to see the statistics. Keep in mind, however, that they do not update instantaneously. That is, there may be a lag of up to 24 hours so don’t be alarmed if nothing shows up right away. Also, metrics are not available for individual locations, only for an entire package.

Tips On How to Create an Effective Geofilter

  • “Frame style” geofilters work best, especially those that are broadly applicable
  • Make sure that the geofilter looks good when used on a light and dark background. After all, you never know what kind of lighting conditions people will have!
  • Don’t put any text or images in the middle of the screen—that will prevent people from using it for selfies
  • Your image shouldn’t take up too much space of the screen. If possible, try to keep it either on the top or bottom
  • Don’t over brand your filter—that will decrease the likelihood that people will use it