I’m an early adopter who loves experimenting with new products. So when Snapchat announced geofilter ads in February, I was excited for the growth experiment at Zumper.

Strategy

A component of geofilter pricing is square footage — so I wanted to create geofilters in high density locations. To maximize ROI, I made a list of stadium venues, sorted by capacity.

A sample

These stadiums didn’t all have upcoming events, so I expanded the list to domes, arenas, and centers. I wrote down the events at each venue for seven days in a row, then picked one day to purchase the filters — to increase the likelihood of seeing an impact in Google Analytics.

I’ve run 3 sets of Snapchat Geofilter campaigns over the past 7 months.

Campaign #1: A variety of events, including:

  • Basketball
  • Ice hockey
  • Disney on Ice: Frozen
  • The Circus: Ringling Brothers
  • Rihanna concert: the Anti World Tour with Travis Scott

Campaign #2: Focused on college graduations, including:

  • Cal Poly
  • Stanford
  • Dartmouth
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • University of Washington

Campaign #3: Focused on summer concerts.
I picked 5 3rd tier cities for Zumper traffic that rarely receive press, so a spike in traffic would likely be attributed to this campaign. Then I picked 3–6 concerts in each of those cities. Concerts included:

  • Drake
  • Pitbull
  • Blink 182
  • Justin Bieber
  • Gwen Stefani

Execution

  1. Researching other geofilters:

I take screenshots of all the Snapchat ads I see. I saw very few ads in March when I planed the first campaign. Here are a few over the past few months:

Geofilters for movies
Geofilters for food/drink

2. Making the geofilter:

I collaborated with two other ‘Zumps on the design: Devin (growth) and BZ (engineering). Each filter was personalized to the event. Here are two:

3. Purchasing the ads:

Step 1: Upload Asset

Step 2: Choose Dates

Purchase geofilters as far in advance as you can.

As geofilters have increased in popularity, they’ve also become more competitive to reserve.

For example, months ago I purchased several geofilters for Madison Square Garden. But now you’ll likely have to reserve your geofilter for a specific location weeks in advance. The secret is out.

Unfortunately, you won’t be notified immediately if too many geofilters have been reserved for your location at that time. You may receive a rejection email up to a few days later.

Monetization suggestion
Snapchat should instantly notify geofilter purchasers if demand has exceeded supply. Then the customer can purchase another geofilter immediately. Otherwise, this person may not purchase a replacement geofilter — and Snapchat’s income decreases.

Post Step 4: Checkout:

My geofilter for the Giants vs. Dodgers baseball game at AT&T Park on June 10 was rejected. I had tickets to the game, so I was curious to see what promoted filters “beat” me:

I was surprised to see a personalized birthday message was one of the 3 specialized filters. Clearly the selection was based on time ordered.

Monetization suggestion
Snapchat should require a max bid when purchasing a geofilter. Then in the scenario like above with a crowded marketplace, Snapchat can benefit from the increase in demand. Plus, it makes for happier customers who are willing to spend more money. 🙂

Analysis

I relied on Google Analytics in my first campaign to measure impact. Luckily, the geofilter platform has been greatly improving with Snapchat’s focus on monetization. New features include:

  • Metrics specific to each geofilter:
  • A metrics overview under “My Geofilters”:
  • Option to create a geofilter online:

Takeaways

  1. Focus on your strategy. You want to maximize density with your geofilter selection, while also targeting relevant potential users. Some ideas:
    • Music app: concert venues
    • Ed tech: high schools & colleges
    • Fashion startup: shopping malls
    • Sports startup: gyms and sporting events
    • Home related (furniture, cooking, cleaning) startup: apartment buildings
  2. Create a memorable filter that people want to engage with. Brainstorming with colleagues can be very productive!
  3. Plan ahead. Since ad bidding is not a feature yet, purchase geofilters weeks in advance so you’re at the front of the queue.

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