Video Marketing With Snapchat

It’s fun. It’s quirky. It disappears. And, the kids love it! Snapchat has been a popular app since its release in 2011. The app has evolved significantly over the years, adding features like video, filters, Stories, and Lenses. During Snapchat’s growing success, advertisers have taken it under their wings as a new marketing tool, an effort to reach the elusive Generation Z market.


But, does it really work? How can you successfully market within a limited 24-hour video window? Snapchat’s continually expanding features have made that possible.



Geofilters are one of the fundamental forms of marketing you can use on the app. The magic of marketing with Geofilters is that they are concentrated within a specific region — like a city, national park, or university campus — inside of a Geofence. This helps marketers, because it allows for more direct targeting among potential consumers based on location.


The price of your Geofilter is based on the size of your Geofence. Depending on how large your Geofence is, your Geofilter could cost as little as $5.00. Geofilters are a great tool for small businesses. They’re affordable, easy to make, and locally based. Geofilters can also help raise audience awareness of your location. If a Snapchat user is swiping through the filters and happens to see yours, they now know that your business is somewhere within their general area, and it must have some social significance.


“For events or companies that operate on a smaller scale (and budget) on-demand geofilters are an effective way to try and leverage some of Snapchat’s growth.” – Gabriel Shaoolian (Forbes)


There are two types of Geofilters: Community and On-Demand. Community Geofilters are cost-free, but logo-free. They’re used for general community spaces, like city landmarks and colleges. Community Geofilters make it almost impossible for branded advertisement, so On-Demand Geofilters are a much better option.


With On-Demand Geofilters, you can create your own filter to promote your business, specials, or events. Non-corporate users sometimes create On-Demand Geofilters for weddings, parties, or birthdays as a fun way for attendees to interact with social media.  For businesses, it can be used creatively to display logos and graphics that promote your brand. The artistic element to creating a Geofilter is a great way to show off your brand’s personality and technical capabilities as well.


To review, a Washington, D.C. filter is a Community Geofilter, while a Smithsonian filter is an On-Demand Geofilter. Just remember, Community is unbranded, and On-Demand is branded.


You can make Geofilters using Snapchat templates. The Snapchat design webpage provides Photoshop and Illustrator formats to guide you in the design process. But, if Photoshop and Illustrator aren’t your style, there are other programs available to help you create your designs.


Pepper Filters has templates you can use as a foundation and then add graphics and text, but each design costs $4.99 to download. If you’re looking for a free program, Picmonkey is always a great graphic design tool. It’s easy to use and offers step-by-step guides on how to make your own Geofilter with their platform.

After creating and submitting your Geofilter, you then draw your Geofence. When drawing a Geofence, it’s important to remember who you want your ad to target. Draw your fence too wide, and you’re wasting money. Geofilters can be as wide as 5,000,000 square feet, but have to be at least 20,000 square feet.



One of Snapchat’s hottest features is its Lenses. Snapchat Lenses have been available on the app since September 2015. Lenses are an augmented reality (AR) based program that uses facial recognition to apply animated filters to users’ faces. Lenses have become extremely popular, turning users into dogs or putting their faces on the Mona Lisa. The possibilities with Lenses are endless.


“Since [the launch of Lenses], we’ve become puppies, puked rainbows, face-swapped with our best friends — and begun to explore how Lenses can change the world around us.” (Snap, Inc.)


The success of Lenses has led to a rise in Sponsored Lenses. Companies from a variety of sectors have submitted their own animations to be used as a marketing tool. Companies like Starbucks, MAC Cosmetics, FOX, Taco Bell, and Michael Kors have sponsored Lenses on the app, turning users into tacos and giving them makeovers.

Sponsored Lenses are expensive, which is why most are bought by large-scale companies. The cost of Lenses can range from $300,000 to $750,000 a day, depending on which days of the week the Lens runs through, how long the Lens will run, and if the Lens is around any sort of holiday or big event.


Snapchat Lenses continue to grow, providing more opportunity for businesses to use it as a marketing platform. In April 2017, Snapchat announced the introduction of World Lenses. World Lenses are a form of AR technology. Where the original Lenses relied mostly on the front-facing camera and facial recognition, World Lenses are used with the rear-facing camera and animate the user’s environment without the need of facial recognition.

The introduction of World Lenses brings with it opportunities for expansions on Sponsored Lenses. World Lenses could become a new format for marketers — especially big name business marketers —  to use, possibly within as soon as a few weeks or months. Just imagine, Sponsored Lenses for superhero movies with animated explosions. Sponsored Lenses for the Super Bowl with footballs being tossed across the screen. Only time will tell how advertisers integrate Sponsored World Lenses into their marketing plans.



Stories are ways for Snapchat users to communicate with each other without cluttering their followers’ direct messages. Stories are a collection of a user’s videos or pictures that are shared on a feed page. Marketers have been sharing content on their own Stories through either their own accounts, or through Discover Stories.


Discover Stories have their own feed on the Snapchat app. Most of the Discover Stories advertisers are a constant fixture on the page. Companies like Mashable, Cosmopolitan Magazine, CNN, and Daily Mail update their Discover Stories consistently and often. These types of Stories can be very successful for big company marketing strategies, too. Rather than showing a minute long spot, advertisers can break down the ad into six 10-second consecutive clips that viewers can click through to view the content. This type of messaging is referred to as sequential messaging. The ad may be split up, but the narrative remains fully intact.


“With Facebook mobile, you’re still scrolling up and down through a feed, whereas with Snapchat, yes, you are still scrolling, but it’s a little more real estate, and it’s a little more of a controlled experience.” – Lisa Cucinotta (Adweek)


There are different types of Discover Stories ads. Each option includes 10-second videos, but there are four interactive elements a marketer can choose from.


  1. Article: These are mostly text heavy, but can also include images or image galleries.
  2. App Install: This form is used to entice viewers to download an app, but does not leave the Snapchat platform.
  3. Long-Form Video: The Long-Form Video includes longer video content played back all at once.
  4. Web View: Web View redirects viewers to a “pre-selected, pre-loaded mobile webpage.”


One way of measuring the success of these videos is by measuring the number of times a user “swipes up” to view the sponsored content.


Snap Spectacles

Snap Spectacles are fairly new to the market. They look like sunglasses, but have cameras in the corners of the glasses frames. The cameras can record Snapchat videos in real time and instantly add them to the viewer’s Snapchat Story.

Spectacles can be a great tool for influencer marketing, even if they are relatively expensive for the average user. Since the glasses are worn and recorded from a first-person perspective, they can provide a Story watcher an immersive experience. Watchers can feel as though they are there, witnessing the recorded video in person.


The first-person perspective can also help marketers in creating an inside look at the company. Viewers can see for themselves what a company is really all about. It creates a sense of complete transparency, which can help build brand trust.


How To Use It

Snapchat is real, raw, and unscripted. That’s why it appeals to younger audiences. Younger demographics have a deep distrust of advertising. Through a casual app like Snapchat, you can position yourself as a relatable user. Snapchat even allows for influencer marketing. By working with a popular Snapchat user, you can increase your brand recognition amongst their followers.


But, how do we measure the campaign success of Snapchat marketing?


Snapchat has recently introduced a program called Snap to Store. Snap to Store is an app that marketers can access that measures the success of their campaigns in relation to location. The app is Geofilter driven, based solely on actual brick-and-mortar location visits. Snap to Store allows marketers to assess whether or not they are bringing consumers to their physical store, or driving them away.


The app works like this: a company purchases a Sponsored Filter or Lens. A Snapchat user applies the Sponsored Filter or Lens on-location and shares the Snap via direct message or through Stories. Snap to Store tracks the followers who viewed the Snap. Then, Snap to Store determines whether or not followers who viewed the Snap visited the location as well.

Because Snap to Store only measures visits to a physical location, the measurements aren’t perfect. It also doesn’t take much consideration into the breadth of the Geofilter. Someone who used the Sponsored Filter or Lens may not be at the store at all. They could be in a nearby location, where the range of the Geofilter reaches.



Overall, Snapchat is an innovative medium for video marketing that is constantly evolving. Sponsored features are sure to emerge as new user features do. Snapchat, along with other social media apps, is expected to continue experimenting with different types of virtual and augmented reality to strengthen the app’s brand as a tech-forward platform. 

Updated on February 14, 2020.

Katie Murray, Marketing and Communication at Green Buzz Agency. Emily Herman contributed to this post.