How Cities Can Use Snapchat Geofilters

Snapchat has finally surpassed Twitter in terms of active daily users. Bloomberg reported that Snapchat is up to 150 million daily users; they were at 110 million in December. To bring this into perspective: Bloomberg estimates that Twitter has 140 million daily users.

Is Snapchat right for your organization? In government, there are concerns about archiving and tracking your success with little to no analytics available. Yet, as the fastest growing platform, is it a new and creative way to tell your story? We’ll save this debate for another blog post! Whether or not you want to take on Snapchat as your latest channel investment, there IS a way for you to get in on the popularity of the platform without officially signing up: geofilters.

How do Geofilters Work?

Snapchat geofilters are an incredibly efficient marketing tool and are much more affordable than you might think. A geofilter is a special photo that lays over a user’s snap and is determined by where they are at. Users take a photo or video and then check to see which geofilters are available in the location where they are. There are two types of geofilters: community and on-demand.

Community Geofilters

austin lansingCommunity geofilters are completely free to submit but can’t have branding and must highlight general landmarks and places of interest. To submit a community geofilter, review guidelines and have an idea of where you’d like the filter to show up. You can select an area as small as a building to as big as your entire city.

On-Demand Geofilters

On-demand geofilters allow you to submit a filter that promotes your brand, organization or event. You can select a small area, like City Hall or a park, or an even larger area.


Check out how some agencies have used geofilters –
City of Las Vegas, Nevada

LasVegas LasVegas2To celebrate their 111th birthday on May 15, the city bought a geofilter that ran along the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas for about eight blocks. The filter featured balloons and confetti and said “Happy Birthday Vegas.”

The total cost was $390 for this filter to be live on along Fremont Street from Main to Eighth (eight city blocks) which resulted in 56,000 views and almost 1,000 uses.


City of Lenexa, Kansas

Lenexa Lenexa2Lenexa has already tried out some geofilters to promote festivals. While they aren’t on Snapchat yet, they felt that geofilters gave them the opportunity to try to engage with a new audience without taking on a new channel to manage.

They purchased a filter for an event Food Truck Frenzy, a four hour event on a Friday night in early June with about 2,500 in attendance. The filter covered 151,637 square feet for $15.80. It reached 8,365 people and was used 162 times. They also bought a filter for their Community Days Parade on July 4. The filter covered 758,833 sft and cost $52.74. It reached 12,539 people and was used by 368 during the event.


Mississippi Department of Transportation

MdotMississippi Department of Transportation has also tried geofilters. According to a Godwin Group blog post, they ran a geofilter at the site of their safety fair for about 24 hours. They had 1,200 attendees and their filter was seen by more than 1,000 people with 30 snaps using the filter during the event.

Super Tuesday

Marketing Land reports that the White House purchased a geofilter just for the White House on Super Tuesday and spent $2,731.49 for 24 hours.

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