Snapchat Users Prefer Sponsored Lenses, Filters To Ads

Users are still ad-averse on the platform. But custom content that plays into the organic Snapchat experience is driving engagement.

Approximately 50 percent of Snapchat users engage with branded geofilters — compared to only 27 percent who swipe up on Snapchat ads, according to an eMarketer report based on research from J.P. Morgan. Additionally, only 6 percent say they watch Snapchat video ads “frequently.”

These statistics indicate that Snapchat users are still generally ad-averse on a platform where fun, user-created content rules the day. But as such, sponsored filters and lenses are succeeding because they are designed to enhance the photo-sharing behavior that Snapchat is known for — rather than forcing users to passively consume brand content.

Driving Traffic With Geofilters

This news might make some marketers on the platform nervous; after all, branded filters and lenses are harder ad formats to scale, and it’s more difficult to measure their performance. But it’s clear that they’re driving the highest engagement on the platform: In fact, 28 percent of teen and Millennial users surveyed say they actively “hate” watching ads on Snapchat. They’re using filters instead.

So, how can marketers use geofilters to drive actual traffic and sales at physical locations?

As we wrote in our recent Geo201 guide, many marketers perceive the technology to be useful primarily from a branding perspective: If a business boasts a fun geofilter, customers are more likely to send it to their friends on Snapchat, thus driving awareness of the brand. But when integrated as part of a marketing campaign, they can be a lot more than that.

Here’s an example: Create a custom geofilter to be used as part of a social media contest. Let’s say a QSR chain decides to run a campaign in which customers hashtag their social posts for a chance to win gift cards or other prizes. Instead of allowing participants to post any related photo, the brand could require that customers share a photo overlaid with the custom geofilter in order to enter.

Why? Because the geofilter would only be available at the business locations themselves during a specified period of time, this would guarantee that customers would have to come in and eat at the time of the campaign in order to take the required photo. Essentially, it’s a 21st century version of the “make a purchase during the month of March for a chance to win” idea.

Another idea that some marketers are already catching on to? Using geofilters during a real-time event. For example, if a retailer is running a pop-up shop for a limited time, creating a geofilter for the pop-up location can be a great way to spread the word — and drive foot traffic to the event. If a shopper shares a fun image with a geofilter on Snapchat that also contains information (e.g. “Rita’s Vintage pop-up shop — today only!”), this amplifies the reach of the message.

Essentially, the key for marketers is to leverage the location-specific component of geofilters as one element of an event or campaign to drive foot traffic to the desired areas. And, as a bonus, every customer’s followers will then be able to take in the action on social media.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.