Thursday, March 17, 2016

Party Down With Snapchat

In 2014, Snapchat unveiled "geofilters," a feature that made it possible to add image filters that would only show up if you were in a certain location. The initial idea was to use this for digital marketing purposes, and Snapchat sold geofilters to Starbucks, Youtube, Facebook and other advertisers who wanted to "take over" certain geographic areas, usually during corporate events.

A few weeks ago, Snapchat threw open this functionality to all members of the community, and what's more, they will let you pay for a temporary, on-demand geofilter for your next party or event. The idea is that you can create a piece of art or memorabilia and then share it with friends who can only see it when they're in that location. Think of "wedding Snapchat filters" as the next-generation wedding photobooth. Every attendee's camera can automatically have themes / styles applied and published to the event / geographic location, in a much more visual and unobtrusive manner than having to type out Twitter / Instagram hashtags on the dance floor.

Users can choose spaces that are a minimum of 20,000 square feet — about the size of an office — to a maximum of 5,000,000 square feet — roughly a few city blocks. The custom filters can stay live from an hour to thirty days, and Snapchat imagines they'll be used during weddings and other events. The filters start at $5, which is the approximate price for an eight-hour Friday event in a major city.

For smaller marketers and advertisers, this confers major benefits upon "brand activation" activities. Booths at tradeshows and areas in political conventions could have themed geofilters, for a pretty low buy-in. Sponsored events at bars / restaurants, entire block parties, even portions of gigantic events like Coachella or SXSW could be photographed and branded with specific designs, I could see immediate results for firms opening new retail locations, or having special sales days, etc. as well.

For Snapchat, this is a smart monetization move. If it's really as cheap and easy as it sounds, and they incorporate some way to limit the number of filters for population-dense areas, I can't see a reason why this wouldn't be a huge success.

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