The Ultimate geofilter Guide for marketing / roi on snapchat

Updated June 6, 2018. See recent additions in Section 4.

If you’re reading this right now, I think it’s safe to say you’re interested in figuring out how to measure Snapchat’s impact as a marketing tool.

Welcome to the club, friend.

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Will you work together with me to create a crowdsourced global geofilter case study? We have readers in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia, which means we can use data points from Snapchat marketers around the world!

I'm happy to credit anyone who contributes to making this a truly comprehensive guide with a direct shoutout and a backlink to your website/work.

Send me an email at shep@hellobeaumonde.com to contribute.


Overview

This extensive guide offers everyone an opportunity to explore the power of Snapchat geofilters for marketing.

We break down geofilter marketing, Snapchat geofilter analytics, and discuss how to get Insights from the data you get back.

As this guide evolves, we'll add strategies for marketing as well.

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Table Of Contents


Let's Begin

In this ultimate guide, I break down Snapchat analytics for geofilters/lenses and what each specific metric represents as a data point.

When possible, I add real examples from Beaumonde projects to serve as case studies for each element.

In this way, we begin to explore the deeper insights available for marketers with geofilter marketing.

How do I know so much about geofilters?

All told in 2017, I had nearly 1 million views of my geofilters with a total ad spend of around 600 dollars.

Yep. 600 dollars for 1,000,000 views... you do the math. 

Some geofilters were for clients, some were purely for fun, but most of them were done in the name of SCIENCE!

I’ve tested filters at locations all over the United States and managed a series of filters in the UK.

We’ve managed ad campaigns for a lot of different industries. My partner Caro even created a Beaumonde Snapchat Analytics calculator with Airtable & Excel so we could extract more insights from our results.

I see serious untapped potential in Snapchat geofilters as a marketing tool. You probably do too, which is why you’re here. Let’s get into it.

 
 

01. Geofilter Dashboard

 
 
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01a. Meet The New Dashboard

For the hot take, read our blog on the new dashboard.

Metrics for Personal accounts

 New Snapchat geofilter dashboard - personal.

New Snapchat geofilter dashboard - personal.

Metrics for Business accounts

 New Snapchat geofilter dashboard - business.

New Snapchat geofilter dashboard - business.

 New Snapchat geofilter dashboard - Business (detailed)

New Snapchat geofilter dashboard - Business (detailed)


01b. The Old Dashboard

Snapchat geofilter results appear in your geofilter dashboard.

To get there, go to geofilters.snapchat.com and login using either your personal account or your Business account.

If you are using your personal account for geofilters, you'll see this dashboard:

standard snapchat geofilter metrics.png

If you are using your Business account, your dashboard will show 1) an overview for all your recent filter metrics and 2) more detailed metrics for specific geofilters.

 Recent Metrics Overview

Recent Metrics Overview

 Detailed Metrics for Individual Geofilters

Detailed Metrics for Individual Geofilters

 

02. Snapchat Metrics

 
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your geofilter Metrics

Here are the six Snapchat-approved geofilter metrics that are shared with you after a successful geofilter run:
    1.    Paid Impressions / Swipes
    2.    Shares / Uses
    3.    Earned Impressions / Views
    4.    Reach
    5.    Share Rate / Usage Rate
    6.    Camera Time / Swipe Time

You can view these results in your Geofilter Dashboard.


02a. Paid Impressions / Swipes

The total number of times your ad was served to a Snapchatter. Tracked when the ad fully renders on a device for the first time during a Snapchatter’s viewing session.
— Snapchat, Paid Impression Tooltip

— Snapchat, Paid Impression Tooltip

The Geofilter Life Cycle kicks off with a Paid Impression / Swipe.

Paid Impressions or Swipes (hereby referred to as Paid Impressions) are the first metric that Snapchat lists in your geofilter results.

According to Snapchat, a paid impression is “the total number of times your ad was served to a Snapchatter.”

This impression is “tracked when the ad fully renders on a device for the first time during a Snapchatter’s viewing session.”

What does this mean?

When you pay for your ad, this is the actual thing that you are paying for: putting your geofilter on a Snapchatter’s screen when they swipe in search of filters.

This is the first step to successful geofilter marketing. If your filter appears in the list, then *ding!* Snapchat registers a paid impression.

At it’s most crude, this tool can be used like a blunt object to relentlessly show Snapchatters your geofilter.

If your filter looks ugly, no one is going to use it. If it’s pretty AND relevant to their interests then they might consider using it.

If you do a good job with your filter, then from the pool of Snapchatters who see it we arrive at the second stage of the Geofilter Life Cycle - Metric #2: Shares.

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02b. Shares / Uses

The number of times your ad was shared via Chat or Stories.
— Snapchat, Shares Tooltip

Ok, so we have now covered Paid impressions / Swipes.

If you did a good job of creating a dope filter that is relevant to a Snapchatter’s experience, then your geofilter will arrive at part 2 of the geofilter life cycle: the Share.

Here's an example.

If 100 Snapchatters saw your geofilter initially, and 5 people decided to use it once, then your filter would have 5 shares.

If that same 5 people used your geofilter in multiple instances, say 3 times each, then you would have 15 shares. Seems simple right? That’s cuz it is.

Do you want to know the most awesome thing about Shares, though? Shares are where the magic happens.

When someone uses a geofilter you’ve designed, your filter immediately enters what I call the lottery.

Is the filter going to be shared personally through Chat to one or multiple people? Is it going to be added openly to a Story and be seen by 90 people? Is it going to end up on the Snap Map and be seen by 200,000 people around the world?

There’s no way for you to tell at the outset, but you can immediately tell from your finished results how “the lottery” went for you.

When your geofilter is done running, it’s time to collect your winnings and figure out how much you just earned, in step 3 of the geofilter life cycle: Earned Impressions.

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02c. Earned Impressions / Views

The number of times your ad was viewed after being shared by a Snapchatter via Chat or Stories.
— Snapchat, Earned Impressions Tooltip

Ah yes, Earned Impressions.

By far my favorite metric, it lands in your results feed with the heady euphoria of a marketing job well done.

We’ve already covered Paid Impressions and Shares, so now I’ll walk you through a Snapchat geofilter’s Earned Impressions.

This metric is where you finally figure out if your memes were dank... or stank.

Let’s say that your filter is a winner, and your Paid Impressions convert into Shares for 80% of the 100 Snapchatters who saw it.

When someone Shares your geofilter, you go into something of a lottery… so with 80 shares, there are 80 opportunities for you to win big. 

(Aside: generally speaking, in my experience it seems like Snapchatters most often share my geofilters on their stories.

There is researcher’s bias here though, I will note, because our strategy is to launch filters at locations where I know there is high engagement - festivals, popular music venues, nightlife spaces, and college/high school campuses.

Take that into account as you read into my insights here.)

Let’s say that on average, each of those shares generates 30 views. That’s not so bad - most of the time I’d be pleased with this level of return.

This means that each one of my 80 Shares generated 30 views for a total of 2400 earned impressions.

Snapchat Geofilter Virality Score

From this we can extrapolate a more advanced metric: Virality Score, which is earned impressions divided by paid impressions.

(Click through for a more in-depth look at Virality. In this case, our filter has a virality score of 24 (2400 / 100). For every 1 paid impression, our filter generated 24 more impressions.)

This chart pretty clearly indicates the power of earned impressions. They typically dwarf paid impressions by a huge factor. This ratio of earned-to-paid impressions is what we call the Virality Score.

If I paid $5 for a filter like this, I would have engaged each user at a cost of ~$.06, with each earned impression costing only $.002. Yes, less than a penny.

 

Let’s present a different, more epic scenario through a little story.

I placed a filter over Wembley Stadium for Adele’s Finale performances in late June 2017.

For about $20, my filter was available to any Snapchatter at the stadium starting one hour before the performance.

4 hours later, my filter run terminated shortly after the end of Adele’s performance.

During the concert, this filter had ~3,100 Paid Impressions, ~1,550 Shares, and 263,000 Earned Impressions.

Wembley Stadium geofilter results

  • Swipes: 3,100
  • Shares: 1,550
  • Views: 263,000

Now THAT’S what I call metrics.

For $20, my cost per Share was $.012, my cost per View was $.000076.

Holy cannoli, Batman! Hopefully my helpful graph gives you an impression of how huge the Virality Factor is in getting crazy ROI on your geofilter runs.

Like I said, Earned Impressions... it's where the magic happens.

When you create the right design, pick the right event/experience, and know who your target audience is you get results that are sometimes absurd.

Let's be honest: This is bigger than our costs, though.

Yes it’s exciting stuff (easy there tiger), but if you’re smart you’ll realize that your Earned Impressions aren’t exclusive to each unique user.

Some users may see your geofilter content multiple times on different Stories (insights we explore further in the Beaumonde Insights section). 

How else can we measure the effectiveness of a geofilter? Well, the Share Rate metric is a great indicator of whether you did a mediocre job or you knocked it out of the park.  We review it next, right after Reach!

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02d. Reach

The number of unique Snapchatters that viewed your ad via Camera, Chat, or Stories.
— Snapchat, Reach Tooltip

That’s cool. So we know that this number represents the true unique headcount for people who viewed/used your geofilter. 

You can also do some neat things with this number to create more insights from your metrics.

To determine what we call Earned Reach, you subtract Paid Impressions from Reach.

For example:

Your geofilter run delivered 100 paid impressions, 20 shares, 500 Earned Impressions (views), and 400 Reach. 

Earned Reach would be 400 - 100 = 300 unique Snapchatters. Total non-unique views would be 100 paid + 500 earned = 600 total views across our 400 total unique Snapchatters.

100 swipes / 20 shares = 20% (Share Rate)

500 Views / 400 Reach = 1.25 views per average user (Stickiness)

Why is Your Earned Reach an important number?

Because it tells the impact of your geofilter beyond what you literally paid for (the paid impressions) which is always an incredibly valuable insight.

This is where most people digging into Snapchat metrics stop, but conversely the Beaumonde Snapchat team thinks that this is where we should be focusing.

touring band case study - Another example:

I ran a geofilter over a touring band’s sold out concert.

My filter design reflected the cover artwork of the band’s latest hot single. I knew fans would love it because they love the band!

I happened to know this particular venue caps out at 1000 people. Knowing that, I was eager to see just how far this geofilter could reach beyond the initial 1000 attendees.

Of the 1000 expected attendees, my filter saw 967 Paid Impressions, 500 Shares, 44,300 Earned Impressions, and a Reach of 26,400.

If we subtract Paid Impressions (967) from Reach (26,400) we see that our Earned Reach is 25,433.

What does this mean? It means that my geofilter turned a sold out show into a marketing home run for this band - one that reached over 25,000 more people through Snapchat than were even attending their show.

It’s pretty reasonable to think that a lot of friends sharing through Snapchat have similar tastes in music, so to me this use of a geofilter seems like an incredibly accurate way to reach an outside audience that matches your target demographic.

Geofilters offer a lot of qualitative insight if you have the interest to look at the data and ask "why would somebody do this?".

One thing that's pretty difficult for a band to track is the real impact of a sold out performance on their brand awareness. With Snapchat geofilters, they actually can. Snapchat geofilters are an amazing way to track this previously opaque area of audience insights.

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02e. Share Rate / Usage Rate

The rate at which your ad was shared via Chat or Stories (shares / impressions)
— Snapchat, Share Rate Tooltip

What does a good Share Rate look like on a geofilter?

If it’s a direct marketing filter, (i.e. one that doesn’t necessarily match an event or experience that a Snapchatter is currently having), then you might be pleased to see anything between 2% and 10%, depending upon how many people are within the geographic area of the geofilter.

With event specific filters, you could be happy seeing anything above 20%.

With that being said, I feel like 20% is an easy mark to beat! My lifetime filter share rate is well over 50%, so I’m pretty happy to see anything beat that margin.

When the Share Rate goes as high as 90%, I'll admit that even I start flipping out.

Look at the ratio of Shares to Paid Impressions, as discussed in our previous section on Reach. That’s 500 shares / 967 paid impressions, for a Share Rate of 51.7%.

Additionally, I once created a filter for a popular indie rock band that was touring through Raleigh. I designed the filter to match the band’s minimalist aesthetic, something I thought their fans would appreciate when it showed up in Snapchat.

When the results came in this filter had gotten 255 Paid Impressions, was Shared 225 times, was Viewed 8585 times, Reached 6085 unique people, and had a Share rate of 88.2%.

I was shocked to see such a high Share Rate. In hindsight, it seems that I did everything correctly - the filter matched the bands aesthetic, it was memorable, it was in a high-sharing location, and it enhanced/personalized the content that fans were able to capture at the show.

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02f. Camera Time / Swipe Time

The average time your ad was seen in the camera as an overlay option (seconds)
— Snapchat, Camera Time Tooltip

This metric is pretty self explanatory I think. Please email me if you have any further questions or have insights to offer on this metric.

 

03. Beaumonde's Metrics

 
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There are a few additional insights that we can put together from typical geofilter campaign results. These insights use existing metrics to add some qualitative depth to your geofilter results, expanding upon the basic metrics we receive from Snapchat.

Beaumonde's Insights include:

03a. Earned Reach - Paid Impressions minus Reach
03b. Virality - ratio of Earned Impressions to Paid Impressions
03c. Stickiness - Views per unique Snapchatter

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03a. Earned Reach

Paid Impressions minus Reach
— Beaumonde's Snapchat Glossary

Coming soon.

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03b. Virality

Ratio of Earned Impressions to Paid Impressions
— Beaumonde's Snapchat Glossary

03c. Stickiness

Views per unique Snapchatter
— Beaumonde Snapchat Glossary

03d. Insights In Progress

WE also have some Insights in progress:

This section accounts for new ideas and insights that we are exploring. Consider this the beta zone for valuable insights.

XX. Flux - the estimated likelihood of high volume sharing

XX. Frequency Range - estimating the percentage of users who saw a filter more than two time

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04. Useful Resources

 
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Looking for more useful resources for Snapchat marketing? Check these options out.

UPDATE (6/6/18):

I just recently discovered a pair of Snapchat Case Studies by Gupta Media. On their blog they have two studies which I have linked below - one is a Snapchat Lens Case Study, and the other is a Snapchat Geofilter for Music Marketing case study.

Here's my summary of their findings from the Geofilters study:

When compiling the data from 89 geofilters run by Gupta Media, the average Cost Per 1,000 views (the Snapchat equivalent of CPM) – is $0.44.

This number, as we've known for a long time, is an extremely cost effective CPM.

It's important to note that even one use by a high profile Snapchat user can greatly skew the CPM results for geofilters, simply because one use can yield hundreds of thousands of views.

Check out this histogram chart of CPM across multiple geofilter campaigns run by Gupta Media. It indicates that their campaigns primarily fell between $0.50 and $4.00 in terms of cost per 1000 views.

From their case study: "In 54 out of 89 filters, the eCPM was under $4 – all of which compare favorably to most other ad buys."

 
snapchat geofilter cpm results beaumonde geofilter guide sourced from gupta media.png
 

List of Case Studies & Resources

[Gupta Media] Utilizing Snapchat Lens Studio for Brands
[Gupta Media] Snapchat On-demand Geofilters for Music Marketing

Here are some resources from Snap that provide basic insights into their platform and terminologies.

The Snap Business Help center
Snapchats official business geofilter glossary.

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Want us to cover something specific in this guide that's not there yet? Drop us a line with your thoughts on what we should add to the Ultimate Geofilter Guide.

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    05. Weird Stuff I've Seen In Snapchat Marketing

     
    Beaumonde Snapchat Ultimate Geofilter Guide Metrics Insights.jpg

    This section covers oddities and anomalies spotted during Snapchat Geofilter marketing campaigns.

    Snapchat Memories & Phantom Filter Views

    In some of my filter reviews, I've noticed something odd when I come back to review a geofilter that is many months old.

    Sometimes there are views of my Geofilters that are days, weeks or even months after the run-date of my geofilter. Have you seen these before?

    I wondered what these were for a while until I realized something... This phenomenon is probably people sharing their Snapchat Memories with friends who either attended the event with them, or who are considering attending a similar event together soon.

    Memories in Snapchat are a place where users can store their favorite moments for later.

    If you've taken a Snap and applied a geofilter before saving it to your Memories, then every time you share that Snap from your Memories you are sharing that geofilter design.

    This to me is the only good explanation for these phantom geofilter views, unless Snapchat is tracking my work because it's so impressive. (If that's the case Snapchat, I'm always available for consulting 😎).

    This creates just another incredible reason for brand marketers to utilize Snapchat as an ad platform.

    Users literally save your ad design into their Memories for later review and sharing, extending the impact of your brand awareness campaign and possibly even pushing your ad creative out to other interested users over time.

    Snapchat Geofilters are not a one-and-done deal. With the right targeting and design, and if the concept of your filter fits the concept of your event/experience well enough... then you've hit a home run that will stick with users for a long time, especially when they look back fondly at their memories of an event.