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Snapchat now boasts over 100 million users. With such a strong following, it can be a valuable resource often overlooked by business owners, who may not realize the marketing potential the app holds. As the app continues to grow, a unique kind of in-the-moment social media marketing is forming, vying away from the polished, pre-planned marketing we’re accustomed to seeing. Snapchat marketing is personalized; it adds a human touch to global brands, showing insights audiences wouldn’t usually be privy to, like a behind the scenes glimpse of the team behind a big name. Engaging, interactive and fun, here are some ways Snapchat now allows for effective social media marketing.

Snap Ads

Snapchat now includes advertisements in the story function, so that occasionally after viewing a story a user will see an ad pop up in the same format as other Snapchat videos. Users have the option to swipe up on the ad for more information if interested. In this case, Snapchat has taken one of the more traditional forms of advertising and included it within the app, but there are other options if you want something more unique to Snapchat.

Sponsored Filters

The introduction of fun filters to Snapchat was, and remains, incredibly popular. Users can use filters to add a cute or humorous touch to Snapchat videos and pictures. With more than 30 million filter-enhanced snaps being sent each day, users have become very familiar with the use of these lenses.

Since the addition of sponsored lenses last year, Snapchat has worked with more than 50 companies to create custom filters to promote their brands. Sponsored filters are the priciest form of Snapchat advertising, but have proven beneficial to the select companies that have utilized the feature. Intended to be used in the same way as the well-known dog face and flower headpiece lenses, brands have been creating interactive filters for Snapchat users for promotional purposes. For example, Taco Bell created a filter that superimposed the user’s face in a giant taco. This fun, interactive form of marketing is a unique offshoot from typical advertising, and perhaps that’s why it’s such a success. While sponsored lenses may seem out of reach for your business at this stage, there are similar, but more affordable, uses for Snapchat as a marketing tool.


As Snapchatters began regularly using filters, there was room to expand the technique into more achievable opportunities for marketers; enter geofilters. Geofilters are images, stickers or captions that a user can select to post on their snap. They are similar to lenses, except they’re not as interactive and they only appear in relevant locations. For example, from our office in Brooklyn, Snapchat offers a geofilter of a cartoon Brooklyn Bridge, and another with the word ‘DUMBO’. You can also observe business-specific geofilters that are only available for a limited amount of time. When I’m home, for example, my geofilter options vary accordingly. This morning I saw a sponsored filter for Dunkin’ Donuts, which is across the street from me. They have a new product available, and now I know about it without leaving the comfort of my home, or going on their website or social pages.

Businesses can create a geofilter, select a specific location where it will be available, and a desired duration of time. Snapchat users in the specified location can then use the geofilter on their photos and videos, and send it to friends and followers. The fun and easy shareability of the filter helps widen a business’s reach, increase brand awareness and encourage engagement within a target community. I can send my friends in Australia a snap using a geofilter in my area, and if it piques their interest, they can look up that sponsor on other social media platforms or via the business’s website.

Snapchat has great organic reach and creates a lasting relationship with clients. To get the most out of Snapchat marketing, businesses can promote their Snapchat account and sponsored geofilters on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Snapchat filters are a unique form of online marketing because, not only do users actively engage with advertisements, but they willingly share them with friends and followers. Geofilters in particular are affordable and, if used strategically, are a great value.

Geofilters often depict a business’s logo, but can feature virtually anything as long as they follow Snapchat’s guidelines. To promote their name and image, W Hotels was among the first in the hospitality industry to use geofilters. A simple overlay of their logo with a few quick caption options was enough to have an impact.

Creating Stories

For a more casual approach to Snapchat marketing, always remember that your employees can be used as digital advocates for your brand. Businesses can use the “story” feature to show behind the scenes looks at the internal team, share the strengths and selling points of the company, and chat directly with employees. Simply take a virtual office tour, a photo of a new team member, or a video of the new coffee machine working its magic, and post it to your company story. Your Snapchat followers will instantly see a more relatable and humanized side of your brand.


Snapchat has joined forces with Bitmoji to create personal avatars for use within the app. Once you create your own personal emoji using the Bitmoji app, you can then use it to express yourself in Snapchat. In terms of marketing, you can create a face for your brand; a little Bitmoji mascot who helps humanize your brand and make it a bit more relatable to your audience. Use your little mascot on snaps in your story, like including them in a team photo.

One of the best things about Snapchat, and no doubt the reason it’s so popular, is because it’s fun! So have fun with it! Geofilters are an easy, affordable way to spread brand awareness and engage with your audience, and allow plenty of room for creativity. In combination with snap ads, sponsored filters, and all the standard capabilities of the app such as stories, Snapchat can be a very useful digital marketing tool. The digital world is ever-changing, and business owners need to keep up lest they be left behind. Snapchat is still relatively new to the marketing game, but its improved features and constant updates make it a welcome addition to the social media marketing family!

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