Filters have evolved over time. Originally, we started with simple location filters that tell people you’re in Chicago, or at the Eiffel Tower, or enjoying a hot dog in New York City.
As Snapchat grew, it expanded filters to large events. The Super Bowl, Oscars watch parties, etc., might all have their own Snapchat-originated filters.
Then Snapchat made it personal by allowing users to create and purchase filters for their own events. Weddings, quinceañeras, college graduations, dog birthday parties — any event you can think of can have its very own Snapchat filter.
Not only are filters fun, but they’re also great for event marketing purposes. They create curiosity and demand surrounding your event and urge viewers to learn more.
If you’re looking to create a custom Snapchat geo filter, for professional or personal reasons, use this guide as a complete reference.
Here you have the option to a community filter. A community filter is defined as “a free filter for a location or moment that is special to you."
With community filters, Snapchat encourages users to, “Share some pride in your city, university, a local landmark, or any public location.”
Community filters have to be submitted for Snapchat’s approval. Once approved, users around the world can add these filter to their Snapchat stories.
Within community filters, you have the option to choose between geofilters and moment filters. The difference between the two is described in the image below.
For both of these options, you’re in charge of designing the filter yourself. Snapchat does not offer templates or design skeletons for either of these options. Rather, you’re directed to a page similar to the one below where you upload your design and further customize the filter.
Once you’ve completed the steps such as establishing a location, naming the filter, and determining a category, you can submit the filter for approval.
How to create a filter
The other option you have on Snapchat is to create a personal filter using Snapchat’s ready-made templates.
This will lead you to a page where you can immediately begin designing your filter.
Snapchat has a plethora of template options, mostly based around the purpose for the event or occasion you’re celebrating. Choose anything from a baby shower to Game Day.
Customize the filter by choosing your preferred color scheme, adding text, and incorporating other elements such as Bitmojis.
Once you’ve designed the filter, you’re responsible for establishing the dates and times of the filter’s availability, as well as the location the filter should be available in. Snapchat bases almost all of their filters on geographical location, so it’s important to make sure this is correct.
For example, say you’re creating a filter for an upcoming event across the country. Be sure to set the location for the part of the country you’re going to be in, and not where you are currently. The filter will only be available to those who are in the predetermined location.
From here, you navigate to the “checkout” page where you pay for your filter. Pricing will depend on how long you want the geofilter to last, as well as the size of your geofence.
After you’ve paid, you wait! Once the event begins, the filter should be available to anyone in the predetermined area.
Because Snapchat operates based off of location, it’s impossible to keep people you don’t know from using your filter. I’d caution you not to include private information, such as the venue name, on the filter itself.
How to create a Snapchat filter on mobile
While I personally find it easier to toy with design elements on a desktop computer, Snapchat does allow you to create custom filters on mobile devices. To accomplish this, begin by opening up Snapchat to the camera screen.
Click the icon in the top-left corner of the screen which takes you to your profile information.
From here, click settings. (My information has been whited-out for privacy reasons.)
Select “filters and lenses” and choose to get started.
From the list of filters vs lenses, choose “filter.” You’ll get the same list of themes you got online. Select a theme and continue to choose a date, time, and location for the filter.
Once you’ve completed all of these steps, you’ll be directed to the “checkout” screen where you can pay for your creation.
As you can see in this example, the birthday filter I decided to apply to our work building for six hours only cost around $8. As far as a marketing tool goes, Snapchat filters are a comparatively cheap way to increase engagement and awareness surrounding an event.
A fun perspective
As you can see, Snapchat filters are a quirky and fun way to get people to have a good time. People can even add photos and videos to your geofilter’s story so you can then have a stream of everything people are doing within your geofence!
To learn more about how to utilize Snapchat for business, consider reading:
Grace Pinegar is a lifelong storyteller with an extensive background in various forms such as acting, journalism, improv, research, and content marketing. She was raised in Texas, educated in Missouri, worked in Chicago, and is now a proud New Yorker. (she/her/hers)