Ad tech smells opportunities in branded geofilters

Brands and agencies have been experimenting with on-demand geofilters ever since they debuted earlier this year. And now tech companies are helping them scale their geofilter campaigns. Rather than having to manually provide Snapchat exact geographic data for each of their locations, brands can now outsource that task to tech companies.

“Large brands have many challenges with geofilter campaigns,” said Tom Kuhr, svp of marketing at social marketing platform MomentFeed. “If there are only a few locations, this isn’t a problem. But brands with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of locations, are faced with a scale that’s impossible to manage without a [location data] service.” 

Cathy Boyle, a mobile analyst at eMarketer, said that in recent months she has seen “more and more” tech companies pitching location-based services intended for branded geofilters. “I feel like it’s coming to the surface because Snapchat has been getting better at communicating the types of geofilters they offer,” she said. “And advertisers are realizing I need quite a bit of detail to bring them [geofilters] to scale.”

EMarketer forecasts that sponsored geofilters will bring Snapchat $29.2 million in ad revenue this year. And by 2018, eMarketer projects that sponsored geofilters will rake in a whopping $164.3 million in ad revenue. A Snapchat spokesperson declined to share specific statistics, but noted that about 60 percent of on-demand geofilters are submitted by businesses.

One company trying to capitalize on this growth is MomentFeed, which just unveiled a feature that allows brands to more easily sync their location data to Snapchat. The feature is intended to reduce logistical headaches that brands with many locations face when they want to create multiple geofilters across several different regions. MomentFeed takes care of the geo-fencing and location information updates, leaving the creative part of geofilter generation to brands’ agencies.

In July, marketing tech company Yext introduced a similar service aimed at helping companies manage their location data within Snapchat. Marc Ferrentino, Yext evp of strategy and product, said that since the service was introduced in July, Yext has seen “a little under 100 companies” use its location data capabilities when creating geofilters. The companies have been diverse in size and sector, coming from industries such as retail, food, financial services, and automotive. National brands to use Yext’s location service for geofilters include Denny’s, Guitar Center and 7-Eleven, he said.

Marketing tech company SIM Partners has also used its location data platform to help companies create geofilters. So far, SIM Partners has helped just a handful of companies with their geofilters, but many others have expressed interest and “the list [of interested clients] is growing quickly as Snapchat is gaining momentum,” said Jay Hawkinson, SIM Partners svp of client success. “I think everybody is tapped into it, knowing there is a lot of potential there.”

One client, a large healthcare system in the Chicago area, is using SIM Partners’ location platform to create multiple geofilters along the Chicago Marathon route this weekend.

“The challenge with these new ad formats is scale,” Boyle said in reference to the market for location services. “Right now the creativity and scale don’t come together yet.”

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