Brands Can Now Sponsor Snapchat Filters With Animated Messages

Dunkin' Donuts buys motion ads

Brands have a new way to sponsor Snapchat filters. Sources: Dunkin Donuts, Getty Images
Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Just when you thought your selfies were safe from advertisements, along comes another sponsored ad format.

Earlier this month, Snapchat began rolling out animated filters (like a twinkling wreath of holiday lights) that move across the screen when users take a photo or video. Now, the platform is opening up animated filters for advertisers that enable users to snap and share moving graphics.

Dunkin’ Donuts is the first advertiser to buy a so-called sponsored animated filter to celebrate the winter solstice tomorrow—the darkest day of the year. The campaign promotes the brand’s dark roast coffee and the creative changes over the course of the day to increasingly get darker.

According to Snapchat, more than three billion filtered Snaps are viewed every day, which breaks down to 125 million every hour. Unlike other platforms (here’s looking at you, Facebook), Snapchat claims that “most” interactions take place between friends, and 87 percent of users rank close friends as the most influential factor in purchase decisions. At launch, advertisers can purchase sponsored animated filters for national takeovers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, France and Australia; in the coming months, the feature will include targeting by age, gender, time of day and interest.

As marketers look for more ways to engage with consumers outside of TV ads, brands are looking to sponsored filters to cut through the clutter. According to Dunkin’ Donuts CMO Tony Weisman, the chain has been testing ad measurement that tracks how many people saw an ad before visiting a store through Snap’s acquisition of Placed. “This allows us to test incremental store visits from Snapchat ads, filters and lenses, and we’ve seen positive lifts in incrementality from these solutions,” he said in an email statement. “These tools are inherently peer-to-peer in nature, which is what we strive for.”

While not sponsored, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all have filters; only time will tell if the platforms follow Snap’s lead.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.