Snapchat Opens Up Its Ad Business Even More to Help Brands Buy Geofilter Ads Automatically

It could lead to bigger packages for marketers

The app's ad partners can now pitch sponsored geofilters in addition to vertical video ads. Sources: Snapchat, iStock
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Snapchat wants brands to buy a lot of geofilters that layer fun text and graphics over users’ photos and videos. On Monday, the app opened up its API (application programming interface) a bit more, letting brands buy the location-based promos automatically.

More than 15 of Snapchat’s ad partners in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada, including Amobee and Videology, are now pitching sponsored geofilters to agencies and brands, as well as the full-screen, vertical video ads that run alongside stories and Discover content. Until now, advertisers have purchased branded geofilters through Snapchat’s self-service buying tool. The API is Snapchat’s version of programmatic technology that plugs tech companies into the platform to manage campaign spend, data, targeting and creative for advertisers.

In theory, the ad-tech vendors can help brands buy bigger ad packages that include both formats and automatically manage the targeting of geofilters to make sure they run at specific locations and times. Meanwhile, creative firms like VaynerMedia will develop creative templates to help brands design custom messaging for their geofilters.

In recent months, Facebook has relentlessly copied a number of Snapchat’s features, including geo-tagged stickers, and the move to open up more sponsored geofilters could help Snap keep its advantage. According to eMarketer, the app is expected to make nearly $1 billion from advertising this year, up from $404 million in 2016.

Here’s a screenshot showing Amobee’s software that maps out the exact location a geofilter runs:

Snap is also equipping a handful of event and tech companies with the tools to sell on-demand geofilters. Wedding planning site WeddingWire, for example, will be able to help couples and wedding planners purchase geofilters that wrap around specific locations. And event marketing platform Eventfarm has a dashboard that streamlines the process of buying geofilters for events. Options for buying geofilters will also be built directly into Hootsuite’s platform, which brands use to manage their social campaigns.

“We see a huge opportunity not only to help companies more easily integrate Snapchat into their events and experiences but also to empower marketers to extract richer behavioral insights from their targeted audiences,” Eventfarm CEO and co-founder Ryan Costello said in a statement.

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