SnapChat has launched a service called Geofilters, with location-based image overlays that users can apply to their Snaps. Think of it as an artsy border around a picture or video. What's interesting about Geofilters is that they are made available to users based on their location and have a start and end date associated with their availability.
Why are geofilters potentially an important tool for youth sports leaders?
SnapChat is growing in popularity. According to this site, SnapChat has become a major force in social media with over 100 million users sending over 8 billion video views per day. SnapChat's rise to popularity, especially among teens, Millennials and Gen-Y demographics (think players and parents!) has been nothing short of meteoric. SnapChat is used to send short videos and images, but unlike Facebook or Twitter, the images disappear from the receiver's device (that's why the SnapChat icon is a ghost!).
A new marketing and branding tool. SnapChat geofilters represent a branding and marketing opportunity for youth sports organizations, especially those that operate their own facilities or run tournaments. Youth sports venues are filled with kids and young parents carrying mobile devices, who unwittingly can become your allies in further promoting your sport's organization. Example, you're running the Memorial Day Tournament, a geofilter showing the tournament logo and a sponsor's logo could be made available. As players send Snaps they can add your geofilter, thus promoting your program/event.
A new fundraising source. As noted in the above example, a sponsor's logo could be included in the geofilter image. Since this is a brand new advertising channel, a separate sponsorship fee could be associated with the advertising image. SnapChat does not allow hyperlinks off geofilter images, so the image carries the main marketing weight at this point.
How is the image uploaded and location area defined?. SnapChat offers a portal where the geofilter image is uploaded and the geographic location is defined. Images must be submitted in PNG format and be 1080 px wide by 1920 px tall and meet other specifications (no #hashtags, URLs or social media handles). The location is set using a nifty mapping tool which resembles Google maps. A Set Fence button enables the use'rs mouse to drop points on the map, which are then connected with lines creating a geofenced area. The geofilter will be available to anyone within the mapped area.
How much does a SnapChat geofilter cost? According to SnapChat, a geofilter's cost depends on the square footage of the location and the population density. As a test I geofenced a local athletic association's fields and parking lots and was quoted $23 per day. For comparison, I geofenced Busch Stadium (home of the St. Louis Cardinals!!!) and was quoted $131/day. As you can see, the higher the density the higher the cost. I would imagine most youth sports events would be at the lower end of the spectrum. There is one more cost to consider - the graphic design cost of your geofilter. If you happen to have a graphic's designer on your board or can find a parent volunteer with the skills, your design cost will be minimal. If the design work needs to be hired out, you may expect to pay $200 or more for the final image.
Is a geofilter going to change your world? No, but it certainly does demonstrate that your organization is on top of the latest social media trends and offers fun options for those participants who are SnapChatters. Future geofilter enhancement may offer greater opportunities for youth sports promotion, such as hyperlinks to registration, merchandising, donations, volunteer options or sponsors. Hope this was helpful!