A Case Study of an On-Demand Snapchat Geofilter

How I Got 19,486 Views and 410 Uses in 36 Hours on My On-Demand Snapchat Geofilter

This past week, I tested out Snapchat’s On-Demand geofilter feature for the first time. This week, I’ve compiled a case study covering the results of the geofilter and what went into it. But before I go any further, please be sure to know what a Snapchat geofilter is, if you’re not yet familiar with them.

In brief, a geofilter is a location-based photo overlay used on Snapchat. The new On-Demand geofilter feature gives creators the ability to have a personal or promotional geofilter, which also comes with usage metrics. These are paid geofilters that are based on square footage and time starting at 5 dollars. The geofilter’s area can go up to 5,000,000 square feet and can last up to 30 days.

Brief Overview & Infographic

This past week was midterms week at my university, and my most time-consuming test was actually figuring out how to deploy an On-Demand geofilter on the campus. I wanted to test it out on a large scale and give it the best chance to do well.

So, I spent the week before midterms designing the geofilter, digitizing it, and refining it. I spent some time mapping and planning out where to place the geofence. Then on the day of the launch, I went to the locations to test and use it myself.

In the several days since the geofilter ended, I decided to organize the information into simple infographics.

I will cover each section of the infographic in detail, but you can view the full infographic by clicking on this image:

Click to View the Complete Infographic

Geofilter Details & Context

Again, it was midterms week at my school, California State University, Sacramento. Because it would be relevant to the students, I decided to use the phrase “midterms got me like” as a geofilter.

Geofilter Details

I planned it for the 36 hours between 8 a.m. on Tuesday and 8 p.m. on Wednesday. This time was used to reach people who had Monday-Wednesday classes, as well as people who had Tuesday-Thursday classes. There would be different people on campus on Tuesday, than there would be on Wednesday.

I planned it for the 36 hours between 8 a.m. on Tuesday and 8 p.m. on Wednesday. This time was used to reach people who had Monday-Wednesday classes, as well as people who had Tuesday-Thursday classes. There would be different people on campus on Tuesday, than there would be on Wednesday.

Context Points

One of the buildings I targeted was also a 24-hour study area. Since it was in the middle of the week, this targeted many of the students who were pulling all-nighters for their midterms.

This made it very likely for a student taking a Snapchat study break to take a quick selfie with the geofilter to share their midterm woes.

In fact, there was also a Snapchat selfie lens (real-time special effects for selfies) that could turn one’s face into a crying face with smeared mascara. Knowing this possibility, I intentionally designed it with the intention for it to be used for a selfie.

These factors made it likely for a student to use the geofilter:

  • A geofilter designed just for midterms
  • A crying selfie lens to hyperbolize the struggle
  • Available on the student’s study break

Audience Analysis

A Snapchat geofilter happened to be the perfect medium to deliver my message to my audience. There’s plenty of similarities between students at CSU Sacramento and Snapchat users, the biggest one being age.

Audience Analysis

CSU Sacramento’s Student Body

According to CSU Sacramento’s data center, stats from Fall 2015 show:

  • The campus has 30,284 students
  • 78% of the students are under 25 years old
  • The average age of a student is 23 years old

Another 14% of the students are ages 25–30. 4% are ages 30–35, 2% are ages 35–40, and 2 % are ages 40 and above.

Snapchat Users

Based on Snapchat’s internal data posted on their ads page, they claim the following stats:

  • 100 million daily active users
  • 60% of U.S. Snapchat users are under 25 years old
  • Over 8 billion video views everyday

More specifically, 23% of their U.S. users are ages 13–17, 37% are ages 18–24, 26% are ages 25–24, 12% are ages 35–54, and 2% are 55 and above.


In order to have the biggest impact with my geofilter, I had to maximize the area I was paying for. I was able to turn vertical space into free space by targeting multi-level buildings.

Geofence Area

I decided to place my geofilter within the university’s library, student union, and academic information resource center. These are all prime study places on campus and all multi-level buildings.

Snapchat currently only accounts for the square footage on the ground. The geofence tool does not calculate the actual space with multi-level buildings. I was able to pay less for more by putting the geofence on multi-level buildings, and capitalize on that vertical space.

However, I’ve heard that there’s a premium for On-Demand geofilters placed on NFL football stadiums. It’s likely that this could soon apply to multi-level buildings.


The price of an on-demand geofilter is calculated based on the duration of the geofilter and the square footage it takes up. The price was $66 for 178,117 square feet for 36 hours.


After the fact, I researched the actual square footage including the multiple levels of each building. The actual square footage of the university library was 275,000. The university union was actually 195,384 square feet, and the academic information resource center was actually 67,807 square feet.

I paid for 178,117 square feet, but the actual square footage was 537,807 square feet. This means I got 361,690 square feet for free. I saved $135 for that same 36 hours by maximizing the vertical space.


When it was all said and done, the geofilter was used 410 times. This is the amount of times it was used on a Snap in a someone’s Snapchat story or in a direct Snap.

From those 410 uses, the geofilter was viewed 19,486 times. This is how many times it was viewed by the sender’s audience, either from a direct snap or on the sender’s story.


Over 36 hours, this averages out to around 11 uses and 541 views per hour.

The biggest lesson I realized was how powerful the attention and engagement was on Snapchat. On average, someone used the geofilter every 10 minutes, and the geofilter was viewed 9 times every minute.

Interesting fact, a friend on mine was so surprised to see the geofilter on her friend’s Snapchat story that she took a screen shot and sent it to me. My own friends on Snapchat were also very surprised when I used it and sent me a bunch of Snaps and questions.

This just reminded me that, these aren’t just numbers, those are deep interactions from people. There were 410 times when somebody decided to use that geofilter on their photo and video. On top of that, there were thousands of people who engaged with the geofilter and received the message, feeling, and story.

These results just reinforced how strong the attention among Snapchat users is and how impactful Snapchat geofilters can be to share a message.

Free Guide on Geofilters

If you’re interested in learning how to create geofilters that people love to use, you can sign up at snapchatfilterdesign.com to get a free guide on creating geofilters.

I’m also producing a video course covering the practical steps as well as the timeless design principles that go into creating Snapchat geofilters. As a subscriber, you’ll also be the first to know when the video course is available.

This article was originally published on my website: danegonzalez.com.

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