Snapchat Geofilters for Churches

Snapchat Geofilters for Churches

August 24, 2016 by

We created an introduction to Snapchat for churches, but one of the simplest, easiest ways churches could use Snapchat required going a little deeper. So we’re exploring Snapchat geofilters for churches.

Even if you’re not super active on Snapchat, this can be a simple way to engage people on the channel.

What’s a Snapchat Filter?

Celebrate baptisms with a Snapchat filter and create a unique way to capture a special moment, ready to share.

One of the fun things about Snapchat is it offers all kinds of lenses, filters and overlays to help you enhance your photos and video. Just take a picture and swipe to the left. You’ll go through some standard filters (photo filters, mph, temperature, altitude, time, etc.) and then geofilters will come up (if there are any in your location).

You might also see sponsored filters from major brands like 7 Eleven or Beats by Dre.

To get even fancier, there are sponsored lenses that offer animation and face morphing. To access these lenses you need to be on the camera screen. Make sure a face is in view (you might need to switch to the selfie camera) and hold your finger on the face. Snapchat will map the face with some snazzy technology, and then a host of filters will come up. You can swipe through these to apply different ones.

Some of the lenses will morph your face like a fun-house mirror. Others let you swap faces with someone else in the frame.

While writing this, 7 Eleven offered a filter that encouraged me to open my mouth, and then I was puking a rainbow and sporting a slurpee afro—weird, yes, but it was an offbeat and, well, fun promotion for their “Bring Your Own Cup Day” slurpee promotion.

Sponsored lenses are big money in the advertising world right now, reportedly ranging from $350,000 to $750,000 each. Ghostbusters even did a first-ever “dual-lens” campaign, using both cameras on your phone.

That’s probably out of your church’s price range. But you can do a sponsored geofilter for as little as $5.

So What’s a Geofilter?

Geofilters are like a hidden code or special bonus for using Snapchat.

Geofilters are specialized filters based on your location. These geofilters are activated by your location and only visible when you’re in a certain area. So you might see text overlays promoting your neighborhood or a local attraction you’re visiting.

This can get really interesting with local events and attractions. Since you have to actually be there to see the geofilters, it’s like a hidden code or special bonus for using Snapchat. It’s also yet another way that Snapchat feels more real and authentic.

Some of these are free community filters that anyone can create and submit for approval. While they’re likely to reject a church-focused filter, it could be a fun community service to create community filters for your neighborhood or a nearby park.

Sponsored Geofilters for Churches

Snapchat also offers sponsored geofilters, where just about anybody can pay to offer their own geofilter.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You create your own image overlay. Design it yourself following Snapchat’s guidelines, or use a service such as Pepper (for $5, they’ll do the nitpicky graphic work for you).
  2. Go to Snapchat On Demand to pick your location. You’ll get a map location where you can zero in and define a specific area. Depending on the size of your church and/or campus, you should be able to fit your church building and surrounding area.
  3. Pay up. You have to pay for the privilege, but it’s surprisingly cheap (at least right now). Sponsoring a 25,000 square foot area for two hours will cost only $5.

That’s it.

Examples of Snapchat Geofilters for Churches

Let’s see how it looks for churches. Here are just a couple quick examples of church geofilters:

On Snapchat? Swipe for our geofilter on Sundays at church! #sundayvibes #snapaway

A photo posted by Hoboken Grace Community Church (@hobokengrace) on

Hoboken Grace actively encourages people to check out their geofilters with Snapchat Sundays.

Strategies for Snapchat Geofilters

You can imagine the possibilities. Create a special filter for your annual picnic and encourage people to share selfies branded with your church logo. Celebrate baptisms with a Snapchat filter and create a unique way to capture a special moment—and have people share that gospel moment with their friends.

We’ve got a few tips to help you make the most of Snapchat geofilters:

  • Use a Church Account – Every sponsored geofilter will note who sponsored it, so you might want to create a specific Snapchat account for your church. That way people will connect with your church, not just the person who set it up. Your church doesn’t even have to be actively using Snapchat to do this.
  • Don’t Do Too Much – Get creative with your geofilter, but remember that the point isn’t your brand or message, it’s the images people are creating and sharing. So leave plenty of room for people to see what they want to see. It often helps to keep your overlay to the bottom quarter of the screen.
  • Keep It Simple – Some overlays try to get fancy with funny clothes or hats, though it can often be tricky to position your phone just right for the desired effect. Sometimes it’s better to keep it simple.
  • Plan for Any Background – Depending on the area you define for your geofilter, you likely don’t have much control over the background of people’s images. It might be a bright sunny day outside, or they might step inside and the images get darker. So make sure whatever text you use is readable regardless of the background. You might need to get creative and add a background for your text.
  • Plan Smart – This can be a cheap approach, as long as you keep the guidelines in check. You want to limit both the time frame and the location. A short window of time (your morning worship service, an afternoon picnic) and a small geographic area will give you a pretty cheap price ($5-10 in many cases). If you try to go for a long period of time (all day, all month) or try to claim a big chunk of real estate (it maxes out at 5 million square feet), it can get pricey. Do both and it gets crazy: One month at the max size rated over $30,000. But you can also be creative—a huge area around your church for only a few hours might run $150. A compact area around your church for a month? $200. You’ll have to tweak and see what works for your area, but it can be extremely affordable.

Snapchat Geofilters for Churches

There you go. Even if you don’t entirely understand or embrace Snapchat, geofilters can be a simple and fun way to explore this relative newcomer to the social media sphere.

Remember: Social media networks are always changing, and everything we say here may be obsolete next week. Also, big props to Greg Swan of Space 150 for sharing about Snapchat with Social Media Shepherds, a local church comm meetup in the Twin Cities, and giving this non-expert the necessary insight to not sound like a complete buffoon.


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Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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3 Responses to “Snapchat Geofilters for Churches”

  • Aaron
    August 29, 2016

    Thanks for all these articles on Snapchat, specifically this one! Geofilters have been the bane of my existence for months now. I’ve been trying to get my church a free, community geofilter for a long time. All of my submissions have been rather vague, focused on our city instead of our church, but they’ve all been rejected (somewhere around 25 of them now). I’m to the point where I believe Snapchat is not willing to accept a church geofilter as a free, community filter, but that they want churches to pay for an on-demand filter.

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  • Jesus Perdomo
    January 4, 2017

    Very informative article, really helpful to understand the in-and-outs of Snapchat and their geofilters. However, part of your article is a bit misleading.

    I visited Pepper, like you mentioned, which supposedly can design a geofilter for as low as $5. This is simply not true. I tried using their website, but they only offer pre-made templates, none of which are catered for churches, and none of which were particularly easy to customize for any church purpose.

    I am now working with another provider of geofilters, which has had experience with churches. I am not sure if I am in the right to link them here, so I wont, but if you wish to know more about my experience with them, just let me know.

    Other than that, the strategies you have written about are great, and have been very helpful to me in deciding how to approach my geofilter design.

    Thanks for this great piece!

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    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      January 5, 2017

      Yes, Pepper offers templates you can customize for $5. It’s not custom design.

      C’mon, it’s $5. What do you expect?

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