How to Use Snapchat’s Lenses, Filters, and Geofilters for your Social Media Marketing Strategy

By Jan Zimmerman, Deborah Ng


A lens adds special effects to your face, such as cat ears or a Santa hat. You set the lens in place before taking your selfie snap:

  1. In the main Snap screen, just before taking your selfie snap, press the middle of the screen (not the camera button).

    You’ll see a series of bubbles containing pictures. Each bubble contains a lens.

  2. Select the lens you’d like to use.
  3. You may have to drag the image around to position the filter to fit a face or head.

    For example, you might need to raise your eyebrows — or in the case of the vomiting rainbow, open your mouth. Follow instructions and adjust your position as needed.

  4. Take your snap and share as you normally would.


Unlike lenses, filters are added after you take your snap. For example, you can add the temperature, or a holiday garland to frame your snaps, or use a special geofilter to add your location.

Many filters are available for a limited amount of time. If you love a certain filter, make sure to snap a screenshot or save it to your Memories. You might not be able to find it again later!

To use a filter, do the following:

  1. Make sure location services is enabled on your smartphone.

    You can’t use filters without it.

  2. Take your snap as usual.
  3. Swipe right or left to see the different filters.
  4. Select the filter you’d like to use.
  5. Tap Send To to share as usual.

To jazz up your snaps, try using both a lens and a filter. But be careful about over embellishing. You don’t want your snap to look so busy that it loses its essence.


In the past, people could create on demand geofilters for special events, such as weddings and milestone parties, with the caveat that no business-related logos or branding could be used. However, Snapchat now offers brands the capability to create their own branded on-demand geofilters. Unlike the geofilters used for weddings and parties, businesses must disclose that they are behind the on-demand geofilter they created.

The benefit of an on-demand geofilter is that everyone in your community can use them to commemorate an event. For example, if 1,000 people use your geofilter during your event, your branding might be seen by tens of thousands of people, if not more. Geofilters are a form of advertising that will reach Snapchat’s demographic.

Businesses must follow Terms of Use when creating geofilters. For example, brands can use logos or other branded content but can’t use emails, phone numbers, personal information, or images of people. Also, it should go without saying that brands can’t use illegal drugs or illegal activities in geofilters.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with Snapchat’s rules regarding on-demand geofilters at its Submissions Guidelines page.

To create an on-demand geofilter for your brand, you have to use Snapchat’s website — not the app.

You have to pay to create an on-demand geofilter. Filters start at $5 but prices can go much, much higher (think $400+), depending on how much space your geofilter will encompass and how much time you want it to be available.

Take these steps to upload an on-demand geofilter:

  1. Go to Snapchat’s on-demand link and click Create Now.
  2. Log into your Snapchat account.
  3. Download a template.

    Your design team much create the geofilter according to Snapchat’s specifications. Images should be 1080 px by 1920 px and saved as a PNG file.

  4. To upload your geofilter to Snapchat, click Choose File.
  5. Select the date range in which people can use your on-demand geofilter.

    For example, if you are marketing for a convention, you want to select dates coinciding with that event.

  6. Select the location in which your geofilter will be used.
  7. Confirm your geofilter, and select whether it’s for personal or business use.
  8. Add payment information.

Snapchat will review your on-demand geofilter to ensure that it follows their submission guidelines. You can check on orders at the Snapchat website’s My Orders page. Snapchat will also send you an email confirmation.

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