Retailers test out Snapchat's geofilters

Snapchat is mostly associated with teenagers sending self-deleting photos to friends, but a number of UK retailers are starting to use the company’s bespoke geofilters, which allow users to send messages overlaid with branded graphics as part of in-store marketing campaigns.

According to parent company Snap, whose shares tumbled after floating on the stock market earlier this month, the app is used by a total of 150 million people per day globally and more than 10 million daily in the UK. It claims 72% of users send a Snapchat while shopping, with 60% having sent Snaps of something they have bought to friends.

Last Christmas Sainsbury’s added a karaoke Snapchat lens, allowing users to sing along to its Christmas advert and share their efforts with friends.

Now a diverse range of UK brands are testing its on-demand filters in the hope of capitalising on this trend by using bespoke art overlays placed on messages that appear in specific locations.

"We use Snapchat because of the creativity and direct contact with our community," he said. "The ability to send customers exclusive sneak peeks, one-off filters and off the cuff content really appealed to us. It only takes a few moments to engage directly with your whole community or even one on one."

The app has also been used to market the West End's Lion King. Matt Hamm, head of social media at marketing company, Dewynters, said the app is helping the entertainment industry "tap directly" into a ticket buyer’s experience at the venue. "Word of mouth is absolutely key for the success of a theatre production and a filter is a fantastic addition in the tools needed to help spread that," he explained.

Lauren Pears, founder of London's cat café, Lady Dinahs Cat Emporium, said the company is planning a series of seasonal filters for guests in the next year following the success of it kissing booth photos. “We set up a Snapchat Geofilter because we know how much our customers enjoy taking photos in our cafe,” she said.

Last month, Snap launched Annual Plan Geofilter in the UK, which allows retailers to apply branded snapchat gimmicks in and around the location of their business for one year, starting at £500.

Snap has set its sites on monetisation of its platform, following its initial public offering Snapchat is reported to be worth $20 billion (£16 billion). As such it hopes its branded geofilters business will play a key part in achieving revenue growth. The firms said more than one billion global Snaps are viewed with geofilters.