Snapchat allowing geofilters for any party, event or company for as little as $5

Snapchat Inc. on Monday unveiled a second plan to generate revenue from its unique and popular form of location sharing.

Last year, Venice-based Snapchat began charging retailers, movie studios and others to promote branded geofilters — as part of a number of experiments with advertising on the 4-year-old app. Those could run tens of thousands of dollars.

Now Snapchat will allow anyone, including smaller companies, to submit temporary geofilters to the service for as little as $5.

Geofilters, or digital graphics that can be laid atop a photo or video, are Snapchat users’ way of telling their friends where they are at a given moment. The graphics, which usually feature sketches of landmarks, are geographically restricted, so a user of the content-sharing app would need to be within Hollywood, for example, to access one for that neighborhood.

On-demand geofilters could be used for a party, wedding or business event, Snapchat noted. The service is available in the U.S., Britain and Canada. Geofilters can be available for use for an hour or up to 30 days, over a space between 20,000 square feet and 5 million square feet or “a few city blocks,” according to the company.

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The price for a branded geofilter increases the longer it is available and the larger the geographic area over which it’s accessible.

Snapchat fans, many of them in their teens and 20s, obsess over geofilters, scrolling through options on Snapchat for new ones as they move around the world.

Snapchat allows users to submit ideas for permanent geofilters for public places free of charge; nearly 500,000 have come in. Options include a silhouetted skyline in downtown Los Angeles, “Santa Monica” written in a hip font and logos for places like the Greek row at USC.

But the company has also been flooded with requests for one-off geofilters for a number of smaller events and private venues. The company will still review “on-demand” submissions, but the fee system should make the pipeline more manageable for the company.

Meanwhile, larger advertisers may still find the pricier, sponsored geofilters a better value per square foot of availability. Privately held Snapchat hasn’t disclosed sales figures for sponsored geofilters or other ad options, but it’s aiming to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue this year.

Anyone who pays for a geofilter will be able to see how many times it’s been used.

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