How Credit Unions Can Use Snapchat

Snapchat now allows businesses to create their own Snapchat filters. Why is this a good idea for credit unions?

Snapchat may have just become a viable digital media platform for credit unions.

Last week, the video and photo sharing service introduced the ability for users to create custom geofilters. These on-demand geofilters begin at $5 apiece and could create a personal experience for Snapchat users visiting a credit union branch.

I know what you’re thinking: what is a geofilter? A geofilter is a special overlay that can communicate a location or a time in a fun and interesting say rather than, say, adding text.

Here’s an example. This is a picture of my desk as I write this post. The Washington, DC, image at the bottom of the image is the geofilter.


A look into this author’s life.

Before this change, geofilters were created by community artists and designers for their cities, universities, local landmarks, and other public locations. Snapchat allowed no brand logos. Now brand logos and trademarks are permitted and businesses can create their own.

Here’s a Snapchat video showing how it’s done.

This is an exciting bit of functionality. For one, it provides users, like credit unions, immense advertising flexibility. Geofilter designs simply need to meet Snapchat’s design guidelines and are reviewed within one business day. Additionally, users can customize the time the geofilter goes into effect and set a personalized geofence say around a branch within which the geofilter is triggered.

Is The Investment Worth It?

The five-year-old company has only recently opened its platform to advertising, but there’s no doubt that a massive market exists for brands on Snapchat.

According to Snapchat’s CEO, the platform has 100 million daily users. This looks less impressive against Facebook’s 1.55 billion monthly active users, a platform on which credit unions have invested greatly. But consider video plays.

Advertising rates tend to be higher for video than compared with images and text, according to the Financial Times, and the success of video on both YouTube and Facebook attest to a desire for video content. While YouTube does not break out its daily views, the website’s statistics page claims billions of views each day. At third quarter, Facebook last reported its users watched 8 billion videos on both desktop and mobile. In January, Snapchat reported 7 billion daily video views. And Snapchat is only on mobile.  

There are reporting differences between the companies. Facebook tallies any auto-play as a view as long as it runs for at least three seconds in a person’s newsfeed. Snapchat counts a view only after a user has opened a message. Meaning, people may actually watch and engage with videos more on Snapchat than Facebook.

Geofilters start at $5, which is the approximate price for an eight-hour Friday timeframe in a major city, according to The Verge. But this money only places the filter in the app. Prices increase depending on the time and amount of space the filter covers. Users can choose spaces that are a minimum of 20,000 square feet and a maximum of 5 million square feet.

The geofilter is ideal for credit union branches to use as an engagement tool for visiting members, because they’re a creative, fun way for Snapchat users to document their daily lives and daily travels. And while visiting a credit union bank branch doesn’t compete with a beach vacation in terms of things a user may send or save on Snapchat, taking out a checking account, car loan, or even a mortgage can be memorable experiences that members may choose to commemorate in different ways.

For some, that’s going to be Snapchat. And they’re going to use a filter to give context to that picture or video. Be that filter.

March 1, 2016

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