Snap’s geofilter push Placed front and centre of business model

6 Jun 2017

Snapchat. Image: AlesiaKan/Shutterstock

Snapchat’s owner has had an incredibly busy opening quarter since the company’s IPO earlier this year, with its latest acquisition ensuring more of the same.

In the rush towards a mixed reality future, geofilter real estate is big business for advertisers and social networks.

Snap, the company behind the popular media sharing app Snapchat, views itself as a camera company and, in that regard, it’s targeting mixed reality. Big time.

Future Human

Snap Snapchat Placed Geofilters

For example, last month, it emerged that Snap spent around $1m on Ctrl Me Robotics, a small drone manufacturer based in LA. It has pushed its Spectacles project quite a bit this year, too.

It’s the business of geofilters that is helping Snap turn over money, though. And it’s here that the company has been most active.

Snap acquired Placed this week, a US adtech start-up that measures whether online ads actually lead to store visits and offline purchases.

The company’s offering will allow Snap to validate geofilters, something that’s becoming more and more important to the company.

Geofilters are photo filters based on a location, which can be bought by advertisers. Around $360m of Snap’s $400m revenues come from geofilters.

Snapchat’s filters and stamp tools utilise geofilters, with companies able to create their own filters to work in certain geographic locations. Essentially, they’re advertising and branding on an aspect of media that appears beyond many traditional companies.

In April, Snap acquired the geofilter patent belonging to Instagram competitor Mobli for $7.7m. Mobli, the company that was co-founded by serial entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg, patented the idea of geofilters in 2012.

Placed claims it will work independently of Snap. As part of the deal, more than 100 Placed employees are joining Snap, and will continue to work out of their existing offices in Seattle, New York and Los Angeles, according to Recode.

Placed CEO David Shim will continue to lead the team, and will report directly to Snap’s chief strategy officer, Imran Khan.

Placed reported $149.7m in revenue in Q1 this year, and Bloomberg estimates a full-year revenue of nearly $1bn for 2017.

Snapchat. Image: AlesiaKan/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic