You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Snapchat makes it easier to create its for-profit geofilters

USA TODAY USA TODAY 31/08/2016 Jefferson Graham

Communications app Snapchat is making the creation of its popular geofilters easier.

The geofilters -- personalized photo frames that go over your image via augmented reality -- are growing rapidly. Tuesday, Snapchat said its users are viewing them over 1 billion times daily, double the previous rate of 500 million it disclosed earlier this summer.

Making the the geofilters required knowledge and/or access to imaging software like Adobe’s Photoshop or Illustrator.

Now, Snapchat will offer customizable templates to design geofilters for birthdays, weddings and other celebrations, with up to six offerings per category.

Geofilters, which some have called the “new hashtag,” are a way to personalize your images, and make them stand out. Many Snapchat users have been using them for weddings, birthday and anniversaries, and the like. Unlike hashtags, geofilters are not searchable--they are visible only to people within a specific area known as a "geofence," for a limited period of time, say at a party in a park.

One teen in Manhattan Beach, Megan Forbes, used a geofilter to ask her boyfriend to a school prom, via a geofence in her neighborhood. 

“I like how it can add more to an event,” Forbes, 18, told USA TODAY recently.  "It adds a little personality, too.”

The geofilters are a for-profit enterprise for Snapchat, which looks to bring in $1 billion in revenue by 2017, according to Tech Crunch.

The geofilters, which are available on Snapchat's website, start at $5, depending on how large an area they will be displayed in, and for how long.

The process begins by choosing a geofilter and designing it, then choosing the geofence area and paying for it. Snapchat approves the design (even with the new tools) and users await confirmation, usually within 24 hours.

A cottage industry has emerged, with businesses offering to help consumers create geofilters.

Andrew Lee, the founder of Buycustomgeofilters.com isn’t concerned about Snapchat’s moves.

“The risk is that it won’t be that special or unique,” he says of the Snapchat templates. “This is a generic template that will look like everyone else’s geofilters. There will still be a big market for us.”

The devotion to images and sharing visuals is what sets Snapchat apart from rivals like Facebook Messenger.

“We’re like a camera company,” Bryan Kim, manager of Snapchat’s strategy group recently told eMarketer. “And we encourage creativity, which is why there are so many creative tools on our platform—doodles, geofilters, stickers and lenses.”

The market research firm projects that at least 58.6 million smartphone users in the U.S. or 28.3% of smartphone users, will use Snapchat at least once per month.

Snapchat announced several other new moves Tuesday:

--Captions: Snapchatters have new tools to add bigger captions to photos. “Animate big captions on top of your Snaps! Just press and hold to pin a big caption on a video Snap,” says Snapchat.

--A new way to use the Lenses feature, which brings in augmented reality features to your face, with mustaches, beards and funny eyebrows. To use them, now you tape your face once. Previously, you had to press and hold.

More From USA TODAY

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon