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Snapchat advertisers can now track whether custom geofilters get you to buy their product

Photo by Amelia Krales / The Verge

I’ve always wondered why brands create sponsored geofilters on Snapchat. Do people use them? If they do, does the brand messaging actually seep into our brains? It looks like Snap is now giving advertisers a better idea of how effective their ads are at getting people to visit a specific store or see a movie with a “Snap to Store” tool that’ll help track just that.

Snap to Store initially launched for select companies, including Wendy’s, 7-Eleven, and Paramount Pictures. It lets advertisers know where users go after viewing a sponsored location-based ad. Snap explains that Wendy’s, for example, sponsored a geofilter for its jalapeño chicken sandwich that resulted in more than 42,000 people visiting the fast food restaurant over the week. The company explains the technological process in its S-1 filing.


Snap tracks not only the user who took a photo with a sponsored geofilter but also which friends saw that photo and subsequently visited the store. The tool relies on users’ location data and a partnership with Foursquare to power its geofilters and figure out where users are at a given time.


Snap to Store might sound a little creepy to you, unless you’re oddly aware of how many apps track not only your location but also have access to your camera, mic, and photos.

In exchange for free apps, you often have to give companies something in return, like personal data. Snap does collect location data, but not in the background. So if you visited a Wendy’s but didn’t open the app while in the restaurant, it can’t figure out your location or convert that visit into a win for Wendy’s. You can opt out of location sharing through your settings or app permission on iOS, and disable “smart ads,” too, which are tailored to you based off what ads you’ve viewed or used. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to stop being tracked, you won’t be able to use those filters. Tough choices.