Visitors come to Sky Zone parks for all kinds of reasons -- to play trampoline with friends, bounce high into the sky and slam dunk basketballs, do trampoline tricks or simply jump up and down -- but all of these activities have one thing in common: they look great on dodgeballSnapchat.
That is why a few of Sky Zone's trampoline parks begin buying Snapchat on-demand geofilters last year. These geofilters are custom templates that you can use to adorn any photo or video you shoot on Snapchat, giving your friends a better idea of where you are in the world. If you visited the Sky Zones in Fort Wayne or Mishawaka, Indiana, or the park in Holland, Ohio, you could jump, snap and edit your video with a geofilter customized specifically for that location.
"When guests come to the park, they're exuberant. They're having fun. They're in the moment," said Josh Cole, chief marketing officer at Sky Zone Franchise Group. "When they take pictures of themselves and their friends and share it, they're sharing the most authentic emotions and experiences that you can capture."
For Sky Zone, these geofilters were perfect for keeping guests happy, except for one caveat: there was no simple way to buy, create and manage geofilters across the company's 100 U.S. locations.
That is why Snap Inc. recently invited Sky Zone to be one of the first company's to try out a new feature called annual On-Demand Geofilters. This is a new Snapchat product that has been made specifically for businesses that would be interested in paying in bulk for and easily managing geofilters across multiple locations.
"This is just one more way that we can layer something on top of the experience of jumping on top of a trampoline to make it fun and engaging," said Cole, whose company will start using the annual On-Demand Geofilters in March. "It matches with what a lot of our guests are doing anyway. It's natural for them to use filters."
Annual On-Demand Geofilters come just as Snap is working to impress Wall Street investors ahead of its debut on the public stock market as soon as next month. Snap has already shown its ability to quickly grow revenue thanks in large part to a burgeoning advertising business. That business model helped Snap's revenue leap 585 percent from nearly $59 million in 2015 to more than $404 million last year.
Already, Snap has a sales team that helps small and medium-size businesses learn about and purchase on-demand geofilters, according to the company's S-1 filing. With annual On-Demand Geofilters, Snap is aiming to turn that revenue stream into a torrent.
When Snapchat first introduced geofilters in 2014, the feature allowed users to edit their snaps with filters customized to whatever city they were in. Later, the company created a way for users to design and submit their own geofilters for whatever city or town they lived in.
The company finally turned the feature into a product last year when it announced On-Demand Geofilters. That allowed users and businesses to create and purchase their very own custom geofilters for any occasion or location. If you paid $5, you could get a custom geofilter for up to 30 days to cover any location in the world between 20,000 and 5 million square feet. This made On-Demand Geofilters useful for individuals planning parties, weddings or other events. These days, more than a billion Snaps with geofilters are viewed each day on Snapchat, according to the company's S-1 filing.
"We know that teenagers are coming to the park and are snapping and sharing already, whether we have these filters or not," Cole said. "What this allows us to do is have some more brand presence in their experience."
On-Demand Geofilters attracted some businesses, but it wasn't the perfect solution for many customers. For a spread-out company like Sky Zone, for example, each of its locations was forced to create a Snapchat account and manage geofilters on its own, which was fine for some Sky Zone franchise owners but too much of a time suck or technical challenge for others.
"A lot of our franchise partners just aren't familiar with this kind of thing," Cole said. "It allows us to extend out these filters to more parks that otherwise wouldn't have had it, and it makes it really easy for them."
With annual On-Demand Geofilters, Snap is addressing this market. Using this feature, Sky Zone is able to roll out new custom geofilters to all of its American locations whenever it wants and through a single Snapchat account. The trampoline park company can easily create a new geofilter, swap it in and distribute it to visitors at its parks. Sky Zone's social media department handles this feature and is able to analyze the data behind Sky Zone's custom geofilters. If usage of Sky Zone's geofilter starts to dwindle, the social media manager will know that it is time to create a new one.
Annual On-Demand Geofilters are brand new, but Snap is hoping to sign up more businesses. Cole said this kind of product is well suited to businesses with multiple locations where users are already taking and sending lots of snaps to their friends. This means anywhere like arcades, malls, restaurants, bowling alleys, skating rinks, etc.
"It makes sense for almost any large multi-unit business where the guests are already taking a lot of snaps," Cole said. "The existence of a filter won't make someone who wasn't going to snap snap, but it augments or enhances the snaps of the people who are doing it."
For Snap, the company gets a chunk of revenue for each company that signs up for annual On-Demand Geofilters. For companies like SkyZone, meanwhile, it allows them to save money and more easily manage their geofilters. Annual On-Demand Geofilters start at a few hundred dollars per year for small businesses.
"This national program allows us to even bring those costs down lower," Cole said. "It's a whole year, seven days a week, across all these venues. It works out to be really cost effective."