Ephemeral Content: What It Is and What Opportunities It Can Offer Your Brand


The fear of missing out (FOMO) affects nearly everyone, especially in the digital age, when information is delivered constantly and almost instantaneously. Where most marketing efforts are concerned with creating content that generates engagement over a long period of time, ephemeral content is as short-lived as it comes.

It is important to understand why this type of content has gained such popularity and how it will keep growing in 2021 and beyond. But before that, let’s take an in-depth look into what ephemeral content is.

What is Ephemeral Content?

Ephemeral content is a form of content that includes anything and everything with a limited lifecycle. In some cases, the content may be available for 24 hours before disappearing entirely. Learning Hub defines ephemeral content as any visual content, video, or photo, that has a brief lifespan before automatically disappearing. It might take the form of stories on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.

Source: Giphy

What makes ephemeral content tick?

With the number of mobile users growing substantially over the years, ephemeral content is becoming even more popular. Since it has the “FOMO-effect”, it drives users to act faster. As more and more people gravitate to both creating and consuming this type of content, brands have also jumped on the bandwagon. There are many reasons why people enjoy engaging with short-lived content:

  • Humanises the Brand – Ephemeral content is one of the best content marketing strategies to showcase brand authenticity while humanising it at the same time.
  • Increases User Engagement – Ephemeral content helps elicit an immediate response through stories that create a sense of urgency, ultimately widening the brand’s reach. This authenticity helps build genuine, personal relationships between brands and their audiences – making it a magnet for engagement.
  • Boosts Loyalty and Trust – By using short-lived social media posts, you are providing authentic, personal content. This makes your brand feel more human (as mentioned above) which leads to more customer trust.

Related content: Trends shaping social media marketing: All you need to know

Still not convinced? Let’s zero in on the numbers:

  • 86% of people consider authenticity as an important element in their decision to support brands.
  • With Snapchat and Instagram Stories’ success boasting 400 million daily users, is just another solidifying seal of approval that ephemeral content works.

Speaking of which …

Statistics also prove that short-lived content keeps people more engaged and coming back for more. Plus, social media platforms are constantly investing in new and updated features to increase user engagement. Thus, no matter your business size and niche, short-lived content can help you get to the next level if done right.

But why invest in a marketing strategy that only lasts for 24 hours?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said ephemeral content is the future of social media. “Today we already see that private messaging, ephemeral stories, and small groups are by far the fastest-growing areas of online communication.” A brand that resorts to the marketing of ephemeral content will promote images and videos that represent the company in a new light – one that differs considerably from mainstream marketing methods. The result? It creates a sense of excitement among customers while gaining their trust at the same time. Lead nurturing is also a bonus.

Case in point:

Ephemeral content can be used for special offers. For instance, Coca-Cola added a World Cup geo filter after the Belgium Red Devil win on Snapchat stories – connecting Belgian teens and young adults. It gained almost 5 million impressions and reached over 1 million accounts.

Source: ForBusiness

It isn’t enough to simply pick up the strategy and run. You need to know how you’re going to execute it and maintain the momentum. In the era of sponsored posts and endorsements, short-lived content feels more authentic, so it helps brands gain trust. In other words, authentic content keeps you one step ahead. But is there more to ephemeral content that meets the eye, and should you be investing in this kind of marketing strategy?

Ephemeral content encourages you to continue tapping on the next one, and the next one, and – you guessed it – the next one. Next thing you know, you have been watching stories for 20 minutes. As far as brands are concerned, the fact that audiences know ephemeral content can only be viewed once seems to inspire greater focus. Blink and you’ll miss it – quite literally.

Don’t miss the trend!

We have entered an engagement economy. When Bill Gates said that “Content is King”, he didn’t mean that content would increase revenue. The most valuable commodity online today is attention and getting a customer’s attention time and time again is the holy grail for digital marketers.

While ephemeral content may pose a more challenging marketing strategy due to the need for creating high-quality content regularly, the payoff can be tremendous. They say nothing lasts forever, and that may be true of your social media content… but it doesn’t have to be true for your brand.

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