Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral Content


What is ephemeral content?

Ephemeral content is any form of photo or video content that disappears after a certain period of time. The main examples are Facebook, Instagram stories, Snapchat and more recently TikTok. Given its limited lifespan, audiences are compelled to engage with content that vanishes in 24 hours encouraging much faster response rates.

Why has it grown in popularity?

There’s now an abundance of evidence to suggest that the future of social media lies with short-lived content. When it comes to the consumption of content, people’s attention spans are short and their engagement with content is changing. This supports the growth of Stories on account of their short and engaging qualities keeping users hooked.

The mobile-friendly nature of platforms used for Stories lend themselves perfectly to vertical video, making it easy and cost effective to implement. Ephemeral content tends to have an ‘off-the-cuff’ human touch, meaning there is a strong sense of authenticity being communicated.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is another reason why users find themselves checking back again and again for the latest posts.

increase instagram ephemeral content stories growth chartNumber of daily active Instagram Stories users from October 2016 to January 2019 – Source: Statista

64% of marketers either already have incorporated Instagram Stories into their strategies or plan to.

Ephemeral content tips

Have a plan – As with any part of your marketing strategy there should be an outlined plan of action. If you’ve already taken the time to outline your key target personas, don’t forget to approach your creation of Stories with the same audience in mind. With only ‘opens’ as a measurement tool, you’ll need to be prepared to give a good deal of attention to any engagement you get – and be prepared to respond to comments and likes.

Don’t forget to tell stories – Post often to avoid stories that are too far apart and disconnected from one another. Use a combination of video and stills, and make use of influencers.

Try new things – The very nature of ephemeral content means that within 24hrs your post will have disappeared. This gives brands something of a license to experiment with different ideas. Consider using product demo, tutorials, new product launches, a look behind the scenes or a flash sale.

Drive traffic – Drive traffic to your website using direct links – these can be delivered verbally, with text, link in bio or using swipe up functionality on Instagram. For more ideas, see our Instragram stories tips.

In 2019 Instagram's story features had 500 million daily active users.

What it means for brands in 2020

Ephemeral content is shaping the future of social media. If not already doing so, it’s time to experiment with Stories to diversify content with authenticity, encourage user generated content and generate increased engagement. Don’t be put off using content that disappears quickly, as it can very rapidly deliver a meaningful response.

Looking for more social media tips in 2020? We’re looking at all aspects of digital marketing in our 2020 Digital Vision series.