Ephemeral content is social media content that is only available for short periods of time. For example, TikTok, Instagram Stories and SnapChat.

Ephemeral (adj.) lasting for only a short time

What is Ephemeral Marketing?

Short-lived stories are a path to increased engagement. Ephemeral content – which refers to posts/ messages that vanish within 24 hours – was first introduced by Snapchat in 2013. Since then, Snap has grown to 200 million users and ephemeral content has been exploding in popularity. Today, we see the widespread use of Stories, which have become key features on both Facebook and Instagram. With all the hype, Whatsapp is now testing disappearing messages as well.

So, the question marketers should be asking is, “Why is this trend important and how should we respond?”

The power of story-telling and engagement:

The reason that ephemeral content is important in social media marketing, is because it has had a profound effect on user engagement. It’s roughly doubled the amount of time people spend on Instagram. This is partly due to the “FOMO” factor, with users checking in more frequently to avoid being left out.

Stories are also a great way to boost engagement via interactivity and user-generated content. This can be accomplished with branded filters, geofilters, polls and live-stream videos allow brands to connect with an audience on a more candid level – perfect for startups and small business. Stories carry the additional benefit of a brighter spotlight. Rather than being buried among your other posts, stories are pinned at the top of the page. Given this high-visibility, you’ll want to ensure you’re creating stories that truly resonate. The key here is authenticity. Perfectionism is losing its appeal so we would recommend focusing on telling your brand’s story from a genuine perspective.

How much ephemeral content should we be sharing?

Quantity vs. quality is always on an ongoing balance in social media. You need to be present regularly but you also don’t want to bore your consumers. Content can become more repetitive in ephemeral stories than on the IG grid as there is only so much product imagery one can share and still find interesting – especially when yo can be hearing someone else talk directly which generally is more compelling. We explain how important it is to be authentic in our Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media post and the same principles apply to ephemeral content. Refer to your digital strategy and use stories as an extension of your brand values rather than a strict format that is heavily constructed.

We hope this post helps to explain the relevance and growing importance of ephemeral content. For more info on social media trends, keep reading our blog.