The Rise of Ephemeral Content and Why Your Brand Should Care

2018/04/06 05:14

A closer look at ephemeral content and why it should form part of your 2018 content marketing strategy.

How users consume content is changing every year and with new social media platforms and apps cropping up all the time, consumer content preferences are changing on a regular basis too.

Ephemeral content is one of the latest content trends to hit the online world and is very quickly becoming one of the most popular.Ephemeral content is usually images and videos that are only available for a short period of time, with Snapchat and Instagram currently being the two most popular platforms for this type of content.

Snapchat currently has over 150 million users  and sees over 10 billion daily video views. Instagram has a massive audience of 500 million daily active users and continues to grow every single month. Both these platforms use a similar approach in terms of ephemeral content by encouraging users to record and share live videos and images in the form of stories. These stories are only available for 24 hours before they are removed forever.

Why ephemeral content works so well


FOMO aka the fear of missing out is the where the power of ephemeral content lies.

The reality is that nobody wants to miss out and when users are only able to access content for a short period of time, it automatically becomes more enticing and engagement levels shoot up. While evergreen content still has its place, the demand for content that offers instant gratification and an inside look has increased dramatically since Snapchat launched in 2011.


Ephemeral content is also more personalised, something that today’s online users prefer when it comes to the content they consume and the brands they engage with. A report by Brookings showed that 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising, which is why so many brands have had to adapt and change their approach by taking a more personalised, content-orientated route. People prefer content that is relevant to them and is based on user personas, which is why ephemeral content is so effective.

Mobile first

Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones so any additional efforts that your brand can make to be present on apps and mobile platforms will enhance your reach and increase your engagement levels.

Tips for producing ephemeral content

Now that you have a better understanding of ephemeral content and how it can help your brand better cater to the content requirements of your online audience, here are a few tips for creating this type of content and incorporating it into your content marketing strategy.

Have a solid plan in place

Even though you will be creating temporary content, you will still need to have a plan in place. This means knowing what content you want to create, measuring your engagement levels and continuously optimising as you go along. Even ephemeral content requires an in-depth and detailed editorial calendar.

Understand your audience & your platforms

It’s important to only use platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram if you know that your audience is active on them, which is why it’s best to have a thorough understanding of your target audience before you start generating this type of content. Along with knowing your audience inside and out, make sure that you also have a thorough understanding of how apps such as Snapchat and Instagram work and what you can do to make the most of your account and your content.

Keep storytelling in mind

Structure is incredibly important when it comes to using apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. A mistake that many brands make is to post their stories too far apart. Most users are most likely going to watch all of your stories in one sitting so it’s best to create one coherent story at once for the best results.

Change it up

Since you can use both videos and stills to create stories, change it up and get creative so that your fans and followers can always look forward to something new and exciting when they open up one of your stories or posts. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your promotions and to create a wide variety of content that includes tutorials, influencer content, industry tips and behind the scenes videos.

Don’t forget the call to action

While producing killer content is all good and well, the point is still to get more people to click through to a landing page so that they can convert, so don’t forget to include a call to action and a link so that you can drive more traffic to your mobile website or app.

Treat your customers like friends

Always keep authenticity as the base of your content. When customers engage with your content they should feel as if they are watching a friend’s story and aren’t being sold to by a brand.  Don’t use ephemeral content to punt your products or services as it will fall on deaf ears.

A little inspiration

To give you an idea of how brands have used ephemeral content to promote themselves, here are a few inspiring examples.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Snapchat filter was viewed 224 million times and helped boost their sales dramatically during that period.

Beyond Yoga

ephemeral content sample

Beyond Yoga is an apparel brand that used an Instagram story to show users what their gear looks like on a real woman while she goes through an actual yoga routine.

Terminator: Genisys

In order to promote the latest Terminator movie, a Snapchat filter was created that allowed users to look like the Terminator. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted the filter, which ended up receiving 3,000 shares and 55,000 likes.


Doggie interviews are what BarkBox used in an Instagram story to promote a monthly subscription box service for dog toys, treats, and goodies.

When it comes to ephemeral content, the possibilities are truly endless. Apps such as Snapchat and Instagram are now a regular part of people’s daily internet usage; offering brands an exceptionally powerful way to reach their customers using unique content.

A thorough understanding of your target audience, proper planning, and some creative thinking is all that’s required to make this type of content work for your brand. It may take some time for you to really find a mix and an approach that works for your brand but once you do, you can surely expect a dramatic increase in your engagement levels and hopefully your turnover too.

Will 2018 be the first year that your brand uses apps such as Snapchat or Instagram for promotional purposes?