What’s the hottest topic trending in social media marketing? After Augmented Reality and virtual reality, Ephemeral content is the next big thing. In fact, Ephemeral content made it to the Adweek’s list of social media trends which would cause the biggest impact in 2018. Let’s dive deep into what exactly is this terminology and how brands utilize it for effective marketing.

What is Ephemeral Content?

It’s a rich media content usually videos and images that are short-lived and impermanent. They are accessible only for a limited period and disappear within the span of 24 hrs. Snapchat, Instagram stories, Facebook stories are the platforms providing this feature of posting content which self-destructs in a day. Images are preferred for informational content while videos are used for displaying product demos, new functionality of products.

Who Introduced this idea and when?

Snapchat was first to bring this idea of fleeting content to the world of social media in 2012. Back then, people were skeptical about this as marketers were reluctant to invest time and money to produce content that would disappear in a day. Marketing had always been about producing long-lasting content that could stay for longer and establish a long-term relationship with consumers. But what unfolded after 2012 once Snapchat worked on this idea of impermanent content took everyone by surprise.

Snapchat witnessed an unprecedented surge in the number of active users post-2012 which resulted in higher no. of daily views on Ephemeral content. Similar to other platforms Facebook and Instagram also began to consider the potential of Ephemeral content in terms of increasing the traffic. Soon, they followed the footsteps of Snapchat and introduced this feature of posting this form of content. Today Snapchat has over 170 million daily active users which comprise mostly younger generation aging between 16-30 years. This younger generation tends to relate a lot more with ephemeral content which is far more authentic as compared to traditional marketing content.

Potential of Ephemeral content marketing:

With almost 170 million active users on Snapchat, over 250 million on Instagram stories and Billion users on Facebook, this makes an enormous amount of traffic which marketers cannot afford to ignore. Content being short-lived creates a sense of urgency and users don’t want to miss the content. So, they check the apps regularly for keeping themselves updated. This is exactly what works in favor of marketers. They want their audience to regularly visit the post which increases user engagement. This gives them an opportunity to become a part of the daily routine of the users which helps in building a long-term connection.

Brands can focus on creating content which informs the users about something they aren’t aware of and is exclusive which they won’t get to know anywhere else.  They can give their users a peep into what goes on behind the scene, making of an upcoming product, a glimpse of the workforce and working culture. Marketers can not only put up promotional content but content that has a clear call-to-action so that users can identify what the required to do. Users can buy the product or register for an event by a mere flick on the image or video.

With posting Ephemeral content, marketers no longer have to worry about removing content if it doesn’t bring positive feedback as it would by default self-destruct.

Benefits of using Ephemeral content marketing:

  1. FOMO (Fear of missing out): One of the primary reasons for the success of Ephemeral content marketing is FOMO (Fear of missing out) among the users. As the content is accessible only for a limited period, users don’t want to miss out on an exciting offer and there is an eagerness among users to keep themselves updated on what the brands have to offer. Especially among the younger audience, there is an urgency to stay updated on the brands they follow. As a study from Business Insider, users are likely to open the app 18 times a day. Marketers just have to ensure that they create engaging content.
  2. Immediate Response: Content being self-destructive demands users to take quick and impulsive decisions. Be it buying a product to avail discount, ordering a meal using a discount coupon or booking flight tickets during the time-limited sale, the decision is usually immediate. Marketers play smart and focus on displaying contents which are more likely to entice users to perform call for action.
  3. Higher User Engagement: Ephemeral content brings more user engagement as compared to traditional content. Visual content and videos are far more engaging than text and images. Marketers can promote location sensitive events and offer discounts of stores which are near to the users by utilizing the geo-filter feature in snapchat. Geo-filter lets marketer track the location of the users. Also, the content is easily accessible via QR codes and Snapcodes which can be scanned via a mobile camera. This is an effective source for lead generation and higher click-through rate.
  4. Content creation by users: Brands can let users create their own content. Asking users to submit a logo for the new product or asking for feedback on favorite flavor brings in higher user involvement and build the trust among the consumers. They feel their opinion is being valued by the brand.

What can businesses do to gain the most out of Ephemeral Content Marketing?

  • Brands must adopt the approach of storytelling, which must be exciting and engaging. Users might view all stories in one go, so they must be cohesive and linked to each other in some way.
  • Influencers can play a key role in boosting brand awareness. Find out loyal brand users and fans who promote your brand via their posts.
  • Brands can tag followers in their content which would help in forming a stronger connection.
  • Marketers need to think out of the box while creating content and must show up something which users don’t get to see anywhere else. Content must be engaging and must focus on involving as many viewers as possible.

Ephemeral and permanent social networks

The main differences that exist between the social networks that publish ephemerally and those that publish permanently are based on:

  • The amount of content that is published: in an ephemeral social network much more content is published than in the permanent ones. This is because we do not want to tire our followers with a daily bombardment of images. On the other hand, the stories that are published in the profiles and that are seen by a voluntary act, are not so heavy.
  • The quality of the published content: the content that is uploaded to permanent social networks is more careful since it will be more important. On the other hand, what is published in the ephemeral ones is a more natural and authentic content, it is usually a trivial content that will be lost after 24 hours of publication and only its memory will remain in the mind of the audience.

Another thing that differentiates the ephemeral content of the permanent is its narrative nature, which makes the progression of the publications more playful and allows the emotions to be explored based on the storytelling approach used in communication. The posts posted in the feed represent specific moments that will remain in your profile forever. This concept of expiration also makes users feel more creative and uninhibited by publishing outdated content in their profiles.

This duality that bases its relationship on the time factor, shows a series of tensions between the fleeting and the perennial, between the ephemeral and the lasting that glimpses the advantages of this new system of communicational exchange.

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