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Why your brand should adopt an ephemeral content strategy

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 21 Dec, 2017
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For humans, seemingly, current attention span is no more than eight seconds. That’s less than that of a goldfish!

Marketers have felt the effects of this change considerably, and audiences’ shrinking attention span presents several challenges.

Earlier, all brands needed to do was capture the interest of their audience for a couple of seconds, and they would get half the job done.

Now, they would have to evolve if they wanted their businesses to succeed. And it was this drive for survival that led to the creation of ephemeral content marketing.

Never Heard of “Ephemeral Content Marketing”?

This might be the first time you’ve come across this term, but it surely won’t be your last.

One of the biggest social media trends of this year and into 2018, ephemeral content marketing is a new, aggressive form of marketing that includes anything and everything with a limited life cycle.

In some cases, the content may be available for a period of 24 hours prior to disappearing entirely.

What’s Appealing About Ephemeral Content?

Ever seen content, like images, videos, or messages disappear from your mind-space after a set period of time? That forms the basis of ephemeral content marketing. Now, a lot of you might be wondering about the appeal of this sort of content.

Well, for starters, it captures the zeitgeist of our times – the much-coveted “live” effect. So, conversations that take place through the medium of ephemeral media are supposed to be unrecorded, unedited, spontaneous, and immediate. So, this kind of marketing comes quite close to replicating face-to-face, direct interactions.

Another important reason why ephemeral media makes sense is the advantage it provides to marketers themselves.

Now, they no longer have to worry about any kind of negative or embarrassing occurrences on social media, nor do they have to deal with the hassle of removing permanent comments.

What Makes Ephemeral Content Tick?

Ephemeral content can benefit both brands and consumers. Therefore, it is not surprising to see various social networks, like Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and Messenger Day embracing the idea of distributing short-lived content wholeheartedly.

Another factor that contributes to the popularity of ephemeral content is its newness. Younger users find it novel and exciting, as can be evidenced from their interest in ephemeral content, such as Snapchat Stories and live streaming videos.

But is there more to ephemeral than meets the eye, and should you be investing is this kind of marketing strategy?

Consider this situation – you want to build up a sizeable online presence for your brand, and are posting regularly for that reason. However, you are failing to get the necessary engagement from your followers.

Why not repurpose some of that content for a smart momentary marketing tactic? Probably something like how GE shared old and forgotten Bill Nye videos on Snapchat.

That’s just one of the hundreds of ephemeral marketing tactics. Here’s more on how it works.

Authentic Content

In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with sleek marketing campaigns meant to encourage them to buy the services and products of a particular company, ephemeral content is a refreshing new means of marketing.

A brand that resorts to the marketing of ephemeral content will put out raw images and clips that present the company in a new light – one that differs considerably from mainstream marketing methods.

The result? It creates a sense of excitement among the buyers and gains their trust. Lead nurturing is also a bonus.

The more transparent you are with your buyers, the longer they will stick with your brand, and become more involved than the average consumer. Ephemeral content marketing can help you achieve all that.

Greater Engagement

Research suggests that visual content has a 40x higher chance of being shared by people on social media platforms than other kinds of content. Plus, the engagement rate is higher as well.

Hence, companies like Snapchat have begun to offer services where users can create geofilters for their brands to host location and time-sensitive events.

For instance, Salesforce uses geofilters for its special events such as World Tours and Dreamforce, motivating visitors to picture them on Snapchat and share with friends.

This sort of service does not cost a lot of money but it provides everyone in a specific location to place a filter over their snaps and promote a certain event for a limited time. Not only does this boost organic web traffic, but it improves your chances of conversions as well.

Netflix promoted its political drama 'House of Cards' in an innovative manner, putting up billboards in France, with characters of the drama's characters, and inviting passersby to use Snapchat and 'face swap' with them.

The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) Effect

Nobody wants to be left out of the latest trends, not even consumers. And ephemeral content is the perfect way for brands to use this fear to their advantage.

You can use this marketing to get your potential buyers to tune in at a particular time or even on a frequent basis.

Marketers who embark on ephemeral content marketing campaigns need to come up with fresh, interesting content. Otherwise, it becomes challenging for them to stay on top of their game while curating content for various channels because they are no longer able to recycle content like before.

Brands must now host Q&A sessions, offer behind-the-scenes looks at their products and services, and provide access to how-to’s to engage with their customers on social media.

There are virtually limitless options for a marketer to engage with their audience in a way that is different from a print or promotional ad.

Offer Your Customers a Peek Behind the Curtain

Ephemeral content marketing is a simple yet elegant method for organizations to preview upcoming products or projects, showcase behind-the-scenes content, offer promotions, and host events.

They can also hold live competitions or events over social media that encourage audience participation. And fans are usually willing to respond to this kind of call-to-action and interact with the company by sending in their videos, images, or details.

Thus, the integration of marketing and technology pays off for the brand. NBA offers behind the curtain views to promote and expand viewership.


Close to 77% of US adults have their own smartphone, and this number is gradually increasing as the age bracket gets closer to college age. You can take advantage of this growing consumer base without resorting to any fancy video editing software or camera equipment.

All you need is a solid ephemeral content marketing strategy. Your business can distribute Snapcodes to audience to enable them to access unique content on your business’ Snapchat profile by simply scanning the code using their phone camera.

Easier Access

According to recent analytics, people prefer small screens like tablets and mobiles over larger ones like desktops due to their convenience and snappiness.

And ephemeral content marketing strategies can be presented as a continuous stream of raw content on these small screens to appeal to the sensibilities of audiences who have been put off by polished and curated material.

So, ephemeral content marketing is capable of taking the customers on a journey, from the production process to the finished product.

What Kind of Payoff Can Businesses Expect?

Believe it or not, ephemeral content marketing results in some of the highest online engagement rates. This might be due to the fact that the content is available to the users for a limited period of time, and they want to get in on the action before it is gone.

The urgency to view and experience the content before its disappearance is what compels people to engage with it and give it their attention like never before.

Also, ephemeral content adds a certain level of humanity to a particular brand since it shares the common tribulations and trials in an endearing, authentic format.

B2B brands have always struggled with this in the past, but ephemeral content marketing strategies might just be the answer needed to solidify the relationship between the creator and the customer.

Final Thoughts

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. Because each time that users view your content, they automatically become engaged.

Users have warmed up to the idea of time-sensitive content and are becoming engaged with increasing frequency.

Ephemeral content marketing strategy can be a game changer for the industry, and there’s no doubt that it is going to be around for the foreseeable future. And brands should take the initiative to grow accordingly and take advantage of this opportunity.

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By Expert commentator

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Ephemeral content strategy

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