Ephemeral or short-lived content is rich media, primarily images and videos, that are only accessible for a brief period.
As a marketing strategy, it is temporary content that takes advantage of the fear of missing out (FOMO) and is designed to elicit an immediate response from the user.
Short-lived content is nothing new.
Temporary material – and the brief appearance and disappearance of content –is what sustains the traffic of most social media platforms.
Online social platforms are ephemeral in one of two senses.
Either the content itself appears briefly and then disappears, as is the case with Facebook and Instagram Stories or Snapchat – or, our attention to it is ephemeral. We watch content; laugh, cry or complain – then move on, never to return.
The Goal of Short-lived Content Marketing
There are two primary marketing goals when it comes to ephemeral content.
Elicit an Immediate Response
Perhaps the most obvious goal is to elicit an immediate response from the user or viewer.
The immediate goal may be for the user to make a quick purchasing decision or quick signup.
It may also be for the user to make the content viral through liking, sharing, or reacting in some other way that is accessible and viewable by others.
The short-term nature of ephemeral content creates a sense of urgency that’s fueled by the fear of missing out (FOMO).
Increase User Engagement
Short-lived content not only allows for the business to impress its product or service upon the user but also allows the user to engage in the brand on a more personal level.
Short-lived content as a content marketing strategy also encourages user-generated content (UGC).
Whether it’s the ability to edit and manipulate images, or an invitation to create a brand-related image or story, ephemeral marketing strategies invite the user to act on a brand’s behalf.
The Benefits of Short-lived Content
Reach Wider Audiences
Everyday users are interacting with stories from Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram.
With Instagram alone, you have more than 200 million people engaging in its stories platform each month.
Consider the potential here for a much wider audience who could be engaging with you or your client.
Instagram stories are a little over a year old and are already attracting an additional 50 million users over and above that of Snapchat per month.
Actively posting single-story items on Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook stories are likely to increase your overall reach – especially if they are user-generated stories.
This style of ephemeral content is incredibly popular with the millennial demographic.
Increase Content Volume
A well-crafted ephemeral content strategy will enable you to create a greater amount of content with less effort and lower overheads (depending on the size of your company and your campaign).
Using images and rich media such as video, you can get your story in front of your audience quickly.
Facebook stories, for example, enable you to engage with your audience as part of an unbroken narrative.
Stories are treated as a distinct channel or platform from your profile and feed. And so you’re able to share a continuous stream of visual media without interfering with your newsfeed.
Once you develop a visual concept for your ephemeral content strategy, preparing and creating the material as well as the time of distribution becomes streamlined and enables you to create a lot more content than you would if you were just posting informative articles from week to week.
Your client’s target market expects transparency. In order for your client to maintain it’s brand likeability and visibility, it needs to build a solid reputation.
One of the ways you can boost brand loyalty with ephemeral content is by inviting them in, through audio and video, to the inner workings of your business.
An ephemeral content campaign can be developed in such a way as to allow your audience greater insight into your client’s company culture via social media stories.
Through images and videos, you can increase loyalty by allowing your target market to see the everyday social, commercial business interactions and processes that are going on in your client’s company.
Your target audience is savvy. They demand transparency and expect to see it – especially through social media channels.
Allowing your audience to witness the culture of your company is a great way to boost brand loyalty and commitment.
Instagram and Facebook stories are the perfect way to show off the folks who work behind the scenes and make the magic happens in your business or share a live event.
Platforms You Can Use for Short-lived Content
The major players in the ephemeral content space right now are:
- Instagram Stories
- Facebook Stories
Advantages of Short-lived Content
Short-lived content can bring quick results if you have some genuine news.
Short-lived or Microcontent can be a great way for a startup to introduce a new service or product in a way that captures the imagination of a wider audience – an audience that might otherwise have been overlooked.
Like all marketing strategies, ephemeral content will have limitations as well as advantages.
It isn’t enough to simply pick up the strategy and run.
You need to know how you’re going to execute that strategy in your client’s niche – and how you are going to maintain the momentum that such marketing campaigns can build.