Social media is an exciting and fast-paced sector both from the development of new platforms and services to the user trends seen on a daily basis. Ephemeral content emerged as a dynamic and engaging form of communication in recent years, allowing users to post temporary content often labelled as ‘Stories’, which typically last 24 hours and vanish after being viewed. It’s now a common feature across almost all of the major social media platforms, where we’ve even seen music platform Spotify release its own unique take on Stories in the form of Spotify Clips. Before jumping into our top 5 benefits of ephemeral content, I think it’s worth looking back on where it all started.
Origins of Ephemeral Content
The history of ephemeral content can be traced back to the emergence of Snapchat, which pioneered the concept of sending content that vanishes after viewing in 2011, before adding the ‘Stories’ feature we’re used to seeing today in 2013. The departure from permanent social media posts marked a significant shift in content sharing. Snapchat’s ephemeral content format gained popularity among younger demographics, who appreciated the real-time and spontaneous nature of the platform.
Recognising the appeal and potential of ephemeral content, other social media platforms started to incorporate similar features into their own platforms. Instagram introduced Instagram Stories in 2016, which replicated the core concept of Snapchat’s disappearing content, and the immense user count of Instagram and integration with Facebook gave Stories widespread reach and adoption. Now we’ve covered the background, let’s jump into our top 5 benefits of ephemeral content…
1) Encourages Authenticity
The fleeting nature of ephemeral content encourages businesses to share unfiltered, spontaneous moments, allowing them to create a genuine connection with their audience. By showcasing behind-the-scenes glimpses, product demonstrations, or live events, it’s possible to humanise your brand. This is becoming an increasingly important aspect to consumers in 2023 with the surge of AI technology, as people want to engage with people. Behind The Scenes (BTS) content is a particularly effective form of authenticity that lends itself perfectly to being shared on Stories, as the curiosity within our human-nature instantly gets us engaged with BTS content, especially when it’s a brand we’re particularly attached to.
2) Boosts FOMO
The temporary nature of ephemeral content creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency. Viewers know that they have a limited time to consume the content before it disappears, which can generate a fear of missing out. This fear drives users to actively engage with your content and ensures higher visibility. By leveraging ephemeral content for limited-time offers, flash sales, or time-sensitive promotions, you can vastly increase click-through rates on your content. FOMO is something everybody experiences, often to quite significant degrees, so it becomes a powerful tool in our digital marketing strategies.
3) Enables Creative Storytelling
Ephemeral content encourages creativity with various content formats, as users and brands can experiment more with their delivery. With features like stickers, filters, and augmented reality effects, you can enhance your storytelling capabilities and captivate your audience. From engaging quizzes to immersive product demonstrations and tutorials, ephemeral content allows you to deliver diverse and interactive experiences that resonate with your audience’s preferences. It also provides an opportunity to repurpose existing content in a more engaging and dynamic format.
4) Insights Into Our Audience
Ephemeral content can be an invaluable tool for gathering audience insights and feedback. Instagram polls allow you to directly engage with your followers and collect valuable data on their thoughts and preferences. You can then leverage this information to better understand your audience’s interests to refine your marketing strategies accordingly. The best information is that which comes directly from your audience, and sometimes there’s no shame in asking! If you’re a digital marketing agency wanting to discover which channels your audience use most, simply ask on your story with a basic poll and gain highly valuable information.
3) Analytics & Measurable Results
At number 5 for our benefits of ephemeral content is the analytics that are now accessible to marketers. Social media platforms have built-in analytics specifically tailored for Stories, which provide insights for valuable metrics such as views, engagement, and conversions. With this, you can measure the effectiveness of your campaigns by analysing engagement, identifying trends and making data-driven decisions to maximise the effectiveness of your content.
Ephemeral content offers significant benefits for businesses and brands with social media strategies. By embracing the temporary and engaging nature of ephemeral content, you can foster authenticity, drive engagement, and create a sense of urgency among your audience. Leverage this dynamic format to deliver creative storytelling, gather audience insights, and measure your campaign’s success. As the social media landscape continues to evolve, embracing ephemeral content can be a powerful tool in connecting with your audience and staying ahead in the digital marketing game.
Inflowing is a B2B marketing agency. We help B2B organisations do meaningful things with marketing. Whether that’s getting more leads, more visibility, or supporting their sales teams.
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