Ephemeral marketing refers to using content that is only available for a certain period of time. This style was first introduced by Snapchat in 2011 and has grown into one of the most popular ways of posting with Facebook, Instagram, and even WhatsApp jumping on board.

As with any new medium, there is a right and a wrong way to use it. So, how can you harness the power of ephemeral content in your digital marketing strategies? We asked our social team to share some hot tips on creating short-term content that thrives.

The Back Story

Ephemeral content began with Snapchat, the image and video messaging app that lets users send ‘Snaps’ that expire shortly after being opened.

Snapchat was created by three Standford University students in 2011. The smartphone camera was the basis of the app, they even describe themselves as a ‘camera company‘.

Snapchat was successful because it tapped into the key attraction of social media– content creation. Users were not only able to enjoy other people’s content, but they could create their own. Their vertical camera interface meant that anyone with a smartphone could begin to play, and with the addition of filters, graphics, and voice modifiers, Snapchat became an engaging toy.

Why Ephemeral Content Works

Not only does ephemeral content give users space to create, but it also breeds a sense of immediacy that keeps audiences engaged. If content expires in 24 hours, you are more likely to check the app regularly so that you don’t miss out.

Instagram stories have doubled the amount of time that people spend on the app, from 15 to 31 minutes per day. From a marketing standpoint, increased user engagement is obviously a win. Interacting with your audience is the best way to spread your message and the more they pay attention, the better.

What’s more, utilizing features like Stories gives brands a chance to show their human side. Whereas your Instagram feed may read like a carefully curated museum, your Story can be spontaneous and authentic. This provides an opportunity for humour, user-generated content, and behind the scenes content. And if your posts don’t land? No problem… it will all be gone tomorrow.

Getting Creative With Your Stories

There are a lot of ways to create ephemeral content. When using a story feature like on Facebook or Instagram, you can choose between photo, video, graphic, and interactive content. Templates can be a great way to plan out your Story content, for more information on that check out this blog.

It’s a good idea to mix up your content. Keeping your audience interested is the core of a good marketing strategy, so don’t get caught posting the same old stuff every day.

Our social and media teams specialize in creating content specifically for social Stories. The two graphics below were created for our cleint Oakwyn Realty to promote their online blog content. Fun, visually enticing graphics are a great way to capture an audience’s attention and direct them to your website.

Tips for Using Stories to Sell

Ephemeral content has come a long way since Snapchat, with Stories now integrating eCommerce options that drive direct conversions. Instagram’s coveted ‘Swipe Up’ feature is a great example of this.

By creating a direct avenue for conversions, Instagram Stories have successfully kept users engaged with the app (you need 10,000 followers to qualify for the Swipe Up feature, that’s something to work for) and created a new world of buying and selling that makes the social media giant a competitor in the world of eCommerce.

Here are a few tips on generating sales on IG:

  • Maximize FOMO — Ephemeral content thrives on our ‘Fear Of Missing Out’. Instagram Stories are time-critical, so it’s important to make your audience feel like you are offering something special and exclusive. Sales, specials, and just-in content work great in this context.
  • Choose relevant content — Is it Black Friday? Christmas? The weekend? Choose content that creates a narrative for the viewer; something that is directly related to their current experience. For instance, a clothing brand might feature a ‘Night-On-The-Town’ look just as the weekend starts, or you could provide some ‘Great Gift Ideas’ close to Mother’s Day. Remember that this content is quick, temporary, and requires instant engagement in order to convert. Don’t lose your audience on the first click.
  • Use UGC — User Generated Content (UGC) helps build trust, authenticity, and user engagement. By showcasing your customer’s content, you increase the chances of them interacting with your brand and interaction drives conversions.

What Does the Future Look Like?

The future is bright for ephemeral marketing! Because of its mobile compatibility, high engagement rates, and accessible content, this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. According to Facebook, more than half of their audience say they make online purchases after seeing a product on a Story. And out of that same study, 68% of people say that they use Stories on at least three apps regularly.

Haven’t made the leap into ephemeral content yet? We can help. Let’s create a social media strategy together.