At first glance, the notion of ephemeral marketing doesn’t make much sense from a business perspective. After all, why would you spend precious resources on producing a piece of promotional content that’s only going to be available for a short amount time? And yet, ephemeral content is currently one of the hottest digital marketing trends. So what’s the story behind this discrepancy?
Part of the answer can be uncovered by taking a look at how such content is being distributed online. The top three platforms for sharing ephemeral content are Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. Instagram Stories alone is sitting at 400 million daily active users, which is more than Facebook Stories and Snapchat have combined (150m and 190m respectively). Tapping into such a large pool of users can be a lucrative prospect, provided you can deliver a constant stream of content updates.
To find out more about the ways brands are benefiting from ephemeral content, check out our short guide on the topic in the text below.
Keep Them Asking For More
A common mistake that people make is to think that being ephemeral is inherently a disadvantage when content is concerned. In reality, short-lived content can actually be far more effective at eliciting a reaction from the audience. If you create a piece of content that your audience enjoys, but which will become unavailable soon after, their only means of finding something similar is to keep waiting until you produce more of it. Scarcity is a powerful driving force, and ephemeral content is one of the best ways to leverage for improving audience engagement.
1. Fear of Missing Out
Another psychological principle that underpins ephemeral content is called FOMO, or fear of missing out. FOMO is characterized by a sense of anxiety that arises out of a perception that others are having worthwhile experiences without us. It arises as a result of a desire to keep in touch with what others are doing at all times. Ephemeral content is inherently geared towards eliciting feelings of this sort. After all, it is quite likely that you will miss out on content, if it has an expiration date. And the best way to alleviate FOMO is to pay more attention to ephemeral content updates.
2. Let Bygones be Bygones
So far we have talked about how being ephemeral can actually amplify the effectiveness of content for producing a positive audience reaction. But ephemeral content is also well suited for managing negative feedback. Not every content update you publish will be of the same standard of quality. Some might be met with criticism, and other will fail to generate a response at all. If such content remains permanently available, it will continue to generate a negative response. But if it stuck around only for a short while, there would be nothing left to keep reminding your audience of the negative experiences they had.
3. An Authentic Experience
We have been using the word “ephemeral” to denote content that is available for a limited time. But in another sense, ephemeral content also alludes to the fact that it was created in the spur of the moment, without much forethought. This gives it an aura of authenticity, which is something internet users have grown to appreciate now that standardized, corporate content has become the norm online. Brands that offer ephemeral content are therefore perceived as being more in touch with “the little guy”. In other words, ephemeral can be used to give brands a human face, which is a feat that some of the top digital agencies have managed to achieve.
4. Outsourcing Content Creation
Part of the reason why ephemeral content is so popular is the fact that practically anyone can make it. All you need is a smartphone and some time on your hands, and you can create something that actually has a shot at becoming a viral sensation. This makes ephemeral content creation a perfect fit for crowdsourcing. By incentivizing your audience to produce content in your stead, you can drastically reduce the costs of your content marketing strategy. In exchange for exposure and a few perks, you can gain access to large pool of talented content creators, which is a deal that few companies would be willing to pass up.
5. Recruiting Gen Z
Over time, each content marketing strategy develops its own preferred audience. In the case of ephemeral content marketing, the audience in question is Generation Z. This demographic cohort consists of people born after 1995. These individuals grew up fully immersed in the online world, and they are have wholeheartedly embraced social media as means of everyday communication. They are used to consuming ephemeral content on a daily basis, which makes them prime targets for ephemeral content marketing. While their spending power is still less than their millennial counterparts, in the coming years Gen Z is set to become the audience of choice for businesses world-wide.
6. Get on the Ephemeral Bandwagon
The impact that ephemeral content has had on the world of marketing stands in stark contrast to its shelf-life. And as content creation tools and platforms become more widely available, we are likely to see an even greater emphasis on it in the future. We hope that our guide can help you to capitalize on this emerging trend.