New Year New Story – What is Ephemeral Content and Why You Should Use it

Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content is rich media, primarily images and videos posted to social media that disappears or is only accessible for a short period. It started with Snapchat back in 2011, but Instagram and Facebook have now also stepped onto the bandwagon with “Instagram Story”, “Facebook Story” and live-streaming videos.

These content is popular with social media users as more people put higher significance on sharing a moment in real time instead of keeping that memory in taking a photograph for future reference. A Shutterfly survey found that more than 50% of the respondents’ new photos are abandoned on drives and devices after they are taken, thus reflecting this change in attitude.

Since millenials made ephemeral content so popular, it is essential for developers to understand how it works in order to reach younger audiences. However, it is important to differentiate the medium of where you post the ephemeral content – a post created for Facebook will not suit a story created for Snapchat or Instagram. By doing your due researching and understanding how younger audiences use these applications, developers and managers will be able to monetize these platforms once they have a clearer insight on how to shape their content. (Source: Forbes)

Why Is Ephemeral Content So Popular?

According to Statista, Snapchat had about 188 million daily active users, and Instagram Stories had approximately 400 million daily active users in the second quarter of 2018.

One of the reasons why ephemeral content is rapidly gaining popularity is because it encourages the creation of content. Snapchat’s default open page is specially designed for users to do this. When a user taps on the Snapchat logo, they will be facing their camera function instead of seeing updates from friends or their feed.

Also, people are more likely to post ephemeral content because they are not pressured to do so. Facebook users have their family, relatives, friends and colleagues on that platform. Hence, they are more careful with what they post as they don’t want somebody important, such as your boss or colleague to stumble upon something that they should not. Sharing ephemeral content is the opposite because it only lasts 24 hours and it limits the amount of damage an ill-thought-out post can do.

Ephemeral platforms are also vertical video-friendly, which facilitates informal interaction. They allow authentic and spontaneous content creation from users so that their followers can receive real content. Furthermore, they are fun and easy to use. Most ephemeral platforms have built-in filters, augmented reality functions, and voice modifiers to provide a more enjoyable experience. (Source: Copy Press)

Why you should use Ephemeral Content

1.Ephemeral Connects with SEO

With so many competitors online, developers have to work extra hard in their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to drive traffic to temporary content. How ephemeral content contributes to marketing strategies is by offering value-added experiences.

Search engines such as Google, now has algorithms that favor fresh content of an appropriate length. Thus, it is to an ephemeral marketer’s benefit if they use appropriate keyword density to leverage these features to their advantage. The addition of fresh content adds a boost to search engine appeal but that advantage disappears when the content comes down. This means that marketers and developers must constantly repeat this process since these experiences are short-term.

Google’s algorithms are smart enough to recognize value too. Substantive content that visitors appreciate increases opportunities for engagement. Also, such content will benefit from “vertical” search. Search engines will always drive up results for new and rich video and Google’s specialized searches will drive valuable engagement for your ephemeral piece. (Source:

2. Being “real”

Ephemeral content’s temporary nature doesn’t require it to be polished, which gives it a more genuine feel. Users enjoy watching its raw and unpretentious content which focuses on a single message or story. In addition, it gives businesses the opportunity to present their employees in spontaneous situations or show behind-the-scenes footage in real time. It makes your brand relatable, be it for small and large businesses, because it shows your followers that your business is comprised of people just like them.  

This gives a real, human face to the brand, and it does so in a natural manner – unlike traditional TV advertisements where employees are made to wave at the camera.

3. Consistency

Ephemeral content allows marketers to spread out their high-quality posts without losing on consistency because they can be “raw and unrefined”. Expectations are significantly lower in terms of quality, so the content curated requires much less time, effort, and resources to present valuable media that will keep users engaged while you prepare more complex material.

According to the social media feeds of some of the top digital marketing agencies of 2018, ephemeral content is being used as a way of presenting or announcing new features brands work on. For example, with the option of swiping up on Instagram Stories which takes users to a brand’s website or landing page to find out more, you’re able to guide your audience to your website and you don’t have to create an elaborate post to do so.

4. Increasing Engagement

Due to its temporary nature, it creates a sense of urgency for users and it is what drives the content to be so highly engaging. Not only is there a 24-hour window for the content to stay online, but knowing something will disappear soon drives users to pay attention to it and share it with their friends before it is gone. For example, they are able to do so with a single tap on Instagram Story to share to friends, ultimately directing to a wider reach of audiences for the company.

With the millennials concept of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), ephemeral content thrives in this day and age because social media users always want to be informed and be part of whatever is happening or in trend. However,  with the plethora of information being constantly thrown at them across various platforms, it is easy to overlook posts. Hence, ephemeral content takes advantage of this as they present itself as highly relevant at the moment and steals the limelight in a swarm of permanent posts. (Source: Digital Doughnut)


Ephemeral content have become the ultimate tool for increasing engagement, both in terms of promoting sharing and establishing communication with audiences. It emphasizes human interactions at its core, giving marketers a voice in a natural and unpretentious format. However, it is not a self-sufficient form of content marketing as it is designed to work in conjunction with high-quality, permanent content. By using both effectively and taking advantage of all the latest features different platforms offer, the 24h-only stories will have an impact on your audience beyond the short time frame.

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