Every year brings innovative, new opportunities to share your business story. Marketers promoting big brands and small businesses alike are always looking for the next big trend – the newest, hottest content strategy to reach and engage with their target audience. For 2019, one of the trends that digital marketers absolutely cannot ignore is ephemeral content.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the rise in popularity of in-the-moment, ephemeral content. Major social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp have all copied the ephemeral content model popularized by Snapchat (originally Picaboo) back in 2011. Now, users can produce and share web content with a limited lifecycle – usually 24 hours – on their favorite platform.
It makes sense that users would gravitate toward the ephemeral content model. Each of these platforms integrates with your phone camera, making it easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone. Plus, the platforms are compatible with vertical video and offer fun effects that allow users to quickly and easily create their own content.
Still, is it really worth it for your business to invest time, energy, and brainpower into creating content that has a 24-hour time limit?
Why ephemeral content?
Better leads. Ephemeral content, such as Instagram Stories, typically have a high rate of engagement. According to Social Media Week, about 70 percent of Instagram Stories are watched with sound on – and roughly 20 percent result in a direct message from viewers. So, as an advertising tool, it can help you create an immersive experience for your audience with which they can actually engage.
Plus, stories have even been shown to convert. In a recent survey of fashion-forward Instagram users, 72 percent of respondents said they had purchased a fashion, beauty or style product after seeing an ad or story on Instagram. It’s worth noting that this survey focused on a small sample size in a niche industry particularly well-suited to visual storytelling. Still, it shows the potential of Instagram Stories – and other ephemeral content – to convert browsers into buyers.
Lower costs. One of the major benefits of producing ephemeral content (versus evergreen content) is that the quality of the content is secondary to the message. You don’t need a big budget or a post-production team to create a great story. Because ephemeral content is so short-lived, it actually gives you more opportunities to play with your message. There’s no need to worry about putting out a perfectly polished product, so you can take more risks and be more spontaneous with your content.
Plus, your audience expects that content in your Snapchat/Instagram story or Facebook Live video will be lower quality than your usual posts, so there’s no need to use fancy equipment. A quick video shot with your phone camera is just fine.
Authentic interactions. In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on the original goal of social media: Sharing personal moments that bring us closer together with the people who matter to us. To that end, top social platforms like Facebook have been de-prioritizing public content from brands in users’ News Feeds. In a post on his Facebook page last year, Mark Zuckerberg detailed how this change might look for users:
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
But businesses shouldn’t lose hope! The ephemeral content format offers a unique opportunity to engage with your audience in an unfiltered, authentic way. Instead of the usual polished advertisements hawking a product or service, you can share raw clips or images that showcase your brand’s personality. It’s a chance to give your audience a glimpse behind the scenes and to share an exclusive experience.
Harness the FOMO. Everyone is talking about how ephemeral content taps into our fear of missing out (FOMO) – and they’re right. There is a sense of urgency associated with ephemeral content because users only have a short time to view and engage with it before it’s gone. According to Instagram’s internal data, the introduction of Instagram Stories helped to increase the amount of time users spend on the platform – likely because they’re checking in more often to see what their friends and favorite brands are sharing.