Have you tried posting Instagram stories or watched some of your Facebook friends' My Day? This type of content is available for 24 hours, then "poof!", they're gone with the wind. Know what they’re called? Ephemeral content, the antagonist of evergreen content. But did you know that the unique thing about ephemeral content is its weakness? The 24-hour spotlight on your content could be your key to social media success.
The popular platforms for such content among social media users worldwide are Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Facebook's My Day. Snapchat was the precursor, and when the other social media sites saw its rise to popularity, they eventually followed suit. The trend sparked like wildfire, hooking, and even having audiences crave for more visual content.
But the question is, are you implementing ephemeral content in your social media strategy? Let’s see.
What is ephemeral content?
Ephemeral content can be used as a tool for your brand awareness by telling your message through videos. It can also serve as an inspiration for action through lead generation, app downloads, site conversions, and clicks.
Social media giant, Instagram, boasts of 400 million daily active users. Snapchat and Facebook, on the other hand, are trailing behind with 188 million and 150 million daily active users, respectively. What else are Stories trying to show? Here’s a breakdown of social media statistics you should know, according to Disruptive Advertising:
- Instagram has 800 million daily active users and counting
- 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29
- 68% are female
- 80% are outside of the US
- 187 million daily active users worldwide
- 70% are female
- 45% are aged 18-24
- 1 million snaps created every day
- 1.66 billion daily active users
- 87% are aged 18-29
- 53% are female
- 48% of 18-34-year-olds check Facebook when they wake up
With all these statistics, modern marketing has switched focus from branding to engagement. Users who crave for authenticity and inclusivity have blended so well with the strength of producing stories. The limited lifespan of stories causes the audience to act immediately. Imagine, you can bank on people’s Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)!
Even the reply bar serves a purpose, as prospect interaction can help to better business results, compared to traditional reach and branding Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It harmoniously works well to stimulate impulse buying or to populate your remarketing for lasting attention and branding.
Why create ephemeral content?
Everything has its benefits and risks. Again, the limited lifespan of the ephemeral content in social media creates a veil of exclusivity. In this age of information explosion, it’s now or never; and people don’t want to be the ones who are not in the know. Millennials (with an astounding buying power of USD 1 trillion by 2020) have incorporated ephemeral content from Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook in their daily routine.
An excellent way to increase your brand recognition is to provide exciting or funny ephemeral content. This ranks up your engagement rate, allowing you to frequently touch base with your subscribers, creating a bond with your brand. You can also use exciting and funny content to promote events, product launches, or to generate sales.
Younger audiences are moving away from Facebook to new channels such as Insta Stories and Snapchat. Most of the time, organizations now need to expand to new online marketing channels such as Snapchat or Insta Stories, to reach and continue the conversation with Millenials. Even the older generations are catching up with the ephemeral content trend.
If you are worried about the costs of these contents, they are inexpensive and can bring results if you have quality content. It’s also a great way for start-ups to introduce a new service or product in a way that captures the imagination of a wider audience. You can mold the content in whatever way.
Five best examples of ephemeral content
People come and go, so do stories—this type of media forces you to keep producing engaging content, often daily. You will need a budget, a clear long-term strategy, skills, and technical resources. Remember, all these content will be gone in 24 hours; so it does not quite contribute to the long-term value of your brand. But even so, why are people so hooked? We give examples of some the best ephemeral content out there:
1. Fresh Content Served on Snapchat
NCAA’s Official Hamburger, Wendy’s, needs a platform to execute their “Fresh Beef, Never Frozen” campaign during the College Football season. Their goal is to drive brand awareness and College Football sponsorship.
With Snapchat, Wendy’s hits a home run with their campaign, through sponsorship of the “Barstool 5th Year” Show. It was the perfect fit for their project, as it was aligned to the college football season. In addition, Wendy’s ran custom Snap Ads that included the show’s talent, Caleb Pressly. Whenever a Snapchatter visited a participating location, they have the option to add Chain Filter to their Snaps.
Photo courtesy of Snapchat.
It was such a big hit that they were able to reach 20 million users, an additional 30% lift in consideration. And, most importantly, it has seen a 138,000 increase in new visitors to Wendy’s restaurants.
Through best marketing practices and correct presentation utilizing stories, Wendy’s grilled into the minds (and stomachs) of many during college football season.
2. Insta-Success with Quaker Oats
Quaker Oats, one of the iconic breakfast choices of America, launched a new product called Overnight Oats. This product provides consumers with an easy way to meal prep breakfast. What they needed is to present their message in a creative and effective way to introduce the newly launched product to their target consumers.
Photo Courtesy of Snapchat.
Thanks to Audience Filters, Quaker Oats realized their potential with Snapchat to deliver its message in a way that would resonate with its audience. They were very specific with the reach of their audiences such as College & Young Working Women, Female Fitness Buffs, Convenience Seekers, and Working Moms. They featured Filter modes that changed, day and night.
As a pioneer that incorporated Audience Filters into their ads, the effort bagged eCPM of USD2.50 on College & Young Working Women and contributed to 11.4 million earned impressions for its Audience Filters.
3. Swiped Right Off the Racks
SHEIN is a retailer of women’s clothing. Knowing that Instagram is popular among SHEIN’s target audience, they wanted to bring content on the platform. They started out with Instagram Stories and Facebook My Day to test run and help them understand how to create a stronger strategy.
Photo courtesy of Instagram.
Instagram proved so good in converting returns on their ad spend by 20%. It resulted in a 9% increase in purchases at an 8% lower average cost per purchase. Not bad, right?
4. Driving in the Digital Game
Automotive industry top biller, Mercedes-Benz, has been innovating since 1886. Proven experience and an eye for quality and design make them one of the masters of automotive in the world. They wanted to bring the spotlight to their C-Class Cabriolet, focusing upon the enjoyment of open-top driving.
Since 2012, Instagram and Mercedes-Benz Cars UK Ltd. have collaborated to become one of the first brands to advertise on the platform. From then on, they kept rolling out bold, creative steps with each new ad format released. After Instagram Stories launched ads, it pushed Mercedes-Benz, working hand-in-hand with Facebook Creative Shop to experiment with the format. Using techniques of stacking and split-screen editing, the brand’s ephemeral content offered a seamless experience, showcasing the car in a highly aspirational way.
Photo courtesy of Instagram.
Mercedes drove home with a 2.6-million reach, a 9-point increase in ad recall, and a 3-point lift in message association. The use of effective social media stories can help propel your brand to the top.
5. No Monkey Business
MailChimp is the leading marketing platform for small businesses that provides sophisticated tools they can use to grow and succeed. They wanted to understand the level of marketplace awareness for its services, and eventually, raise awareness for these services.
With its partner creative agency, Droga5, MailChimp designed a digital ad campaign featuring mobile video ads, running on both Facebook and Instagram, that would help reach their marketing goals. They portrayed the theme that using MailChimp is like having a second brain to help run the business.
Through this effort, MailChimp increased their brand awareness with the help of Facebook and Instagram video ads. There has been an 18-point lift in ad recall in their visual content, while a 10-point increase in brand awareness, and a whopping 26-point lift in the association of MailChimp with marketing automation.
Producing clear-cut content and conveying the right message can attract potential customers in the long run.
Things to consider when crafting your ephemeral content
What makes ephemeral content great? Here are the important parts of effective ephemeral content:
— Clickable profile photo, for people to easily go through your brand;
— Progression bar, to see how much content you have banked for the day; and
—A call-to-action button, where people can easily interact with your brand.
Here are the best tips to keep in mind when crafting ephemeral content:
- Be On the Right Track
Strive to improve your social media marketing strategy. Commit with these tips to convey your brand’s ethos.
- Relevance = Success
Yes, it’s that easy. Focus on targeting the right message and the right people at the right time. Tailor the idea that it must grab attention, be easily understood by the audience, and must fit the brand precisely.
- Seconds Add Up
Do not lose your audience by crafting shorter stories and the improper placement of branding. Timing is always key.
- Fast pacing pays off
As much as possible, use multiple scenes in each social media Story. It may cause them to swipe forward. “Next!”
- Tell Your Story
If possible to achieve, Authentic brand message is the best content you can bet your money on. Audiences crave for the realistic, humanized stories. They will have the urge to replay, and possibly re-share your Story.
- Keep It Coming
The key to improving your content marketing is to create more content. How? By taking advantage of the social media marketing tools available from ideation, creation, publication, and scheduling. Publish more ephemeral content in your social media account, but cap it to 3-4 Snaps or Stories daily.
- Capture attention quickly
Let your hero be known and start with the most captivating moments. Branding should be in 3 seconds, maximum, featured at the beginning and at the end.
Entertain and connect through music, but don’t center your message on the sound. Always tell your story through visual design, using text and graphics to accompany your brand’s messaging.
- Frame your story
Come up with content that answers your objective. Highlight the key elements and feature products. Through your ephemeral content marketing, inspire the actions you want your customers to do.
- Play more
Keep your creative juices flowing and experiment with your content. The possibilities are endless with speed, rhythm, and sound.
- Repurpose your current content
Don’t dispose of it if you can use it. Convert existing assets by resizing or cropping them. Take note of each ads’ varying format.
Surely, ephemeral content is here to stay. Forecasts predict that there will be more social media users who will be accessing these disappearing content than the regular feeds. Take note of these key takeaways:
- Focus on your brand’s targets and objectives.
- Consider the use of ephemeral content in your social media and content strategy.
- Don’t be scared to dip your feet in the digital realm but always keep in mind your social media strategy is there to guide you.
- Knowing your audience well can help you exponentially; so when you target your Stories, it will not be lost in a sea of information.