March 13, 2020

The time is ticking to get on ephemeral content

“The timeless moments between ‘being in the nick of time’ and ‘missing out’ may captivate our thinking and arouse a spell of time traveling.” – Erik Pevernagie

Fear of missing out on the newest trends on social media seems to be driving the rise of a form of social media currently unfamiliar to many South African brands.

Characterised by having a quick and easy method of creating and sharing content that is either available for a limited time or is quickly lost within the barrage of new content on the platform, ephemeral content seems to be the up-and-coming platform choice of the day, particularly with the younger generation. Facebook and Instagram stories, Snapchat and the newest platform of the lot, Tik Tok are perfect examples of ephemeral content.


Tik Tok

You have no doubt noticed the virtual flood of lip-syncing teenagers and inventive pranksters on social media in the last year. This can be attributed in part to the rise of video creation and sharing platform Tik Tok. Uploaded videos can be anything from 3 to 60 seconds which allows users to create and share content quickly and easily and provides the on-the-go entertainment that teens and young adults crave. For only launching in South Africa in 2017, this app has already taken the crown of 2nd place in the most downloaded apps in South Africa. With nearly 220 million downloads worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2019, it showed a global increase of 24% from the previous quarter of the same year (according to 2019 stats by Sensor Tower’s Data Digest) showcasing its incredible growth. According to a 2019 investigation by Reuters, 66% of all Tik Tok users are between 16 and 24 years old which enforces its status as an app for the younger generations.


Snap Chat

Coming in as the 10th most downloaded app worldwide, Snapchat, while no longer new in South Africa, still has up to 1.35 million active users at any given time. As a multimedia messaging app, it allows for the quick creation of photos and videos with customized filters, features and music to be shared with their contact list in a message which disappears after a short time. Like Facebook and Instagram, it also has a story function where content can be displayed to all followers for a short time. As with Tik Tok, Snap Chat users are heavily skewed toward the younger age groups with 90% of global users being between 13 and 24 years old.


Instagram and Facebook Stories

Perhaps the most familiar of the platforms in ephemeral marketing are the Instagram and Facebook Stories. Following the success of Snapchat’s stories model, Facebook released its own story function in 2017 to huge success with 150 million daily users of the function being reached in only 14 months. Instagram stories met with even more success with their story function and currently have more than 500 million daily users worldwide. Both Instagram and Facebook stories work similarly to Snapchat stories, where media is uploaded and visible to followers for 24 hours (after which it disappears). To emphasize the importance of using these platforms as a marketing channel, a third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.


Ephemeral Content and Your Brand

Brands and agencies alike have been nervous to use these platforms and the ephemeral side of well-established platforms such as FB and IG stories. Brands are often unsure how to leverage fleeting content whilst agencies are sometimes anxious to use content that don’t have set metrics by which to measure a campaign’s success.

Whilst agencies do need to be slightly more creative in measuring the success of campaigns on these platforms, there are a myriad of opportunities and benefits to using ephemeral content;

The first and most obvious benefit is that it drives action and creates a sense of urgency in users to act, as the opportunity will not be available later if they wait.

Additionally, it is a great way to drive more authentic user engagement that can also be used to encourage user-generated content for the brand, which in turn creates more authentic content and brand advocacy from the client base.

The ease of content creation and less rigid structure of these stories also aids in increasing content volume without flooding your followers’ feeds with content.

The staggering number of users for these platforms also means a much wider reach for content, especially when posting regularly.

Finally, when used to show brand culture, behind the scenes shots and showcasing the people behind the brand, this aids in boosting brand loyalty and humanizing the brand for the consumer.


Some Great Examples of Ephemeral Content

If you want to see some good examples of how brands make use of ephemeral content, why not check out this thirst quenching Drinkfinity Instagram Story?


…or this funky Taco Bell Snapchat Lens advertised in a Snapchat Story?


Stranger Things created a highly interactive and greatly effective snapchat filter for the 2nd season as shown in this Snapchat Story:


One of the early adopters of Tik Tok, Chipotle has created some great examples of how to use the platform to best effect:


Samsung has demonstrated a great wat to use Facebook stories to engage with their audience and showcase their offerings:

If Woolworth’s Instagram Story recipes don’t get your mouth watering, we don’t know what will!


While ephemeral content can be highly effective, it’s important to be aware of the best type of content as well as the frequency and optimal times to post it. That’s where we come in. As a full-service digital agency, Black Snow will be able to assist in posting the right content to the right platform at the right time.

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