Here today, gone tomorrow… or in 6 seconds! We’ve seen this new wave of content wash over our platforms but it has a name and it just about captures the zeitgeist of our times.

So what is ephemeral content?
Images and video that’s only available for a short amount of time. Conversations that take place through the medium of ephemeral media are supposed to be unrecorded, unedited, spontaneous, and immediate. Authenticity at its best, right?

Considering the fact that AdWeek listed this style of marketing as the first of five social media trends that will be huge in 2018 lets take a closer look at WHY ephemeral is the new new that Gen Z are all about and why marketers need to consider including it in their social media strategies.

The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) Effect

That FOMO (fear of missing out) is what makes ephemeral content so appealing and authentic. There is a sense of urgency attached to it resulting in the people feeling that if they are privy to this content they are in the know, an exclusivity in a way. From a brand perspective, you can include interactive features (comments, likes and polls) give your followers a way to share their thoughts and ultimately make them feel as if their opinion is valued.

There are several advantages that Ephemeral content offers:

  • It gives your brand an authentic post! Yes, the content that is short lived but this does have a more engaging effect to your audience that sponsored posts or spammy udpates on the brand page.
  • Exclusivity. That “immediate” effect makes the audience feel that they are part of the brand and negates that FOMO feeling. Done well, it can help marketers rack up brand advocacy points with its target audience.
  • Users can access content easily with the help of Snap Codes or QR codes.
  • Ephemeral content gives you potential customers’ attention, which is undoubtedly the most prized commodity on the internet today.

Let’s take a look at what ephemeral content looks like on our big 3 platforms…


Facebook Stories launched earlier this year and is accessible through the app’s native camera feature. The images and videos you share appear at the top of a viewer’s news feed, and each person can view a story only twice within a 24-hour period. Facebook has a Live feature, but these videos are automatically posted to your feed after the broadcast ends.


Instagram’s ephemeral content feature is also called Stories, which makes sense since the platform is owned by Facebook (and actually, Instagram Stories came first). As with Facebook, the content disappears after 24 hours; unlike Facebook, however, you can embed polls in your posts. The Stories feature also has a live video option, so you can broadcast to your audience in real time. Sharing replays of your live videos preserves them in your Stories for 24 hours; otherwise, they disappear forever.


When people think of disappearing content, Snapchat is probably the first app that comes to mind. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, however, Snapchat doesn’t let you save any content to your feed permanently. After a visitor watches your Snap once, they can’t look at it again. They can, however, rewatch your Snapchat stories an unlimited number of times within 24-hours of posting. Brands can capitalize on Snapchat’s popularity by creating geofilters, which are decorative graphics that users can apply to their Snaps when they’re in a specific location


Here’ s a pretty handy checklist from Marketing Partners for creating a successful ephemeral content marketing campaign:

  1. Create an account that provides an ephemeral content service and make sure to have an available Snapcode or QR code for users to access it quickly. According to HubSpot, about 25% of new Snapchat followers come from Snapcodes.
  2. Decide whether images or video are more suitable for your brand. Depending on what your organization provides, still pictures make more sense for tangible products while video may coincide better with services. This does not mean your organization is limited to one or the other but start with what feels most appropriate for your promoting your campaign.
  3. Post regularly for constant engagement. Along with posting on a consistent basis, trial and error is a useful way to find out if certain content unique to your brand is more engaging than others.
  4. Have fun with it. Ephemeral content is a cost-effective and authentic way to connect with your following so keep it informal and share the facets of your nonprofit worth sharing.

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