SurgeGraph’s Year End Sale and Bulk Generation are live! Write 50 articles in one go now.
Get Bulk Generation – Save Up To $105

Ephemeral Content: What & How Should You Use It?

ephemeral content

Making use of ephemeral content marketing strategy today will greatly benefit your business in the social media landscape. Learn more about ephemeral marketing here.

As a marketing strategy, ephemeral content is nothing new to the internet space.

Today, almost all social media platforms use ephemeral media in their digital marketing. Therefore, it’s likely you’ve engaged with this new form of marketing.

Perhaps what you might not be familiar with is its name, ephemeral content.

Well, ephemeral marketing is temporary content that utilizes its target audience’s fear of missing out (FOMO). It is designed to elicit immediate responses from users by providing them with incredibly amazing content that leaves them wanting more.

Today, we will focus more on ephemeral content itself – what it is, how, and where to use it.

Let’s get started:

What Is Ephemeral Content?

 The rise of ephemeral content in nearly all of social media platforms
Image Source: Hebergement Webs

As briefly mentioned above, ephemeral content is a type of media (usually in the form of photos or videos) that only lasts for a limited period.

Great examples of ephemeral marketing include posts on Snapchat, Facebook My Day, and Instagram Stories. You will realize that these media formats typically only last for 24 hours then disappear forever unless you put them under your profile’s highlights.

The first ephemeral media was seen on Snapchat’s Picaboo in 2011. The platform’s initial aim was to provide users with a way to send and share photos and videos that disappear within a few seconds.

Daily Active Ephemeral Content on Social Media
Image Source: Acquisio

However, the popularity of ephemeral and short-lived media would later skyrocket to become one of the hottest digital marketing strategies we know today.

Soon, the concept’s assimilation to other major social media networks like Facebook and Instagram grew. Before long, even WhatsApp would integrate ephemeral media into its systems too.

It is the perfect marketing tool that allows brands to use stories to demonstrate their new products, broadcast live events, and even share tips about using their products/services, among various other possibilities.

Where is Ephemeral Content Mostly Found?

Social media platforms are rich with ephemeral media. You can’t miss them whenever you open your social media account. Here are some of the prominent social networks that have invested heavily in ephemeral marketing:

1. Instagram Stories

Ephemeral media as seen on Instagram stories

Instagram’s ephemeral media feature (referred to as Stories) is one of the most popular ephemeral examples.

Its ad formats include single images, single videos, carousels, and canvas.

The image formats have two aspect ratios, which include 9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1. They also have a maximum duration of 5 seconds and 30 MB maximum size. Instagram Stories supports images in .jpg and .png formats.

As for videos, the aspect ratios include 9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1. Their maximum duration is 15 seconds with a maximum file size of 4 GB. Supported video formats include .mp4 and .mov. Sound is also optional for videos, and the audio quality is stereo AAC audio compression. You cannot use captions and must include subtitles and captions as part of the video before uploading.

2. Snapchat

Ephemeral media as seen on snapchat stories
Image Source: Vox

As the birthplace of ephemeral content, you will hit the jackpot when looking for disappearing content on Snapchat. In fact, other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram were only able to integrate ephemeral media into their systems because of Snapchat’s extreme success with this new digital marketing venture.

With Snapchat advertising, you can send ephemeral content to your users or groups and even post them on public “stories” for an even wider reach and engagement.

3. Facebook Stories

Facebook promotes ephemeral content too
Image Source: TechCrunch

As the most used social media platforms globally, you would expect nothing less but Facebook’s Page Stories to be a global success. They appear automatically at the top of its users’ News Feeds. You can also tap another user’s profile picture to view their story.

You can add Page Stories to the platform in two ways:

  • Taking a photograph or video at the moment using the Facebook camera. You can also upload media from your camera roll and add some cool effects like masks, frames, music, stickers, etc., to make them more personalized
  • Cross-post Stories from Instagram to Facebook

The Facebook ad formats also include single images and single videos.

The image aspect ratio is 9:16 to 1.91:1 and lasts for a maximum of 6 seconds and 30 MB maximum file size. Images are supported in .jpg and .png formats.

As for the video format, the aspect ratio is 9:16 to 1.91:1 with a maximum duration of 15 seconds. The maximum video size is 4 GB and supports .mp4 and .mov video formats. Sound is also optional, and captions aren’t available. You will need to include captions and subtitles as part of your video when uploading.

4. WhatsApp Stories

Whatsapp stories

WhatsApp is the most popular and widely used global mobile messenger application from Facebook, with ephemeral content integrated into its features. With approximately 1.6 billion monthly users, you can have your ads viewed by millions of active monthly users on the platform.

If done well, your target audience will barely notice that their stories have gone from user content to ads and back again. WhatsApp Stories are also full-screen and can be very immersive. Its Stories also have an interactive element that allows prospects to swipe up to learn more about products/services and shop.

Why Should Ephemeral Marketing Be Carried Out?

There are several reasons why you should use ephemeral content and why it is so popular. Here are some of the main reasons why it is worth remembering to use ephemeral media in your marketing:

1. FOMO Society

FOMO society will have instances of fear of missing out

We live in a society where people fear missing out on just about everything.

One of the most obvious benefits of using ephemeral marketing is that it elicits immediate responses from viewers. It prompts viewers to make quick decisions to sign up, download, purchase, etc.

This media’s short-lived nature creates a sense of urgency in users, fueled by the fear of missing out (FOMO). Both are powerful motivators of human behavior that, when implemented well, can maximize business sales and conversions.

2. Higher Interaction with Audiences

High engagement is why ephemeral content is beneficial
Image Source: AiSchedul

Ephemeral content also allows users to engage with brands on personal levels than other advertising strategies. Some great engagement-boosting strategies you can use with ephemeral advertising include:

  • Live-streaming videos to communicate critical information to your audience in real-time
  • Encouraging user-generated content using geo-filters, branded filters, etc.
  • Tagging other users and locations to get even more attention
  • Running polls and Q&As, asking viewers for their opinions about your products/services

When implemented well, businesses can use ephemeral content to elicit higher customer engagement with their products, thereby building trust.

This brings us to the next point:

3. Builds Trust

Most businesses and brands spend unimaginable resources, time, and energy bombarding their consumers with well-polished content. Today, companies are all about being authentic, personal, and providing raw data that allows their customers to make better-informed buying decisions.

Ephemeral marketing enables brands to feel more humanized and relatable. This new digital marketing format is more informal and spontaneous, which gives people a greater sense of trust, excitement, and loyalty when engaging with your brand.

4. It Can Be Any Content

While users expect brands to shoot traditional ads professionally and perfectly in every way, you can get away with this requirement using ephemeral ads, which don’t have this expectation. If anything, the quality of your ephemeral media is secondary to your content itself.

Ephemeral content can be in any content
What about a quiz? Image Source: Later

As such, you can shoot a smartphone video of your colleagues enjoying themselves at a company picnic or a sports event competing with other colleagues from another company. These are some of the best pieces of ephemeral content you want to consider using.

Knowing this, ephemeral content might not always be right for every business. It might also not be the perfect approach all the time. Therefore, it is always important that you weigh your use of this new marketing tool before actually implementing it in your marketing strategy.

BiQ’s Content Intelligence is an excellent SEO tool you can use to draft, edit, and optimize any written content that’s highly related to your target audience. The Content Intelligence tool will provide you with critical data, enabling you to draft SEO-friendly, content-driven strategies for your target audience.

Use BiQ Content Intelligence to draft and publish content

You never have to worry about your ephemeral content again with this real-time content editor that tells you how relevant your marketing piece is.

You will also quickly know if you have used enough keyword density in your ephemeral advertisement.

5. Boost eCommerce Sales

Ephemeral content boost eCommerce sales
Image Source: Meltwater

Most social media networks that host ephemeral media also host shopping features, like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Instagram. As such, you can set up your business account on these platforms to function as a storefront in your stories.

Instagram Stories, for example, typically have a high engagement rate, with over 70% of the platform’s Stories watched with sound on. What’s more, over 20% of those interactions often result in direct messaging from the viewers.

Therefore, as an advertising tool, you can actually use ephemeral media to engage your audience and make purchases and sales.

6. Cost-Effective

Compared to offline advertising, posting stories on social media saves money
They are so much cheaper than your advertisement boards!
Image Source: Business 2 Community

Another major benefit of using ephemeral content over evergreen content is that ephemeral media’s quality is always secondary to the message. As such, you don’t have to spend big budgets or post-production teams to create your stories.

Because this media type is so short-lived, it gives users more opportunities to listen to your message and play around with it. You also never have to worry about presenting a perfectly polished product/service, allowing you to take even more risks and be more spontaneous.

There’s also no need to use fancy equipment either since your audience already expects that your content will be of lower quality compared to your usual posts. A quick video shoot with your smartphone camera should be fine.

7. Perfect for Mobile

Ephemeral media is perfect for mobile

Over 77% of US adults have smartphones. A number that’s gradually increasing, allowing businesses to take advantage of the ever-growing consumer base without needing any fancy video editing software or equipment.

You only need a solid ephemeral marketing strategy to get your brand’s message across to your target audience and elicit your targeted response from them.

Ephemeral Content Best Practices

As with all things to do with marketing, you must have a solid marketing strategy to ensure your content gets maximum user exposure and engagement. Here are some of the best practices you’re to consider when using ephemeral marketing:

1. Determine Your Type of Content

Determine your type of content
Image Source: CoSchedule

Before you even think of posting content for your target audience, you must first consider the type of content you want to share. These might be in the form of text, images, or video content. Determining the best content format to use allows you to know which option is most appropriate for your business.

Ephemeral content also works best when it’s native to the social media platform it is being shown. The content format itself must fit your brand.

Often, images perform best for tangible products. On the other hand, videos are great for services. However, that isn’t to say that you cannot use both. Still, it’s important to know which format is most suitable for your brand.

2. Tell Your Story

Tell your story using ephemeral content
Image Source:

It is always important to have a story that you plan to share with your target audience before you start. You don’t want to end up like one of those businesses that always second-guess where to go next.

The most important aspect of an engaging story is its structure. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Without these critical elements and your message might lose its meaning.

3. Post Regularly

Post regularly example by 9gag
9gag connects with their fans on a regular basis!

Naturally, posting quickly-disappearing content will require more frequent and regular posting. Remember, the whole purpose of ephemeral content is to engage your users.

However, creating and delivering content regularly also increases your chances of sharing irrelevant content.

Therefore, besides having a consistent schedule, you must also ensure your consistent messaging and content is relevant. Every content you publish must meet your brand’s goal or target.

4. Show Authenticity

Authenticity of stories by thebirdspapaya

Authenticity is a critical factor for any user in determining the brands to like and support. Therefore, it’s important to stay personal, raw, and informal with your content to maintain some level of authenticity centered on your content.

Treat your content viewers like they are your friends, and they will appreciate you for that.

5. Instill FOMO in Content

Instill FOMO in ephemeral content

In today’s super-connected space, everyone wants to be kept in the loop of the latest trends. And ephemeral media is the perfect tool for businesses to use this fear of missing out to their advantage.

That also means creating and posting relevant content more regularly and consistently. Your content must be fresh and interesting to lure viewers and prospective clients to engage with your brand. There are virtually limitless options to explore and engage with your clients using ephemeral marketing.

6. A CTA That Encourages Conversion

A CTA that encourages conversion in ephemeral content

One of the best ways to use ephemeral content is to deploy calls to action. You can take this opportunity to distribute a variety of coupons and other amazing discounts that will drive even more foot traffic.

The added benefit of ephemeral content is that it feels more personal, perhaps even exclusive, when done right due to its temporary nature. Follow this with a call to action, and you will have one of the best platforms to promote your campaign and add to its promotional power.


While ephemeral content might not be suitable for every business, its payoff can be tremendous when you find the right angle to approach this new marketing strategy. The best part of using this new form of marketing is how users have warmed up to its idea of providing time-sensitive content.

This makes ephemeral marketing even more popular at increasing user engagement and frequency with your brand.

Think it through, and if you feel this type of content marketing will work for you, this article would be of immense help.

About Winnie
Winnie is a copywriter and digital marketer in the vast world of SEO and marketing. She's as curious as she can be; constantly hunting for answers to her questions, never saying no to new experiences. When she's not spending her time typing up a storm, she is at home keeping up with her never-ending movie marathon & self-improvement books.