For those of us in digital marketing, often the biggest challenge is to gain a customer’s attention. Most objectives rely on this being achieved to open the doors to successfully fulfilling other aims. Therefore, we ensure we are aware of the key trends that are emerging, and respond appropriately to be at the forefront of developing movements.
Ephemeral content is a prime example of a digital trend that has been on the scene for some time but has capabilities that continue to grow and a wealth of potential to become an even bigger player in the digital marketing sphere. To define ephemeral, it literally means “lasting a very short time” and so we are discussing content that is visible for a short period of time, or expiring content as we often refer to it as.
This trend arguably draws on the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), which we know is a prominent driver for many of the actions of millennials in particular. Snapchat and Instagram stories limit the ability to view a post for up to 24 hours, then its gone. Because posts disappear for good, there’s an exclusivity to viewing them. This drives users to be keener to keep up to date lest they miss some good content. Flicking through Snapchat or Instagram stories becomes a routine for so many people, and brands can exploit this.
Authenticity is quite possibly one of the reasons behind this trends success. As users feel they are being given a view into a brand in a way that isn’t polished and planned, they gain more trust in the brand and feel more connected. Appearing on their level and at one with the consumer has a much greater chance of winning customers than the traditional sales strategies.
A key challenge for brands in using this type of content can be adapting to create appropriate content. With so many of us clued up on spam emails and ad blockers, to reach an audience through a means they are using for leisure, you have to create content that flows alongside what their friends and idols are posting. You aren’t selling them a coat, you are showing them how amazing it looks on and how someone is having an amazing time in that item. This challenge is arguably the reason for this amazing platform for brands still being largely underused.
A limitation of ephemeral content that acts as a turn off for many is the lack of analytics on offer, they can tell you how many people have viewed but information on how they interacted with content is non-existent at present.
There is no denying this trend has had much success and impact so far with brands like Cosmopolitan doubling their reach thanks to the content, and yet there is vast amounts of room for more in the future. We expect that 2018 may see these platforms offer marketers more incentive to get involved by incorporating more insights into engagement with ephemeral content. We also expect to see more brands overcoming fears of these platforms and expressing raw content to increase their audience engagement and gain much more attention.