All about Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content offers short-lived fun with long-lasting potential

Ephemeral content, text and images that disappear after a time, is one of the biggest social media trends of recent years. Such short-lived content is expected to continue this steep growth path. Here’s an overview of the reasons for the (rightful) buzz over content that disappears and application recommendations for using it.

So-called ephemeral content had its origins in 2011 with the emergence of Snapchat. That app is based on the principle that each photo or video sent is only viewed once by the recipient and then disappears. The success of Snapchat and its Story function led to other major social media platforms discovering this format for themselves. This is how Stories were first created on Instagram, whose content was no longer available after 24 hours. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube soon jumped on the bandwagon and established corresponding formats. And the numbers don’t lie: According to an analysis by techjury, 70% of Instagram users look at Stories every day, and 62% said in an Ipsos survey conducted by Facebook IQ that their interest in a product or brand increases when it appears in a Story.

What makes ephemeral content so special

The set up fits the zeitgeist: All relevant social networks have created a function for temporarily available content. Users’ attention spans are getting shorter. It is easier to consume quick sequences of photos and videos in the form of a story than to scroll through the normal feed, especially since users might have to switch between different pages there. The success of the format goes back to the social phenomenon of the so-called “fear of missing out” (FOMO). This is the fear of missing out on the latest updates from friends, celebrities or favorite brands if they are only available for a certain period of time.

Hello Community

Ephemeral content convinces followers with the feeling of authenticity, tangibility and directness. Often, successful influencers or companies give a behind-the-scenes look in their stories. They do not convey a polished image, but rather a positive aloofness between them and their followers. This spontaneous character and the numerous features such as polls, countdowns and special filters encourage the community to interact or even involve them in the form of user-generated content. This unfiltered character contrasts with the rest of the content. The positioning of ephemeral content within the platforms in a prominent place – usually at the top with direct access – also sets 24-hour content apart from the mass of “normal” content.

Ephemeral Content in B2B

The use of ephemeral content in B2B marketing is highly industry-dependent. If the desired target users are active on social media, they can also be reached through the platforms they use. One-third of the most viewed Stories on Instagram are from companies, according to Instagram Business. On LinkedIn, too, the Stories function leads to an increase in engagement in B2B. And an increase in interaction is an important aspect for brand awareness. The more people engage with your business, the better. However, it is important to not just aimlessly play on the temporary format, but to maintain it in a targeted way that complements the rest of your content. Ephemeral content offers the opportunity to give your social media presence a new, creative look. The integration of photos and videos as well as links provide a great deal of creative freedom.

Our recommendations

Despite all spontaneity and the desire for more immediate content, the various ephemeral content possibilities in the social networks should be integrated into a structured editorial plan and planned well in advance. The following considerations should be clarified in advance: Research the most important platforms for your target group. Determine which products or services are suitable for such a format. Only use stories if you have relevant updates that can be integrated. Choose appropriate features to engage the community. The top priority is interesting, coherent content that combines photos and videos and encourages the community to participate. This is how companies get the attention of their target group, who in the best case will be drawn to the normal feed and the website by the temporary content.


Only added value. That’s a promise!

We’ll give you the lowdown on what’s possible with the right set-up, where your content should be playing and how to make your marketing measurable. Register now and get insights about digital content.