The Fast and the Ephemeral

Social media is here to stay, and if you want your content to have staying power you have to play by the new rules.

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10 billion daily video views. Marinate in that number for a minute. That’s the number of peepers checking out content on Snapchat. And the reason for Snapchat’s popularity, particularly with millennials and Gen Z, is the short-lived nature of that content. Come and gone in 24 hours or less, this so-called ephemeral content is shaping the face of social media marketing in 2018 and beyond. But Snapchat isn’t the only social media outlet that is influencing marketing trends, Facebook Live and Instagram Stories are also playing a role in how content reaches consumers.


For the old codgers out there, FOMO stands for fear of missing out, and what you may also realize is that FOMO is a feeling that social media has really fostered and nurtured. We see friends, family, acquaintances have a grand old time via Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, all gauzy and filtered and fabulous, and we want that experience, too. We want to be a part of their good time. Ephemeral content builds on that, creating a sense of viewing urgency. After all, if you don’t catch the message or video within 24 short hours, it disappears, and you have officially missed out. Grabbing that level of attention from your consumer is a marketer’s dream.

The Real Deal

Authenticity is a big deal to today’s consumer. The perception is that short-lived content is more real, more authentic than sponsored ads or posts that come across as spam. A lot of people out there have lost faith in more traditional forms of advertising. In fact, the Brookings Institute found that 84% of millennials mistrust traditional advertising. The ephemeral nature of Snapchat is ideal then for this group, because it is most decidedly not the standard ad style they have come to expect.

Just Right

Finally, people like to have things personalized for them. Social media has only amplified this preference, via its suggestions for products and friends that mirror our existing areas of interest or experience. Otherwise known as the Goldilocks principle, if content isn’t relevant to an individual (aka that perfect bowl of porridge), the consumer, like Goldilocks, will move on. This is where creating a user persona—who the consumer is, based on factors such as age, gender, education level, income, likes, location and more—is important and helps you create content that is just right.

Real-time Reach

Social media is also furthering the creation of niche groups that content must find a way to target. Live streaming on Facebook or Instagram’s Stories are great examples of this trend. The audiences that your content gains via these mediums are committed; if someone isn’t interested they simply won’t stick around. That’s great news in terms of engagement, but it requires a new approach, suited to this integrated kind of marketing. Be aware that even more ways of engaging in this manner are out there, such as Agora, an interactive broadcasting channel that allows two-way streaming so people can chat with each other while livestreaming.