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5 Reasons Why Ephemeral Content will Keep your Audience Hooked

reasons why ephemeral content will keep your audience hookedEphemeral content, which lasts only a short time before disappearing, is on the rise and being led by the popularity of Snapchat. Other platforms like Instagram and Facebook are following in Snapchat’s footsteps, so now more and more platforms are providing a similar service for distributing short-lived content. Ephemeral content is fleeting, and novel, which is the appeal for many (especially younger) users. Live streaming videos, and Snapchat Stories, are a few examples of ephemeral content. Is it worth investing your limited time and money to develop content that disappears in moments or within 24 hours?

The Rise of Ephemeral

Imagine your nonprofit is all over social media, you’re posting regularly, but not getting the kind of engagement you would like from your followers. As video marketing is gaining popularity, there’s an inexpensive and potentially effective way to market your organization and keep followers coming back for more. Let's look at five reasons short-lived content can appeal to your audience.


There’s no surprise that people are constantly bombarded with polished advertising and companies trying to sell products and services. Changemakers can alter the world of marketing through putting out raw clips and images that represent the brand in a light that differs from traditional marketing tactics. Users who make the conscious decision to follow a brand on Snapchat or Instagram gain a sense of trust and excitement for the brand, which goes along with lead nurturing. This authentic look into a brand encourages followers to stay for the long haul and be more involved than the passive consumer.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

The novel aspect of ephemeral content strikes a FOMO effect or “fear of missing out” so users are more inclined to tune in at a certain time and maybe even on a regular basis. For marketers, constantly creating engaging content is a must when developing campaigns around this ephemeral content world. This poses a challenge for marketers to be on top of their game when curating content for these channels because they cannot be made and recycled like other campaigns. Brands can hold Q&A’s, how-to’s, and so much more behind the scenes content that is harder to come by from other social media channels. The possibilities are endless for marketers to engage with their audiences in a way that gives more than just a promotion or print ad.

Behind the Scenes

Organizations are able to showcase behind the scenes content, preview upcoming projects or products, show events, and offer promotions. For the movie Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, they used Snapchat to hold missions for their followers.

Fans responded to the call-to-action by submitting pictures or sending in videos that helped promote the film, as well as gave fans the opportunity to interact with the franchise. With 65 million impressions, it showed a great integration of technology and marketing. Users are able to directly interact with the campaign and invest.

Mobile First

Nearly 77% of all adults have a smartphone according to Pew Research Center and that number only increases as the age bracket becomes closer to college age. No need for fancy camera equipment or video editing software to take advantage of this marketing method. Organizations can distribute a QR or Snapcode to access stories and by just scanning the code with the camera on a user’s phone, find the organization’s Snapchat profile.

High Engagement

Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Not only are users are more likely to share visual content, they are also more engaged. Snapchat provides a service in which users to create geo-filters which brands can take advantage for a time and location sensitive event. This inexpensive service gives everyone who is within the location in a given time to put a filter over their snaps and in a way, crowd-source promote the event. Here’s and example below of Disneyworld’s geo-filter for Hollywood Studios which anyone with a smartphone can use when they’re at that location.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Snapchat Geofilter

Photo source:


Checklist for 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.

Ephemeral content is here to stay, so if your audience includes an active and fast-paced segment why not include it in your organization's marketing mix? Where the restrictions of ephemeral content can seem limiting, such as having a single window of time to tune in or content not as easily recyclable or searchable as other forms of marketing, it is inexpensive, authentic, and can result in great engagement from your most dedicated followers. 


Mobile Fact Sheet (Pew Research Center)

Mission impossible (Paramount Pictures)

How to Grow Your Audience on Snapchat, According to Data From 217,000 Snaps (HubSpot)

Video Marketing Success for Nonprofits in 2017 (Marketing Partners)



Jennifer Yee is a senior at Champlain College anticipating a marketing degree and psychology minor. Originally from Massachusetts, she hopes to work alongside an organization that holds corporate social responsibility to a higher regard.


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