The Ephemeral Content Trend

Chuck Forbes - February 28, 2024

Ephemeral content is characterized by its temporary existence. Snapchat became a pioneer with this concept by introducing disappearing messages and advertisements that were then picked up by other social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. Ephemeral content preys on FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) factor. This encourages users to not only take immediate action but stay on and check into the platform more often, so they don’t miss an opportunity. As users embraced this trend, advertisers saw the opportunity to follow and create content in social media feeds that would not be available for long.

There is a blueprint for creating Ephemeral Content that includes:

  • A limiting lifespan, usually no more than 36-48 hours
  • Very engaging images and videos that are action-packed and attention-grabbing
  • Dramatic or popular music / sound integration with the ad
  • Calls to action per platform, such as swiping up, taking a quiz, or visiting a page
  • Limited time offers and promotions

By creating ads with these characteristics, you should set your expectations and goals to see increased engagement. The purpose behind the short lifespan is to have the user take immediate action. There is a difference between offering 40% off and offering 40% off today only. Keep track of your click-through-rate, number of shares and total watch time from your users.

Ephemeral content is also going to allow your creativity to expand. Creating a strategic campaign that hooks users in to act quickly is going to require a lot of brand knowledge to combine at once. By following the blueprint above, you will be considering your customer’s favorite imagery, music, type of ad, type of promotion and platform. In the past, you may not have used the fact that half of your followers also follow multiple classic rock artists. Now, selecting music clips that will immediately relate to your audience is important.

Collecting data for ephemeral content will have two important factors:

  • Ensuring all data collection is accurate
  • Scheduling time to review the data sooner

Since the campaign is only 1-2 days long, you must ensure that your data tracking within the platform and on your website from ad traffic is set up correctly. Without proper tracking based on the goals you want to measure; you’re going to miss out on brand insights you may not find in other campaigns. Building content or an ad campaign with the FOMO factor in mind, could mean more engagement in a small window; providing you the amount of data collection in two days you may normally get from a month. You are also going to want to make sure you schedule the time to review the campaign data during and/or immediately upon conclusion. Since these campaigns are very ROI-driven, you want to quickly measure your return on investment and then make any adjustments needed to run it again.

The inspiration for this blog came from a recent ephemeral campaign I saw while on Instagram. One of my favorite bands announced they would be going on a U.S. tour and tickets would be available soon. I was reviewing tour dates and locations when I submitted my information to be reminded the day before tickets go on sale to the public. Three days before tickets were set to go on sale, I was served an ad with an exclusive offer to buy my tickets now and receive a 20% merchandise discount for doing so. This was a no-brainer since I was going to buy the ticket and the commemorative tour t-shirt regardless! I’m a fast scroller, so the marketing team had to use the right video clip of the right song with the right copy to get me to stop, review and act – but it worked.

We are entering a time where customers want advertisers to invoke feelings into their ads, and one if those feelings is excitement. Ephemeral content allows marketers to understand this concept and practice using it to increase ROI. For more information on how you can strengthen your ad strategy with ephemeral content, email our team at

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