5 Reasons You Should Consider Using Ephemeral Content

The term ‘ephemeral’ is often used to characterize things that are fleeting or temporary in nature. In the context of digital culture, it is used to describe moments or trends that are here today and gone tomorrow. 

Everything you see on social media is ephemeral in nature. You watch something, you react, and then move on to the next thing, or you see something and poof it’s gone. 

Most marketers overlook ephemeral content in favor of long-term content that may provide sustained engagement and SEO benefits. 

The content will not appear in search engine results, and if a user fails to check their social media account within the stipulated time frame, they’ll miss the update altogether. 

While ephemeral content itself may not directly impact SEO, it can indirectly support SEO efforts by driving traffic to a brand’s website or generating social signals (such as likes, shares, and comments) that indicate to search engines that the content is valuable and relevant. 

Hence, we’re here to tell you how ephemeral content can drive significant engagement and brand visibility when used effectively. 

But first,… 

What is Ephemeral Content?

Ephemeral content refers to digital content that is temporary and only available for a short period of time. Across most social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat, ephemeral content typically lasts for about 24 hours. 

The content on these platforms can take various forms such as photos, videos, text, and/or a combination of these. 

Unlike evergreen content or EDMs, ephemeral content cannot be found again on social media once its short lifespan expires, making each piece a momentary glimpse into a brand’s story or message. 

The fleeting nature of ephemeral content may make it seem less polished compared to traditional posts, but if utilized correctly, ephemeral content offers brands a unique opportunity to stand out in the digital sphere. 

Snapchat was the pioneer of ephemeral content with its introduction of disappearing photos and videos, revolutionizing the way users interacted with social media platforms. 

Today, several other social media platforms have adopted the ephemeral content model, integrating features like stories, fleets, and status updates, reflecting the widespread recognition of its effectiveness. 

Where Should You Publish Ephemeral Content

There are a range of social media platforms that support ephemeral content. These include: 


When you first think of disappearing content, Snapchat is probably the first app that comes to mind. The core feature of Snapchat is its ephemeral nature. Photos, videos, and even messages shared by users disappear once they have been viewed by the recipient. 

Originally introduced as a way to encourage more authentic and spontaneous communication, this ephemeral nature was what distinguished Snapchat from other platforms. 

Among Gen-Z users, Snapchat is the most popular social media platform. This poses a major opportunity for marketers looking to reach Gen-Z. 

Chart showcasing Snapchat being the most used app among Gen-Z users

The rise of Snapchat for business, Snap’s ad channel, offers mobile ads that enables marketers to connect with users by creating engaging, interactive, and easily shareable content. 

Some of the key advertising formats available on Snapchat include: 

Type of ad formats available on Snapchat

Snap Ads

These are full-screen vertical videos that appear between a users’ stories or in the Discover section of the app. 

These ads include interactive elements such as swipe-up links, long-form videos, articles, or app installs

Snap Ads are effective in driving website traffic, creating brand awareness, and retargeting previous customers. 

Story Ads

These ads show up between Stories, in the Discover feed, and in Spotlight. These allow marketers to promote their brand through a series of three to 20 snap ads. 

Story ads allow marketers to tell a longer-form narrative, creating an immersive experience for users. 

Depop story ad on Snapchat

Depop successfully utilized Story Ads to promote its online marketplace for fashion and lifestyle products. Through this, Depop was able to attract a new targeted audience that was relevant to their platform.

According to Snapchat, the platform became a top marketing for Depop, allocating about 50% of their total media spend towards the platform.

Collection Ads

This allows a marketer to showcase a series of products in a single ad unit. They show up in Stories or Spotlight and users can swipe up on the ad to view more products or make a purchase directly within the app. 

This is ideal for e-commerce brands looking to promote new arrivals or seasonal collections.

Example of collection ads

Entertainment and media companies can also use collection ads to promote upcoming movie releases, TV shows, or music albums. 

AR Ads

Augmented Reality (AR) lenses are interactive filters that users can apply to their snaps. 

Brands can create sponsored AR lenses to promote their products or campaigns in a fun and interactive way especially around events or industry campaigns. 

Mac cosmetics AR ads

Mac cosmetics recently launched an AR ad on Snapchat enabling users to try on makeup products through a filter on the app.

If users like a particular look, they can tap through the lens to shop and purchase the product directly from Snapchat.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads allow marketers to automatically create and target ads based on their product catalogue. 

These ads are personalized for each user based on their interests and behaviors.


These are non-skippable ads that appear in Snapchat’s premium content such as in Shows and Publisher Stories. 

These ads are ideal for brands looking to reach a wide audience with high-impact video advertisements. 


Brands can create sponsored filters such as graphical overlays that users can apply to their snaps. The filters can be branded with elements like logos, slogans, or images to promote brand awareness. 

There’s also the option to create geo-specific filters that target users in specific geographical locations. Geo-filters can either be sponsored or on demand. 

Both create overlays unique to very specific locations or experiences.

 Pro Tip
McDonald’s has utilized Snapchat’s geo-filters to engage with its customers in specific locations.

The colorful filters has increased the appeal and excitement surrounding McDonald’s as customers can now have more fun now whilst enjoying their meal.

McDonald's geo-filters


Instagram’s ephemeral content feature is Instagram Stories. These appear at the top of the Instagram app in a horizontal bar and are typically displayed in chronological order based on when they were posted. 

Key features of Instagram Stories include: 

  • 24-hour disappearing content
  • Interactive stickers 
  • Swipe-up links (for verified accounts or business accounts with 10k+ followers)
  • Direct messaging 
  • Filters and effects 

Instagram also offers paid advertising options within Instagram stories for marketers. These include: 

Story Ads

Similar to Snapchat, these are full screen ads that appear between users’ stories. They can include photos, videos, or carousel ads with multiple images. 

Story ads have the ability to be targeted to specific audiences based on factors such as demographics, interests, behavior, and location. 

National Geographic has always been known for its visually stunning images and videos. Through Instagram Stories, NatGeo now encourages followers to take a stand on environmental conservation by promoting actionable steps individuals can take to make a positive impact on the planet.

Nat-geo story ads with a CTA

Video View Campaigns

Marketers can run Video View campaigns specifically optimized for Instagram Stories. 

These campaigns are designed to maximize the number of views on video ads within Stories. 

Video View campaigns track metrics such as views, view duration, completion rates, engagement, and other relevant metrics. 

These metrics provide valuable insights into how users are interacting with the video ad, giving insights to marketers on how to optimize their campaigns for better performance. 

Collection Ads

These feature a cover image or video followed by a grid of product images. When users tap on the ad, they are taken to a full-screen instant experience where they can browse and purchase products directly within the Instagram app. 

 Pro Tip
Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons such as ‘Shop Now’, ‘Learn More’, or ‘See Products’ are highly visible on collection ads encouraging users to take specific actions if the ad draws their interest. 


Since Facebook owns Instagram, the Facebook Stories Feature is very similar to Instagram Stories. 

As one of the most used social media platforms with approximately 3 billion monthly users, Facebook offers several types of Stories ads for marketers to leverage on the popularity of ephemeral content. Here are some popular types of Facebook Stories ads: 

Playable Ads

These are interactive ads that allow users to engage with a mini game or interactive experience directly within Facebook Stories. 

Marketers can use playable ads to provide a preview of their mobile game or showcase the functionality of their app in a unique and engaging way.

Example of a playable ad

Poll Ads

These allow marketers to create interactive polls within their Stories. Users can swipe on the ad to vote in the poll, providing valuable feedback to the advertiser, increasing brand awareness and engagement. 

A poll ad on Facebook

Branded Content Ads

Branded content ads allow marketers to promote influence-generated content as Stories ads. Brands can extend their reach through influencer partnerships by participating in sponsored content through paid advertising. 

Branded content ads can help create relatability to the brand as users may resonate with the opinions or lifestyles of specific influencers. 


TikTok is fairly new to the creation of ephemeral content. However, it has gained immense popularity among marketers and influencers. A few prominent examples of TikTok ads include:

In-Feed Ads

These are native ads that appear in users’ ‘For You’ page as they scroll through TikTok. 

 Pro Tip
These ads can be up to 60 seconds long and marketers have the ability to incorporate a variety of creative elements such as music, text overlays, and special effects to showcase their brands or products in a fun way. 

Brand Takeovers

These are full-screen ads that appear when users open the TikTok app. This typically consists of a short video, image or GIF which include a clickable link to an external website or landing page. 

Brand takeovers enable marketers to grab users’ attention immediately to drive traffic to their desired site. 

Branded Hashtag Challenge

This encourages TikTok users to create and share content around a specific theme or hashtag created by a brand. 

This often also includes a challenge prompt, a branded banner, and a custom hashtag. 

Spark Ads

This allows marketers to leverage on organic TikTok posts and their features in their own advertising (with permission of course) 

These kinds of ad campaigns are considered authentic as all the engagement received is attributed to the original organic post. 

There is also a CTA that doesn’t appear on regular content. A viewer can click on this to access a brand’s campaign landing page. 

Here’s an example of a spark ad from Mango,

Mango spark ad examples

Why Should Brands Consider Using Ephemeral Content?

As mentioned earlier, the fleeting nature of ephemeral content makes it an effective tool for brands to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity to drive immediate engagement and foster a more authentic and spontaneous connection with their audience. 

Here are the top five reasons brands should consider an ephemeral content strategy: 

Humanizes your brand

Ephemeral content creates opportunities for marketers to create authentic, spontaneous, and relatable interactions with its target audience. 

Such content often captures behind-the-scenes moments, day-to-day activities, and real-time updates that give followers a glimpse into the brand’s personality and culture. 

 Pro Tip
Features like polls, live Q&A sessions, and interactive stickers on platforms like Instagram and Facebook Stories allow brands to engage directly with their audience. 

The two-way interaction fosters a sense of community and enables the audience to feel valued and heard by the brand. With real-time engagement such as sharing live updates from an event, responding to current trends, or addressing audience inquiries immediately, users are able to feel more connected to their favorite brands.


Brands can leverage on the fear of missing out (FOMO) by capitalizing on the temporary nature of ephemeral content. 

 Pro Tip
Due to the limited availability of ephemeral content, users feel compelled to view and engage with the content instantaneously. The sense of urgency created is significant in driving higher engagement rates and traffic for brands. 

Brands often use ephemeral content to provide exclusive access to behind-the-scenes footage, sneak peaks, or special announcements. 

For instance, an online retailer might use ephemeral content to promote flash sales, discounts, or deals that are only available for a limited time.

Regular posting of ephemeral content can create a habit among followers of a brand to frequently visit the brand’s site and socials for updates. This constant engagement not only fosters a sense of anticipation and excitement among users but also FOMO if they miss a day’s content. 

Genuine insider views

With ephemeral content, brands have the opportunity to encourage followers to create and share their own ephemeral content related to the brand or an event held. 

 Pro Tip
For instance, user-generated content (UGC) with branded filters or geo-filters can be used to create awareness around a brand’s initiatives. 

Moreover, partnerships with influencers can encourage storytelling. Influencers can sport the brand’s merchandise whilst posting casual and narrative-driven content. This could include sharing daily snippets or sequential updates throughout the day to create a comprehensive and authentic view of the brand’s product. 

Paid amplification

As mentioned earlier, social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Google ads and Facebook offer advanced targeting options for paid amplification. 

Marketers have the ability to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors to ensure that the ephemeral content reaches the most relevant audience, thus enhancing the effectiveness of a campaign. 

Additionally, brands can use ephemeral content to promote longer-lasting content or campaigns on other platforms. For instance, an Instagram Story can be used to drive traffic to  a full-length YouTube video or blog post.

Low production costs

Are you a small brand or a start-up with a limited marketing budget? Then, ephemeral content is the way to go due to its low production costs. 

Unlike permanent content, ephemeral content typically costs less to create due to its short life span. This also allows marketers to focus on quick, timely updates rather than invest heavily in content that needs to stay relevant over time. 

Brands have the opportunity to experiment with different types of content to see what works and what doesn’t. They can then immediately adjust their strategies based on feedback received from users. 

By using content created by followers of the brand such as TikTok’s spark ads, it not only creates authentic advertising for the brand but also keeps costs low. 

Ephemeral Content Best Practices

Ephemeral content may sound easy to create due to its emphasis on authenticity over polish, however, it still requires some level of strategic planning and creativity to effectively engage and resonate with your audience. 

Here are a few best practices to consider when crafting ephemeral content:

Know your audience

Determine who your targeted audience is. Conduct market research to find out how active your audience is on social media and on which platforms. 

 Pro Tip
Utilize tools such as analytics platforms, social media insights, and audience research tools to gain a deeper understanding of your audience’s preferences, behaviors, and engagement patterns. 

By tailoring your content to fit the demographics, psychographics, and behaviors of your audience, your brand message will feel more personal and impactful. This will help you foster a stronger connection with them and you can focus your efforts on creating content that is most likely to succeed. 

Make a plan

By having a plan, factors such as timing, diversity, and performance tracking are carefully monitored and considered crucial towards a brand’s success. 

Knowing the best times to post can increase visibility and engagement. Planning allows you to schedule posts when your audience is most active. 

A well-thought out plan can also balance different types of content (e.g., behind-the scenes, product highlights, user-generated content, etc), always keeping your targeted audience interested and engaged. 

Over time, a planned approach allows for better tracking of metrics and performance analysis. By understanding what works and what doesn’t, you can continuously improve your strategy by making data-driven decisions. 

Combine promotion with value

As emphasized throughout this article, ephemeral content by nature is temporary and requires immediate attention. 

Combining value with promotion ensures that the content has an immediate impact, compelling users to take action before it’s gone. 

However, remember to get straight to the point. Users on social media are known to have short attention spans and an even shorter one with short form content, so make sure your content is both visually pleasing and interactive. 

 Pro Tip
Engaging and valuable content will increase your audience’s retention rates as not only does your brand stand out in the crowded digital space, but providing value with promotion helps create positive associations with the brand. 

Maintain consistency

A consistent posting schedule, style guide, and messaging ensures that your brand’s core values, mission, and vision are clearly communicated. 

 Pro Tip
Consistency also enhances efficiency in content creation. Less time and effort is needed to decide on content themes, formats, and designs once a style is established.

What’s more, consistent content will allow for better tracking and analysis of performance metrics. For instance, as a marketer, you can conduct effective A/B testing for elements such as content topics or posting times to optimize your content strategy. 

Measure and adapt

Adopting an ephemeral content strategy can yield immediate results. However, to enhance your audience’s experience and improve brand value and loyalty, it’s important to measure these results and adapt your content to better align with your brand’s goals. 

The digital landscape is a highly competitive space, and trends shift rapidly. While ephemeral content in temporary is nature, it can have long lasting impacts if utilized creatively and efficiently. 

Marketers who effectively measure, learn, and adapt will be best positioned to capture the fleeting yet powerful moments that ephemeral content has to offer.