Stories & Live Videos – Ephemeral Content And Your Business

Stories and Live Videos have proliferated Social Media recently. They are extremely popular features on their respective platforms. Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook all have different versions of the same feature. No doubt you’ve tinkered around with them yourself, probably when you’ve had a few too many and you post an Instagram story that you’ll later regret the next morning.

The great thing about your drunken Instagram Story is that it will be gone within 24 hours, no need to sweat it. This is the nature of Ephemeral Content, it is temporary content, content that will disappear into the ether, and it is all the rage at the moment. More and more brands around the world are realising the power of Ephemeral Content and are starting to utilise it. But is it right for your business? After all, you will be putting resources into content that will disappear. In this blog, I will discuss the why and how Ephemeral Content works, the Pros and Cons of Ephemeral Content, all to make your decision on whether to implement it or not easier for you. If you’re short on time here’s a quick outline of the points of this blog:

Ephemeral Content works because it evokes an immediate response from the user due to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The content is also mobile-orientated, creation is in the hands of the user.  
The Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Fun
  • Authentic

The Cons

  • A Long-Term Strategy is required
  • Creativity/skill needed
  • Time/budget is required

Why does Ephemeral Content work?

Ephemeral Content first became popular through the rise of SnapChat (2011). Facebook and Instagram followed suit, with stories and live videos. Now it is the hottest trend in Digital Marketing. Users are becoming increasingly aware that everything you post online is stored forever and scrutinised by others. Stories and Live Videos vanish after a short period, this is their strength. It encourages people to be more playful and raw with their posts. It is content that is more personable. For example in Live Videos, there is a sense that anything can happen. So users watch to get a deeper insight, a ‘behind the scenes’ view.

At the 2016 Grammy Awards, Gwen Stefani teamed up with Target to shoot the first ever live music video. The video was shot in one take and promoted by Facebook Live.

The fact that the content will disappear forever also evokes a strong sense of FOMO, something which has been used in Marketing for years. For stories and live videos, the power of creation is in the hands of the user, their mobile. Vertical videoing, filters, GIFs, stickers etc mean that you don’t need a production team to craft a creative piece of content. This has democratised content creation and allowed users to express themselves on their platform of choice. This appeals to the new active consumer, a topic I’ve written about before: The Active Consumer And Your Business.

Trigger Movement - Stories
Content creation in the hands of the users

Platforms encourage users to create stories and live videos by promoting the content further. Ephemeral Content appears on a separate feed compared to regular posts. You also get notified when a friend or page you follow ‘goes live’. This all sounds good, doesn’t it? But is this something your business should be involved in? To help you decide I’ve listed some of the pros and cons.    


  • Inexpensive – Production costs are low. The mobile phone you are reading this on or is more than likely in your pocket is good enough to handle all stages from creation to implementation. Videos are an ever increasingly popular form of content, Ephemeral Content can be a cost-effective way of you introducing video into your content strategy.
  • Fun – At the heart of the content is its enjoyment. There is less pressure due to the short-term nature and there are also added features like voice changers, filters and stickers to mess around with. Have fun with the content.
  • Authentic – Users trust the content more as it less curated. Behind the scenes, Q&As, and User Generated Content like branded stickers and filters. This type of content is a perfect chance for you to show a more personal side to your brand. Be you.


  • Long-Term Strategy required – The content disappears so you have to have a strategy to continue posting. I can’t remember most of the content I see on a daily basis, but I can remember the brands I follow. You need to have a long-term strategy to tell your brand’s story through Ephemeral Content.
  • Creativity/skill needed – Because you can’t reuse content as it disappears ie. a Live Video. You need to be a bit more creative in the types of content you create. As mentioned above you need a long-term strategy, this will mean regular content. You need to be creative in what type of content you share with your users, otherwise, you could end up wasting their time.
  • Time/budget – While it is inexpensive, Ephemeral Content will still require a certain amount of resources and time. You will have to devote time to creating and posting stories. You will also have to allot time for live videos, and due to their unpredictable nature, anything can happen.

Decision Time

The rise of ephemeral content has been swift, and we as marketers are still learning of its power, but it is here to stay. If you’d like to see some good examples of brands using ephemeral content check out these Instagram pages: Red Bull, Sports Center, Converse and Twitter (Yes Twitter use Instagram). Hopefully, this blog has shed some of the positives and negatives to make your decision of whether it’s right for your business easier. If you do decide to use Ephemeral content in your content strategy you need to have a plan of not only how to implement it, but also how you’re going to generate leads/sales. This is something I will discuss in another blog as I feel I’ve written the word ‘ephemeral’ enough for today.