The Rise of Ephemeral Content in Social Media


Brands ditch high-end social content in favour of 'rough-and-ready' creative and live streaming, to make channels more relatable. Get our low-down on how you can embrace the 'home-made' to create more authentic experiences for your audience.

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen on social media channels in recent years is the way in which people consume content, as the line between social networks and media platforms blurs. Facebook in particular has seen the largest shift. As its audience demographic matures, they have become increasingly likely to take part in ‘dark sharing’, preferring to passively consume content or send links to friends via private messages rather than publicly sharing posts to their profiles.

Across the social landscape as a whole, people are now spending more time messaging and less time sharing news on their profiles. This shift from public to private communication has led to the rising popularity of ephemeral content, shared on platforms like Snapchat, and the rapid growth of Instagram and Facebook stories.

Facebook are now predicting that Messenger and Stories are likely to become the channel’s primary sharing features, surpassing the traditional newsfeed. And with WhatsApp and Instagram stories now boasting a collective 750 million+ users, marketers are going to have to start paying more attention to ‘in-the-moment consumption’ if they want to remain relevant in 2019 and beyond.

In line with this shift, we’ve seen a change in response patterns to our client’s social media campaigns, with audiences favouring personal content that feels authentic and real. It’s good news for marketers, because overly-produced, highly polished posts (that are often expensive to make) aren’t what users are interested in anymore. Instead it’s the ‘home-made’ content that’s driving the most engagement, and the temporary nature of stories feeds makes them the perfect platform for testing out these ideas and finding out what works.

Embrace ‘home-made’ style

It’s time to embrace the personal and start thinking about how you can make your brand relatable, sharing content that feels as if it could have been user-generated and creating story lead posts that engage and inspire. Think off-the-cuff, behind-the-scenes style posts, (the kind of thing users would never expect to see if they visited your official website). Your social channels are the place where they can get ‘something extra’.

Live video goes hand-in-hand with this trend, helping to create an authentic feel for brands and making them appear more relevant and trustworthy. By promoting active, not passive consumption, audiences are encouraged to share live experiences, prompting them to comment and engage as the action unfolds.

What’s more, live video is actively prioritised in social newsfeed algorithms (with users even getting notifications whenever content is being streamed), making it easier for brands to gain reach in crowded newsfeeds. Plus, with new features like Facebook Video Premier and Facebook Watch Parties now available there are more tools than ever to help content creators reach live audiences.

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