What is Ephemeral Content?
Ephemeral Content is any form of digital data such as videos, photos, voice, files or messages that has limited existence. Expiration of their access can be either set by the hosting application or by the author.
The idea is to share content with immediacy and access limitations. Either because the content is not worth saving or because owner does not want his content to be further used by the receiver(s).
Why is it growing?
How many photos do you store on your drive? How many mp3 songs have you downloaded so far? How many messages do you have in your inbox?
Technology has given us immense storage capabilities, yet – subsequently, digital space has grown beyond our consumption capacity. We simply store more data than what we really need.
- According to a research done by Science Daily, 90% of world’s data was generated over last two years.
- Humankind has stored more than 295 billion gigabytes (or 295 exabytes) of data since 1986.
- There are 819,417,600 hours of video added approximately in the 10 years YouTube has been live.
- In 2017, the total number of photos stored is expected to reach 5 trillion.
Ephemeral content is a great way to reduce our digital footprint, optimize storage capacities and avoid creating more junk.
But that is not the only reason!
Privacy and security is another main reason why Ephemeral Content is rising.
”This tape will self-destruct in five seconds”, a signature catchphrase used in Mission Impossible television and film series, and is a great example of how Ephemeral Content can protect your data from falling into the wrong hands (or devices).
An ethical hacker and a friend of mine, Terry Cutler, is a frequent contributor to both national and global media reportage about cyber-crime, spying, security failures, internet scams, and the real social network dangers that families and individuals face every day.
According to him, posting sensitive or private content on the internet has always been a serious concern to everyone. Ephemeral limits these threats.
On more important factor is the fast-paced life style we live in. Ephemeral content is typically closer to what generations Y and Z need: Do More.. Faster!
Here are 10 Ephemeral Content Platforms
Snapchat is considered to be the king of Ephemeral Social Media. More than 60% of U.S 13 to 34 year-old smartphone users are Snapchatters.
It’s an image messaging application software sharing nearly 7 billion daily video views.
Snapchat is primarily used for creating multimedia messages referred to as “snaps”; snaps can consist of a photo or short video, and can be edited to include filters and effects, text captions, and drawings.
A feature known as “Geofilters” allows special graphical overlays to be available if the user is within a certain geographical location, such as a city, event, or destination.
The “Selfie lens” feature, allows users to add real-time effects using face detection into their snaps; they are activated by long-pressing on a face within the viewfinder.
Snaps can be directed to a semi-public “Story”, or sent privately to specific friends; the message can be viewed for a user-specified length of time (1 to 10 seconds) before it becomes inaccessible.
Friends can be added via usernames and phone contacts, using customizable “Snapcodes”, or through the “Add Nearby” function, which scans for users near their location who are also in the Add Nearby menu.
Xpire is a free iOS and Android app that lets you share timed social posts that automatically self-destruct. It works on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr and the company is working on including more social media platforms.
Storyline, another app developed by Xpire, was recently launched to deliver tweets from the past 24 hours and clusters them by user. After a tweet is viewed, it’s removed from Storyline – allowing you to reach “Social Media Zero”.
Confide allows you to communicate sensitive topics with a high level of privacy and security.
It uses military-grade end-to-end encryption to keep your messages safe and to ensure they can only be read by the intended recipients. Messages self-destruct and disappear forever after they are read once. They are screenshot protected too!
Blab is a livestreaming platform that enables a public video chat among four participants at a time. If you are familiar with the likes of Periscope, Meerkat and Google Hangouts, it basically combines all three.
Burner is a mobile application for iOS and Android that allows users to create disposable phone numbers in the U.S. and Canada. The app allows smartphone users to have a phone number that is anonymous and can be thrown away, for purposes such as online ads, while traveling, for business projects, or for dating profiles.
Burner allows users to make phone calls and VoIP calls and send SMS and MMS messages via phone numbers issued through the app.
Users can purchase credits for temporary numbers or add an additional line for an ongoing subscription fee. The Burner Connections features, allow users to integrate their Burner numbers with third-party applications like Slack, Google Sheets, Dropbox, Evernote and SoundCloud. This functionality allows people to automatically archive SMS messages and images, program auto-responses, sync voicemails and more.
With Fade, you can erase any text after the fact it’s been sent and it’ll be immediately removed from your phone and the other person’s phone. It’s as if you never sent it!
The Fade Mode will enable you to add a self-destructing timer to your messages before you send them. End-to-end encryption and screenshot protection are two important features that gives you full control over your conversation.
Quickie is a mobile application for iOS and Android that allows the sending of self-destructing photos, video, drawings or text.
Each message disappears in a few seconds and is totally gone; there is no way to view old messages, and anyone taking screenshots instantly notifies the sender.
8- O.T.R (Off-the-Record Messaging)
OTR is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to view messages for 5 seconds before they disappear. It works for text, video, photos, and other forms of digital content.
9- Periscope (by Twitter, Inc.)
Periscope is an app that lets you share and experience live video streams direct from your smartphone or tablet. It can be used to capture the atmosphere among fans at an important match, to broadcast an unfolding news story or to experience what it’s like to walk down the streets of a city you’re touring.
The immediacy of the app encourages viewers to participate in what’s happening in the video. Viewers do this by sending comments, which the person sharing the video can respond to in real time. This Periscope feature makes for a much more active viewing experience, compared with more traditional ways of experiencing video.
You can explore the videos being broadcasted from different parts of the world through the interactive map feature. This allows you to search for videos by location and find streams of particular events taking place.
Similar to Periscope, Meerkat is an easy-to-use iOS and Android app, which enables users to broadcast live from their smartphones or tablets. Meerkat is linked to your Twitter profile and notifies your followers when you’re livestreaming.
Streams can only be watched live and cannot be replayed or rewound.
WhatsApp Recently Enabled End-to-end Encryption and Facebook Launched Live Video Streaming
Smart and quick reactions from Facebook – parent company of both platforms – in adapting to trending market needs and getting to keep their reign, I believe!
Facebook restricted live streaming to famous people at this stage probably to contain this feature and run it as a pilot test before rolling it out to the masses.
After all, there are over 1.59 billion monthly active Facebook users worldwide.
I have a strong feeling that their intention is to soon enable live streaming to the public and accommodate Ephemeral on their platforms.
What does Ephemeral Content Mean for Marketers?
Riding the Ephemeral wave, today marketers have a huge opportunity to reach and engage with a young and outgoing audience.
Of course, the game here is different. Applying the conventional content creation and effectiveness measuring methods will definitely not work.
Content has to be developed to fit to the particular user experience and immediacy of such media.
Marketers should understand the nature of Ephemeral and provide content that users would actually want to see: Something so interesting and not to be missed.
A good example is to run an instant promotion so that only those who see it will be able to benefit from the offer.
Another idea could be to run a sequence of related content telling an interesting story about your brand. Something that would make the audience tune in and wait to see what’s going to happen next!
You could also go to the extent of developing your own filter or sponsor an effect and give it away to your customers as an exclusive perk.
Ephemeral is content that disappears.. but it’s up to you to make them stick in your audience’s minds!