Snapchat: Best Practices for Ephemeral Marketing

Samuel Edwards
May 3, 2023

Ephemeral marketing has become an increasingly popular form of digital advertising, especially as more and more individuals utilize social media platforms on a daily basis.

Snapchat is largely responsible for making ephemeral content mainstream due to its focus on disappearing messages and stories that users are able to view only within specific time frames.

This article looks at the rise of Snapchat in relation to ephemeral marketing while also discussing best practices brands can use when engaging with this type of strategy as well as potential risks they may face along the way.

The concept behind ephemerality centers around creating short-term campaigns that leverage high levels of user engagement, excitement, and anticipation among their target audience. 

It includes crafting experiences or promotions that last anywhere from a few seconds to 24 hours, depending on whether they’re shared through images, videos, or written text posts across various social networks.

Understanding Ephemeral Marketing

Using FOMO in your advantage

Ephemeral marketing is a type of content that has a temporary lifespan, often lasting only 24 hours or less.

It does not remain on the web indefinitely as traditional digital marketing typically would, but instead disappears after its set period of time.

Examples include:

  • Stories posted on Snapchat
  • Instagram Reel
  • Live streams hosted by YouTube Live
  • Twitch Streams

All great ways to engage with consumers in real-time interactivity while simultaneously providing them with limited access to promotional material such as discounts or new products before they disappear forever.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Ephemeral marketing provides brands flexibility in delivering creative and dynamic content to their audiences.
  • Its core strength lies in the time-sensitive nature of its campaigns, allowing for greater engagement rates with a sense of urgency that traditional campaigns cannot provide.


  • The downside is that as these messages are temporary, so too will be any impact or benefit derived from them
  • They also require more effort on behalf of marketers owing to the short shelf life each message has before it becomes obsolete.

Despite this challenge, many companies have seen great success using ephemeral marketing due to an increased level of user interaction through creating engaging stories and providing exclusive experiences over shorter bursts compared to other forms of media such as television ads or print magazines.Which actually involves longer processes making crafting effective strategies even trickier - requiring careful planning if executed correctly can reap tremendous rewards.

Comparison with traditional marketing

Ephemeral marketing is different from traditional, static advertising in that it creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

Ephemeral content has a limited lifespan; after the predetermined expiration date, messages are automatically deleted or no longer accessible to the public.

In contrast, most traditional forms of marketing focus on long-term engagement and creating lasting impressions with consumers by utilizing various ad networks such as television commercials or print campaigns.

With ephemeral content there’s less pressure for brands to create perfectly polished ads; instead, they can interact more directly and intimately with their audience through timely responses which often build greater trust than typical advertisements do.

The Rise of Snapchat

Number of snaps created everyday

Since its launch in 2011, Snapchat has risen to become one of the most popular social media messaging platforms.

It allows users to send videos and images that self-destruct either after a few seconds or whenever the user chooses. These features have made it an attractive marketing medium for brands looking to capture their audiences' attention with fleeting moments of content.

By 2020, over 468 million daily active users were accessing Snapchat's innovative video filters and location features, such as Snap Maps. These features provided businesses with powerful opportunities for interactive promotions that enhanced customer experiences significantly above traditional methods like print ads or TV commercials.

How Snapchat changed the marketing landscape

Snapchat statistics

Snapchat started as a photo-messaging app, but it rapidly grew in popularity over the years. Snapchat’s distinct feature of disappearing content has allowed marketers to create hype around campaigns quickly by creating urgency among users who want access before the content disappears forever. 

Additionally, fun filters, lenses, polls, and other interactive experiences allow companies to engage customers on an emotional level and build stronger connections than ever before possible through static ads or email blasts alone.

As such Snapchat is no longer just another social media platform; instead it can be used as an effective tool that helps businesses boost engagement while fostering creativity at every step along the way

Success stories of brands that leveraged Snapchat

Snapping its way to the top, Snapchat has quickly become a powerful force in social media marketing.

Companies of all sizes have seen tremendous success using the platform for ephemeral content and interactive experiences with their target audience.

Notable successes include:

  • Taco Bell's Cinco de Mayo campaign which generated 224 million views in 24 hours
  • Disney Channel promoting exclusive sneak peeks through snaps during an awards show
  • KFC launched product reveals via snap codes on packaging material as part of campaigns throughout 2016-2017.

These stories are evidence that when used correctly Snapchat can be not just effective but also extremely rewarding for brands looking to capitalize upon exciting trends like ephemeral marketing.

Best Practices for Ephemeral Marketing

Interactive Ephemeral content

1. Understanding the target audience

Understanding the target audience is one of the most important best practices for successful ephemeral marketing.

Gathering relevant data about users' interests and behaviors helps marketers tailor content to better engage their viewers.

Knowing who your base demographic is, as well as what platforms they use and how often, allows you to create effective campaigns that inform or entertain them in meaningful ways.

Additionally, understanding where different age groups tend to flock online can help maximize outreach potentials without overspending on ads targeting a wider range than necessary.

2. Focusing on storytelling

Storytelling is an essential part of ephemeral marketing.

It allows brands to tell their story in a more personal and engaging way by creating content with emotion, humor, or other forms of storytelling that resonate better with audiences than traditional ads do.

Brands should focus on having dynamic visuals to draw viewers’ attention as well as quality sound for those watching without headphones since it has a shorter time duration compared to the last-longer type of video such as YouTube videos.

Also important is utilizing relevant hashtags so users can find the stories faster and reach a wider audience base through user-generated tagging systems used commonly in platforms like Instagram Stories & TikTok Reels.

3. Providing exclusive content

Exclusive content can help brands create a sense of urgency and drive engagement with their audiences. It also builds an element of exclusivity that encourages users to return or stay tuned in order to see upcoming updates, offers, new products etc.

Brands should provide unique experiences that cannot be found anywhere else so they stand out from competitors while offering something valuable to customers at the same time.

4. Leveraging influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing

By working with micro-influencers who have a direct connection to the target audience, brands are able to reach more potential customers in less time due to their already-established reputation and influence.

Furthermore, collaborating with multiple influencers offers greater visibility, as each content post can potentially increase engagement from followers across different social media platforms. 

Ultimately, these connections help drive conversions while amplifying messages beyond traditional advertising opportunities like television or print ads.

5. Creating interactive experiences

Creating interactive experiences should be a cornerstone of any ephemeral marketing strategy. To engage and keep the audience engaged, consider using Snapchat-specific features such as lenses or filters.

Also use calls to action in your stories - ask people to:

  • Share their snaps with you
  • Participate in polls or contests
  • Comment on your story
  • Others

It allows users to interact directly with content they find interesting and useful while building engagement around it overall.

6. Utilizing analytics to measure success

Utilizing analytics to measure success is an important best practice for ephemeral marketing.

This involves tracking metrics like engagement rate, views, and impressions to gauge how effective the campaign has been.

Brands should also monitor different platforms and channels used in their campaigns as well as any user-generated content that could provide valuable insights into a brand's performance over time. 

By effectively using data, marketers can make better decisions about campaigning on Snapchat or other social networks with a limited shelf life of content.

Challenges and Risks

1. Privacy concerns

Privacy concerns are a significant challenge for ephemeral marketing. Due to Snapchat's transient nature, messages, photos, and videos shared may not be immediately available as proof should any issues arise due to user disclosure or misuse of content by third parties.

Furthermore, companies that run campaigns across multiple social media platforms need to consider how different privacy regulations could affect them when distributing their message on local markets with varying laws governing customer data protection and usage rights.

2. Limited lifespan of content

One of the main challenges associated with ephemeral marketing is its limited lifespan.

Snapchat’s stories only last for 24 hours, and other platforms have their own specific guidelines on how long content lasts before it expires or gets replaced by newer posts.

This forces marketers to be creative in order to maximize visibility among target audiences - often requiring multiple iterations so that messages can reach as many people as possible within a short period of time.

Additionally, because consumers are used to getting fresh new content every day, brands must continuously develop unique ideas and strategies to produce trending pieces while remaining relevant.

3. Keeping up with updates and changes

Keeping up with updates and changes is an ongoing challenge for marketers utilizing ephemeral marketing.

Platforms such as Snapchat are constantly evolving, introducing new features or making design tweaks that require companies to stay current in order to keep their campaigns effective.

Marketers must be aware of all major releases from any platforms they use so that the overall campaign strategy isn’t compromised by out-of-date materials or missing newly released tools.


In conclusion, ephemeral marketing provides a unique way for brands to get creative and build more personal relationships with their target audiences. Snapchat was one of the first major players to popularize it, leveraging its features to innovate how we market products today.

When done correctly, influencer marketing can provide many benefits, including increased reach from exclusive content and interactive experiences and higher conversion rates. However, certain challenges still exist, such as privacy concerns or the limited lifespan of content, so brands need to be aware before fully committing resources to this type of approach.

After all these years, Snapchat remains an integral part of any successful digital strategy. It informs us about new trends even now, saying much about the resilience behind them despite changes along the road.


Samuel Edwards

Chief Marketing Officer

Throughout his extensive 10+ year journey as a digital marketer, Sam has left an indelible mark on both small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises alike. His portfolio boasts collaborations with esteemed entities such as NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Price Benowitz LLP, a prominent law firm based in Washington, DC, and the esteemed human rights organization Amnesty International. In his role as a technical SEO and digital marketing strategist, Sam takes the helm of all paid and organic operations teams, steering client SEO services, link building initiatives, and white label digital marketing partnerships to unparalleled success. An esteemed thought leader in the industry, Sam is a recurring speaker at the esteemed Search Marketing Expo conference series and has graced the TEDx stage with his insights. Today, he channels his expertise into direct collaboration with high-end clients spanning diverse verticals, where he meticulously crafts strategies to optimize on and off-site SEO ROI through the seamless integration of content marketing and link building.