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Here and there you hear that fashions are ephemeral. New ones drive the old ones out. But what is Ephemeral Marketing? Is it something like a new marketing strategy that drives old ones out? No, it’s not.

As per Oxford, Ephemeral means something that lasts for a very short time, exactly opposite of eternal. So Ephemeral Marketing means a strategy that lasts for a very short time? Again you got it wrong. Not your fault, the naming is bit confusing.

So What is Ephemeral Marketing?

Ephemeral Marketing aka Temporary Social Media is a strategy where the ad or content you want to show your customers or potential customers last for a very short time, even as short as 10 seconds. You share something, you set a deadline that is very short, and then the shared content is gone. That’s it. You must have used Snapchat, you share a picture of yours to your girlfriend, you set a timer, she sees it, and the picture is gone.

It’s good to have this feature when you’re sharing something that is private but how come the world made a marketing strategy out of it, not to mention that the world has named it also?

In today’s scenario where companies fight and invest hugely so that more and more people can see their products, how is it possible that there’s a successful marketing strategy where same companies are sharing something that lasts for few seconds, and they are happy with it? Quite confusing!!!

Why Does Ephemeral Marketing Work?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were shown a coupon code that’ll last only for a day? If yes, chances are that you would have rushed to the store and used it to buy something, even when you didn’t need it.  Just by setting a timer, the store made you buy a product that you didn’t even want. If you had a 30% off coupon, and you bought something of $150; just to save $45, you ended up paying $105.

So what’s the science behind this? Ephemeral Marketing runs on Cognitive Bias of Scarcity Heuristic. When time is scarce, people are prone to use heuristics in general. When time is perceived to be short, politicians can also exploit the scarcity heuristic.

The Bush administration used a variation of this theme in justifying the rush to war in Iraq: “time is running out for Saddam and unless we stop him now he will use his WMD against us”.

The Scarcity Rule is the sales tool that is most obvious to us when we see advertising terms including, “Sale ends June 30th”; “The First Hundred People Receive…”; “Limited Time Only”; “Offer Expires”. To summarize this paragraph up, they rush you and you end up making some irrational decisions.

How Does Ephemeral Marketing Work?

The most common tool where you can use this kind of strategy is Snapchat. You can share a photo of a discount code that’ll last only for 10 seconds. Lucky people will have what they need, and others will sit and wait. The good thing is that it has been successfully tested as well.

An NYC-based yogurt shop 16 Handles ran a promotion with Snapchat, whereby customers were asked to take a Snapchat image of them eating one of the company’s yogurts on site and then send it to the company’s Snapchat account. The company would automatically send a Snapchat image of a discount coupon back to each user’s account. The recipients wouldn’t know the exact discount amount. It might vary from 16%-100% unless they purchased the product, as the voucher would only be shown for 10 seconds. The campaign worked out pretty well for 16 Handles, and it had established more than 1400 new connections. Quite amazing, doesn’t it?

Acura is also aware of this strategy. In its snapchat account, it released a six seconds video of its NSX model to those first 100 people who added Acura to their Snapchat account.

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