Blink and you’ll miss it: How to get the most out of short-lived social content

In 2007 Joel Davis founded Europe's first social media agency, agency:2. The agency has rapidly grown to become an award-winning business with a wide range of leading global clients including Mattel, Microsoft, Sony, Turner and Hillarys. Joel Davis is also co-founder and CEO of Mighty Social, a social ad tech company that takes social ad performance to the next level. Mighty Social creates leading edge digital strategies that push the boundaries of what brands can achieve with innovative social media advertising. Mighty Social has won the Red Herring 100 Europe for the last two years for their use of a patent-pending AI super-tool - The Atom - that is building smarter custom audiences at scale. They are also classed as one of the FT1000 Europe’s Fastest Growing companies.

It is no secret that social media marketing is an ever-moving target. Up until recently there was a firm belief that the longer content remained accessible the more impactful it would be. Now, as counterintuitive as it may sound, there is a swing towards short-lived content, which has to do with Instagram’s rise in popularity.

Instagram is increasingly being seen by brands as a dynamic platform from which to share their more informal side in an almost off-hand manner. Instagram is fully ingrained in our culture; celebrities make major announcements from it, people share their holiday photos on it, and even an egg has managed to find a way to cause a stir on it.

The figures speak for themselves. One third of the most viewed Instagram stories are currently from brands, and in a recent survey 96% of US marketers claim they plan to continue using Stories ads in the next six months.

Short-lived content has a tendency to make you stop what you are doing for a minute and  devote all your attention on something that is about to disappear for good. This is not just about creating a sense of immediacy either as short-lived content also acts as an ideal gateway to long-form, long-life content.

So how exactly can marketers tap into this blink-and-miss-it marketing trend?


Whilst short-lived content may have an off-the-cuff, just-caught-on-camera aura about it, to truly have impact it requires a lot of strategic thought. It needs to appear impromptu, fresh and topical and it needs to be regular. It also needs to be telling a consistent and evolving story to really keep people interested.

Ideally short-lived content should leave an indelible ‘first’ impression and lead customers to want to find out more. This is where long-form content comes into play. The strategy should always take this kind of holistic approach to ensure engagement and conversion take place.

Be real

Consumers crave authenticity. Hard-sell, infomercial style advertising won’t work. Ads need to be authentic and organic, so that customers don’t feel they’re being sold to — better still, shed the smoke screens and let your audience feel they are discovering something.

Whilst organisations may want to keep their ‘backstage’ content away from their customers, this is in fact the time to step out into the limelight, warts and all. Sharing personal stories about a brand, introducing team members and taking customers behind-the-scenes are genuine ways of engaging with them on a meaningful level.


Behind-the-scenes videos give audiences a glimpse into a brand’s culture and values, and the fact that they are short-lived generates a real fear of missing out and a sense of ‘watch it now or never’. In fact brands are right to harness this sense of urgency. In this era of information overload we are all guilty of bookmarking a link with the intention of ‘checking it out later’ and never getting around to it.

Quality over quantity

Attracting the right audience is of course key. There is little point in having a large number of followers if they are not likely to convert into customers. Reaching the right audience with the right message is the first step. The next one is to remember you only have a short time to capture your audience’s attention. Make sure any Instagram story has a good hook and a compelling CTA to drive interest and get that coveted conversion.

There are excellent AI tools, such as the ATOM, that can reveal insights to better pinpoint the right Instagram influencer to collaborate with through to identify an active community of Instagram followers most likely to be interested in a specific brand’s service or products.

As Instagram continually enhances its platform for users and advertisers alike marketers are rapidly shifting their mindset towards this new style of ‘Blink-and-miss-it’ marketing, which no doubt will soon be superseded by some new trend.

As seasoned social media ad professionals – we are quite used to this by now.  

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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