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The growing phenomenon of disappearing content

The growing phenomenon of disappearing content

The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. This fortnightly update shares top tips to help you foster creative and challenge the status quo and summarises the news that matters.

Disappearing content is everywhere. But do not adjust your set; do not restart your phone – it’s all part of the design.

The phenomenon of pictures and videos intended to time out after a set period first appeared in the form of Snapchat Stories, all the way back in October 2013. And the format immediately took off. The popularity of this ephemeral way of sharing immediately appealed to users, with Instagram and Facebook adopting their own Stories offering three years later.

Stories allow users to share short videos and images of almost anything with a particular emphasis on their everyday life – whether it is a business, personal account, or a user amplifying and promoting their content to reach a wider audience.

They are considered an easy way to share user experiences and insights to create a closer relationship and community with your following. They are also generally temporary and expire after 24 hours (although in some cases, there are ways of keeping them to view in an archive / highlight format) and can only be created on mobiles.

As the format continues in its ascent, this week we’re providing a round-up on the Story offerings from the tech titans.


Say ‘Story’, think ‘Instagram’? Think again. Back in February of this year, job platform LinkedIn announced its intentions to use the feature in a professional context. Much like most platforms the functionality appears at the bar along the top of the main feed, and various stickers and tool are available to decorate your Stories frame.

This feature is still being tested and it is only available in Australia, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates at the moment.

Will this mean ‘burn after reading’ candidate pitches? ‘First to view gets the job’ video uploads? We’ll watch to see how this develops.


The most well-established user of the Stories feature is Instagram, with roughly half of its users interacting with stories on a daily basis.

And the leader is constantly thinking of ways to evolve one of its most successful features. Last week TechCrunch reported that the social media platform is now testing a feature that will allow Instagram users to see more Stories at once with a home screen featuring only Stories.

It is worth noting that one third of the most viewed Stories are from businesses and Instagram is the second-most downloaded free app in the Apple store (sitting just behind YouTube).


As the owner of Instagram, Facebook’s Stories (introduced in 2017) unsurprisingly mirrors Instagram’s and has also confirmed it is testing the ‘all Stories’ display feature.


As reported by Social Media Today, Twitter is the latest social media giant to jump on the Stories bandwagon. Its version of Stories is called Fleets, and stands out due to its ability to merge two creators into a ‘double-bubble’ with the contributors content merging into a single stream.

As explained by Twitter, “we are trying this to understand how people might use this new way of having conversations in Fleets, as part of our bigger efforts to better serve the public conversation and encourage people to share fleeting thoughts.”

Akin to other platforms, the idea is that everyone can see the conversation for 24 hours before disappearing. Fleets has been rolled out to Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea so far.


On the video-sharing platform, Stories expire after seven days and they are only available to creators with at least 10,000 subscribers. The intention here is for users to connect with their community on a more casual basis.

Want to discover more? Watch an overview on YouTube stories here

Tool of the week

With the easing of lockdown restrictions in England seeing pub visits put back on the menu, this week’s featured tool is a bumper face mask special, with not one, but two, tools of interest:

  • With COVID-19 numbers continuing to increase in the US, Facebook’s displaying new top-of-feed prompts in both Facebook and Instagram, encouraging US users to wear masks when they venture out
  • For anyone concerned that masks might stymie their newly re-found eating and drinking out freedom, this zip-up mask lets you eat and drink without de-masking. It remains to be seen how this might impact virus spread – but its an indication of the types of product innovation we can expect to see in the coming months

Top tip

This week’s tip comes from Account Director, Ellie Day.

As the brains behind Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo, animation studio Pixar knows a thing or two about powerful storytelling.

That’s why the golden list of storytelling secrets compiled by the company’s former Story Artist Emma Coats is such a rich source of inspiration for anyone looking to get a message heard.

The tips range from human psychology (“You admire a character for trying more than for their successes”) to the eternal question: “Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.”

If you’re looking to shake up your own ways of communicating, find the full list of 22 rules here.

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