Trends Go Social part 3: Teenagers 'acting up' and the battle for EPHEMERAL marketing


Image sources: (feature), Tech Crunch (final image)

Our series with We Are Social has seen us dive into the intrinsic relationship between four of our mega-trends and the social trends that are shaping the consumer landscape right now. This next edition explores two more, PLAYSUMERS and EPHEMERAL - looking at how a new teen craze could shaoe

Missed the first two instalments and want to get the full picture (including our definition of a Trend Framework, and why you need one)? Check out Part One (STATUS SEEKERS and BETTERMENT) and Part Two (YOUNIVERSE and LOCAL LOVE).



PLAYSUMERS: who said business had to be boring? The desire for fun, surprise and humour are fundamental human needs, spanning all cultures and countries. Entertaining or unexpected products, services and campaigns that make life more enjoyable allow brands to capture consumers' scarcest resource – their attention.

Play and sociability go hand-in-hand. And now, thanks to the familiarity and acceptance of near-instant, digitally-enabled encounters (dating and beyond), connection can happen just as easily in the online space as it can in the 'real' world.

Combine this with terror threats, public health emergencies, political conflict, climate change and rising income inequality (to name but a few of the challenges impacting consumers’ daily lives) brands that can offer some respite from reality – no matter how brief – will be welcomed.

The We Are Social perspective

Few platforms get sillier than, a lip syncing app that has taken pre-teens by storm. is a great way for people to share the music they love and do it in their own style. It’s become a great platform for young people to express their creativity - to feel like they can put on a show and act a bit silly. The combination of music and self expression makes it instantly shareable, too.

The fact the platform has a single use means users can be a bit more comfortable with acting up, which they might not do on Snapchat or Instagram. We’ve all sung along to tracks in our bedrooms — haven’t we?! - this is just an extension of that.

The way works means it’s always full of the latest tracks and what’s popular - it acts as a barometer of what’s on trend. It’s a platform which can really enhance the relationship between the fans and the artist, which in turn can give brands a chance to get involved and serve up relevant content or offers. Celebrities including Ariana Grande, Megan Trainer and Kylie Jenner already use the platform to raise their profile and connect with fans. has huge potential for entertainment brands and celebrities. Brands may struggle to take it seriously at this stage, but until very recently Snapchat was dismissed as a kiddie platform, and now it’s a major player.



EPHEMERAL explores why consumers will embrace the here, the now, and the soon-to-be-gone.

What does this mean? Ceaseless connectivity has fractured consumers' relationship with time and irrevocably altered attention spans (which have, on average, fallen to 8 seconds, down from 12 in the year 2000, Microsoft, Jan 2016). While consumers will seek to speed through some experiences, and slow down to savor others, one constant objective remains: to extract maximum value from every moment.

Fleeting content and real-time streaming (think Snapchat and Periscope) allow consumers to weave the real and the digital worlds together whilst experimenting with endless new forms expression. And primed by the on-demand, ephemeral nature of these platforms, consumers seek bite-size interactions – across all industries – better suited to their busy lifestyles.

The We Are Social perspective

The battle for ephemeral marketing is definitely on. Facebook Live vs Periscope for live streaming, and Facebook and Instagram v Snapchat on everything else. Facebook and Instagram have been locked in a pitched battle with Snapchat for months with repeated attempts to copy features and ensure users don’t abandon the more permanent platforms. Facebook initially ran a trial of ‘quick updates’ which would expire after 24 hours but abandoned the attempt a few months later.


A couple of weeks on, Instagram launched Stories for ‘imperfect sharing’ of images that expire after 24 hours. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom openly admitted they’d completely copied it from Snapchat, telling Techcrunch: “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

The jury is out on which platform will prove most successful with brands. Nike claims it generated 800,000 views in 24 hours for an Instagram Story, compared to just 66,000 views on Snapchat for its 'best' story. But other brands like Burberry are sticking to the original platform. The luxury fashion brand stubbornly stood by Snapchat for its recent MyBurberry campaign, using Instagram just to signpost to the other platform.


We Are Social's research and resources offer a unique combination of skills and experience across marketing, creative and technical disciplines, all grounded in a deep understanding of social. You can read more on their social thinking here.

You can also sign up for We Are Social’s Think Forward Event on November 3rd. This free event, featuring talks from Trendwatching and IBM, will be held at We Are Social’s offices in Finsbury Square, London. Register your interest at the Eventbrite page.

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