This is the fourth post in my series on beliefs the DAM community has developed over time that need to be reassessed.

In this post, I'll talk about another belief: that ephemeral content has only ephemeral value. After all, if our latest Facebook ad is hyperpersonalized and contextualized, what's the point of keeping it around?

It turns out that just because content is ephemeral, that doesn't mean it's value is short-lived. This is tied very closely to the importance of programmatic content creation I talked about in part 3 of this series. But before we dig into the nature of ephemeral content, let's look at traditional content first.

Historically, content was carefully curated and created, expensive, and long-lasting, like the famous Baz Luhrman campaign featuring Nicole Kidman for Chanel. It's beautiful; take a three minute break and enjoy it!

Nicole Kidman N°5

When you have a relatively small number of high value content pieces, like TV commercials or show episodes, it's somewhat manageable to rely on spreadsheets and the tribal knowledge of your team to keep track of your content, find it down the road, and manually work through processes like securing usage rights. And if it costs tens to hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to create a piece of content, the cost of that management effort is a relative pittance. It's obviously not ideal, but it's not impossible, either.

Once your marketing campaign is over, the value of the content you’ve created diminishes significantly, except perhaps as inspiration for a new campaign. So your value curve looks something likes this: a long period over which you're capturing value, but a quick drop.

Long value capture peak, short tail

But most of the eyeballs today are shifting to more ephemeral content – social, mobile, in the moment, highly personalized, not as broadly applicable over a long period and a wide audience. Let's take a tour through some market stats.

In the US alone, all the growth in media consumption is in digital:

Media consumption

And this isn't just a US trend of course. In China, internet consumption as a percent of total media consumption grew from 30% to over 50% over the last few years.

Internet consumption in China

And on a global basis, this year ad spend online is expected to exceed TV – of course, ad spend is a lagging indicator of where consumer attention is.

Global Ad Spendage

The only way to deliver so much more content is with the more programmatic approach I discussed in the last post. And when you design content for remixing, it's by definition much more reusable. So even if the same exact execution doesn't surface again and again, variations on it will. That means you'll get more value out of the content you create over time, even if each piece is less valuable than before, as shown below.

Short peak, long tail

But of course to reuse content, it needs to be stored, found, and easily recombined into something new. If that sounds like a job for DAM, you're right! So start saving your ephemeral content!

In part 5 of this series, we'll tackle imagery – is it still the key content type in DAM? Stay tuned!

If you’re enjoying this series, I’d love to chat with you about DAM trends, and what you can do about them, at the DAM LA 2017 conference next week! I will be speaking more about the ideas in this series in a Keynote on Day 1; and on the vendor panel on Day 2. I look forward to seeing you there!