Are “stories” really the future of social media?

Snapchat launched in 2011…
As a weird sexting chat app.

Remember that?

Then in 2013, Snapchat gifted the world with
stories.

Even if Snapchat never becomes the next Facebook or Instagram
they’ve already changed social media forever.

Last quarter Zuckerberg and company reported that Facebook and
Messenger “stories” had 500
million DAU
(daily active users).

That’s a really big number.

It also means Facebook’s main app is probably already the
biggest story platform, measured by DAU.

Source: Techcrunch +
Facebook

The number ties them with the other two leading story platforms,
which Facebook happens to own (Instagram and WhatsApp).

So why is Facebook #1 already if they are reportedly tied with
their other owned platforms?

I’m looking at trajectory when I say this. Facebook only had
300 million DAUs about 6 months ago. They’re DAU growth rate is
pretty massive.

How has Facebook created massive story numbers out of nowhere?
Easy, they are forcing you to use stories.

They are using pure pixel power to “help” users to get
comfortable with stories. Whether we like it or not.

The Facebook Story Push

Here’s a glimpse of what you have probably seen at the top of
your Facebook app over the past year or so.

Walk with me for a moment.

Early 2017

This is what your Facebook app use to look like before stories.
You have search, then a prompt to post your status, then content in
that rare but dying animal known as the feed.

Early 2017 Late 2017

In late 2017, Facebook saw the SnapChat writing on the wall.
Stories were doing magical things at Instagram and really ramping
up over at WhatsApp. So they too about 10% of your home screen and
gave it to stories.

Late 2017 2018

As time went on and Facebook realized how important stories
could be with their “new ad money” and “high engagement”
things started to get serious. Stories double in size and got super
elegant with rounded corners.

2018 2019

And then, somewhat recently Facebook was all like “hey you,
70% of people using the app that are ignoring our cool stories! Try
to ignore this!”

That’s what I’m guessing at least. Here’s what you
probably see today (June, 2019).

Early 2019

Watching social networks change this drastically is kind of
amazing to witness. Stories are a huge shift away from scrolling
through “the feed” that most of us associate with social
networks.

  • Stories are less social and yet somehow more engaging.
  • Stories stick around for less time and take more effort to
    create.
  • Stories take up more of your screen and less of your time.

It’s fascinating.

Is The Future of Social Going To Be Stories Or Not?

Solid question reader.

Here is what I know.

Vertical video is not going anywhere.

We spend way too much time
on our phones
and a lot of that time is
increasingly
ending in purchasing items from companies trying
to sell us things.

Vertical video in general is just too engaging to go away.
Stories are the defacto way we engage with vertical video right
now. That is, until
TikTok overtakes SnapChat
and Facebook freaks out again.

Will it last? Will we get too stressed out and stop creating
stories? Will we all move to some sort of 360 mixed reality
OASIS?

The
numbers
tell us that the story format is a very important part
of social media time spent and your business should have a plan for
it.

Story vs. Feed Content

The question is, how much of our social media time is spent in
stories vs. old school social media content, AKA the feed.

One key benchmark study I love from
RivalIQ
shows us that the feed is still getting 300% to 400% of
the reach that stories get (for pages).

That’s great news for the feed. It’s still a significant
engagement channel.

Yet, stories consistently show a higher conversion and click
through rate based on all the reports and analytics I’ve
seen.

The painful new reality for businesses is that social media is
continuing to fragment. More social networks. More content
formats.

One simple way to think about it is this:

  1. The feed is better for reach, and awareness.
    Brand, if you will.
  2. Stories are better for engagement and clicks
    and conversion.

Both are important and valuable. And your mileage
will vary.

Stories are here to stay for a little while (probably
forever).

If you’re not creating story content AND feed content,
you’re missing a piece of the pie. At a minimum you should be
looking at the story content of your competitors and testing
something in story formats.

If you’re serious about creating conversion from social, you
need to be experimenting with story ads.

This is not a test. Stories are here to stay.

Source: FS – Social Media Blogs 2
Are “stories” really the future of social media?