Facebook Stories. It doesn’t really sound like anything new, does it? But for those not accustomed to keeping up with the latest social media updates, Facebook actually only adopted the story format at the end of March 2017.
So, why have they added this new function to their app? Well, in short, it’s Facebook’s answer to Snapchat. Immensely popular with millennials, Snapchat’s number of daily active users reached 158 million in February, and although that might not seem a lot compared to Facebook’s 1.15 billion daily users, Facebook are keen to appeal to more of Snapchat’s main user demographic.
However, despite the story feature already proving a success on Instagram, are stories really right for Facebook? To help you decide, here’s everything you need to know about Facebook Stories.
What are Facebook Stories?
Facebook Stories allow users to continuously update their friends and followers by adding images and videos to their ‘story’, found at the top of the Facebook newsfeed. Users can add fun filters, overlay responsive lenses or add geolocation visuals to their images and videos, which can then either be added to their stories, sent to friends directly or published as Facebook posts. Once sent, the images and videos can be viewed only twice before they expire after 24 hours. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
So, why introduce the story feature? Well, evidence suggests that the function is incredibly popular. First introduced by Snapchat in 2013, then adopted by Instagram in 2016, both companies saw a surge in growth after introducing the feature. However, since Instagram added their story function, Snapchat’s growth has slowed by 82%. In contrast, Instagram Stories recorded a whopping 100 million daily active users in just two months.
There are also great opportunities for advertising within the story setup, with ads fitting seamlessly between other users’ stories. Yet, with Instagram’s 375 million daily active users compared with Snapchat’s 158 million, it’s not surprising that more brands are opting to take their business to the open network of Instagram, rather than the closed network of Snapchat. What’s more, if it’s numbers that are going to impress businesses, this all bodes very well for Facebook.
Are stories right for Facebook?
Despite the obvious cloning of Snapchat, the addition of stories to Facebook could be a smart move for the social channel. Although 68% of US adults between the ages of 18-29 are on Facebook, the channel is said to be becoming less popular with younger audiences. So, why not give teenagers the ability to use Facebook just like their other favourite social media apps? As the way we communicate continues to evolve, Facebook is adapting their channel to stay relevant and appeal to a greater number of people.
However, the app’s new addition does have its critics. Facebook is well known for having a vast number of users; many of us have hundreds of Facebook friends, some of whom we may not really know. Facebook’s user-generated content is on the decline, with ever fewer users updating their statuses or adding images to their profiles. Instead, users are sharing blogs, news and content generated by others. So, do Facebook users really want to be sharing personal updates about their daily lives on such an open platform? Or are they simply happier sharing their images on more private networks like Snapchat and Instagram? With Instagram’s overnight success, it’s not surprising Facebook are trying to move towards a more image-centric form of communication. We’ll just have to wait and see if it really works for them.
Smart move or underwhelming addition? Let us know what you think of Facebook Stories via Twitter!
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