Last year Facebook launched a new feature called Facebook stories, giving users a new way to show friends and family what they’re up to. At first, it was only available on mobile but now have become available on the desktop version.
Facebook stories are very similar to Instagram and Snapchat stories, which gives users a way to upload quick updates that disappear after 24 hours. While this launch is extremely similar to that of Snapchat stories, they are working hard to differentiate the two. Given the huge success of Instagram stories, it won’t be surprising if Facebook stories soon follows suit.
Related: What are Instagram Stories?
What is Facebook Stories?
Facebook stories consist of photos and videos that will disappear 24 hours after it’s been posted. These posts can be adorned with text, drawings, stickers and filters. However, instead of swiping left and right to switch between filters as it is on Instagram, users swipe up and down. But much like Instagram, once you’re done with your post, you can either share the story with all of your friends, select friends of your choosing, or even choose one individual to share it with.
According to Connor Hayes, the product manager for Facebook stories, “The way people create content is changing to be from text to photos and videos. This is, in turn, changing the way they’re sharing with one another and interacting online.”
Facebook stories are essentially another newsfeed, but instead of text updates, it relies on visual updates. This is where the photos and videos come in. On desktop, the stories can be found on the upper right-hand side of your Facebook feed. On mobile, the stories can be found right at the top above the newsfeed. To view the story, simply click on your friend’s circle and it will play. You can also reply to stories with direct messages.
You can also link your Facebook and Instagram account so that you can simultaneously post stories to both of your profiles. That way you won’t have to manually post to one or the other.
If you’re a brand/company, you can also view how your organic Facebook stories have performed. To find this, go to your Page > Insights > Stories. The Stories Insights will show you:
- Published: The date and time the story was published
- Story Items: A thumbnail of the story
- Status: If the story is still Active or if it has ended
- Unique Story Opens: How many unique users have seen your story
- Forward Taps: The number of times a user has tapped to skip to your next story
- Backward Taps: The number of times a user has tapped to go back to your previous story
- Forward Swipes: The number of times a user has swiped to skip to the next account’s story
- Exits: The number of times a user leaves the stories to return to their newsfeed
However, be sure to check your story insights often – These only remain visible for 14 days!
The Different Facebook Story Formats
Like Instagram stories, Facebook also has the same formats. They are as follows:
- Normal: To take a normal photo for your story, simply tap once on the white circle on the bottom of your screen. To record a video, you hold down the white circle to keep recording.
- Video: With this format, you don’t have to hold down the white circle. Story videos can go up to 20 seconds.
- Boomerang: This option allows you to create a short animation.
- Live: Starting a live video will alert your followers that you are live!
You can also upload media that you already had on your device. This is especially useful to those who want to produce higher quality content.
Facebook Stories Encourages Original Content
Facebook’s introduction of Facebook stories is their way of encouraging more user-generated content. Lately, users have just been sharing news articles or other outside links. With many of its users no longer creating their own content, Facebook hopes that stories will encourage users to increasingly start sharing their own photos and videos once again.
Many social media platforms are looking towards visual, in-the-moment content. Snapchat and Instagram stories are both great examples of this. With almost everyone in possession of a camera in our pocket every day, it’s easy to visually share moments.
Facebook Stories Ads
Now that Facebook stories has 150 million active users per day, Facebook stories ads will become extremely valuable. Advertisers can now easily extend their Instagram stories ads to Facebook stories or have Facebook automatically reformat their already-existing ads to automatically be ready for stories.
With Snapchat’s daily active user count decreasing, this leaves Facebook stories room to grow and eventually grow to the size of Instagram stories. These new stories ads could be the solution to decreasing ad space in the newsfeed.
Facebook stories’ newness means that not many brands are utilizing this ad placement, meaning less competition in the space. CPMs will be lower, and with few brands using this, your brand will stand out amongst the users who are actually watching these stories. The key to sticking out in these ads is the creative, as this will be taking up the user’s whole screen.
While the number of users that actively use Facebook stories is small compared to Instagram stories (150 million people compared to 300 million people respectively), this is only the beginning and can very well increase in the future.
The Stories format is the future of social media. With organic reach continuously decreasing in regular newsfeeds and ad space becoming more and more competitive, stories are starting to become more appealing to brands.
Organically, brands can reach users in a new way instead of hoping that the Facebook algorithm will bring their posts in front of their follower’s eyes. On the advertising side, a new ad placement with lower competition from other brands and a way to creatively show off new offers is extremely appealing. Seeing how the popularity of Instagram stories has grown vastly, it won’t be surprising when Facebook stories follow suit.