Dec 20 Facebook Stories: Should We Give Them A Chance?
Ah, Facebook. They always keep it interesting. From the constant cycling of features to the incessant changing of algorithms, the top social media network always manages to keep brands on their toes when it comes to reaching audiences (or even using the platform at all). Our latest obstacle: Facebook Stories, the platform’s favorite content sharing feature that gets its own special feed at the very top of the page and looks eerily similar to the story features on Snapchat and Instagram.
Facebook Stories aren’t new. Facebook rolled out its version of stories in March 2017. So why does it feel like we’re just now seeing them everywhere? And why haven’t they taken off with brands? Many users agree that there is just something off-putting about Facebook Stories. Maybe it’s the way it feels like the social network is too late to jump on the bandwagon for a feature we love from other platforms. Maybe it’s how we feel like we’re being bombarded by them and we can’t escape (which isn’t your imagination, by the way; more on that later). Whatever it is, Facebook has made it clear that they aren’t going anywhere.
Which brings us to our original question: should we give Facebook Stories a chance?
Well, the numbers don’t lie. Facebook Stories are undeniably popular, with over 500 million viewers interacting daily. There are more people using Facebook Stories than the original story creator, Snapchat. That’s largely because Facebook wants so badly for Stories to be popular. As previously mentioned, you’re not crazy for feeling like Facebook Stories are suddenly everywhere. What started as small story circles at the top of your feed has expanded over the past few years to take up a huge chunk of the Facebook feed real estate. Facebook knows we have been intentionally avoiding opening stories at all costs and the platform formatting changes are an attempt to remedy that. On that note, the size of these story thumbnails raises the concern that the drastic increase in viewers is potentially due more to people who may be less familiar with social platforms accidentally tapping on them rather than real, intentional engagement.
Whatever the case may be, Facebook isn’t going to let us ignore stories. And begrudgingly, we may want to admit to ourselves that if you can’t beat them, you should join them. If Facebook is going to be pushing their Stories feature so hard, while continuing to diminish both organic and paid reach for brands, then it makes sense to cash in on the free boost, especially if your consumer base is largely on Facebook. Facebook has even created cross-platform integration with Instagram, meaning that stories created on Instagram can be shared to Facebook automatically with almost all of the same functionality (GIFs, polls, music, geotagging, link sharing, etc.). This is great news if your audience is a combination of both avid Facebook fans and those who prefer to watch Stories on Instagram. It can only result in more eyes as long as the story feed keeps getting bigger and taking up prime real estate at the top of everyone’s screen.