Facebook Adopts the Stories Feature – Threat to Instagram Stories & Snapchat?
In August, Instagram launched “Instagram Stories” to encourage people to share more moments throughout their day. The feature pretty much took a page directly out of Snapchat’s playbook, and now, Facebook is adding Stories to its main app, directly above the feed making it nearly impossible to ignore.
According to TechCrunch, the new feature will allow users to share ephemeral photos and videos in a slideshow that disappears 24 hours later. Essentially, the same way Stories function on Instagram and Snapchat.
It was recently announced that 150 million Instagrammers use Stories on a daily basis, which is about 25% of all Instagram users. With Facebook quickly approaching 2 billion users, Stories are likely going to be a big part of the Facebook experience in 2017.
Copying vs. Evolving
When Instagram introduced Stories, many people claimed it was directly copying Snapchat. In a way, it was. But this type of “copying” happens all the time in the tech world, especially from one major social platform to the next. Instagram’s founder, Kevin Systrom, said the following once Instagram announced Stories and the claims started to roll in:
“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.
Facebook invented feed, LinkedIn took on feed, Twitter took on feed, Instagram took on feed, and they all feel very different now and they serve very different purposes. But no one looks down at someone for adopting something that is so obviously great for presenting a certain type of information.
Innovation happens in the Valley, and people invent formats, and that’s great. And then what you see is those formats proliferate. So @ usernames were invented on Twitter. Hashtags were invented on Twitter. Instagram has those. Filtered photos were not invented on Instagram.”
Similar to the debate on content format, there’s also some similarities in the customization of visual content, ranging from filters and stickers to augmented reality and special effect overlays. Snapchat might be known for doing these first, but a company called MSQRD was working on the same type of technology, and then… Facebook bought it. And yes, you can expect these animations and effects to be part of Facebook’s “Stories” experience once the feature is rolled out globally.
Predicting What’s Next for Facebook Stories
This new(ish) “Stories” format that has become popular across some of today’s most popular social platforms is just one of the market’s answers to allowing users to create and share more content, more often, but not permanently attaching it to profiles or your personal brand. Photos and videos via “Stories” die after 24 hours, and you’re still able to save everything to your camera roll in case you want to use or send it later.
This new format, which encourages more spur-of-the-moment sharing, is one of the many ways that Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat get users to spend more time on their platform. It’s common for someone to treat Instagram like a personal photo Hall of Fame. They rarely post photos and videos unless it’s a perfect representation. “Stories” fixed that with ephemerality, and Facebook appears to be experiencing that same dilemma; people don’t want to post too often and annoy their friends and followers.
While Facebook is just beginning to test Stories on its main app, you can already point to some other, recent parallels between Facebook and Instagram (live video, direct messaging, pinned comments, etc). For businesses that rely on Facebook to share content and drive people to a website, this is fantastic news, especially for businesses that don’t have a substantial following on Instagram.
Soon enough, businesses and Pages on Facebook will be able to create mobile-first content that only lives for 24 hours. Chances are, a lot of brands will share the same content on both Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. For some, that might work, but you must understand your audience to truly know which platform and audience desires which type of content.
Image Credit: TechCrunch