So Many Stories to Tell, So Many Platforms to Tell Them On
At the heart of social engagement is the art of storytelling. From status updates to vlogs, people are telling their stories in unprecedented depth and frequency.
So it may come as no surprise that one of the most recent storytelling trends to emerge is, well, Stories. Unlike other social storytelling mediums, these tiny bits of content are designed to be instantly created, instantly consumed, and instantly destroyed, giving your friends and followers a series of peephole-sized glimpses into your life – complete with filters, stickers, and doodles.
With so many platforms jumping on the Stories bandwagon, which platform really reigns supreme? Let’s see how they all stack up!
For a long time, Snapchat was king. Launched in October of 2013, for three years Snapchat’s Stories feature was uncontested as the go-to app to share ephemeral memories. Since its launch, Snapchat has grown to see its users sending a whopping 500 million stories a day. If the average Snap Story is 10 seconds long, it would take over 150 years to watch just one day’s worth of content!
Snapchat’s winning edge is the ability to share in-the-moment content as opposed to other apps’ focus on more thought-out executions. The negative to this is that featured content lacks context, making it difficult for brands to consistently produce quality material to share compared to other options.
Instagram may have been a little late to the party, but it arrived in style. So much style, in fact, that Snapchat’s growth slowed 82% when Instagram launched its Stories feature [Techcrunch]. While Instagram Stories only clocks in at around 200 million active users compared to Snapchat’s 500 million, IG has a few things going for it.
For one, Instagram Stories sees 250 million daily active users while Snapchat has only 166 million daily active users. It also allows users to broadcast an ephemeral live stream, something Snapchat doesn’t offer. More importantly, and this has been a learning curve for Snapchat, Instagram stories are easier and way more visible on Instagram. This means greater accessibility for brands to tap into. You don’t need to follow a brand to be able to watch their content, unlike Snapchat, and Instagram’s brand platform is much more robust to begin with.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, recently launched its own Stories feature in March of 2017. Lead by the rising popularity of imagery – particularly video – on the network, Facebook saw an opportunity to introduce the Stories concept to a wider demographic than the usual 20-something we associate with Snapchat [Techcrunch].
While it may be too early to tell how Facebook Stories are performing, it’s competing with some established platforms that have managed to make this ephemeral content trend part of its core experience. Unless it can differentiate itself from these competitors and define its purpose, it just might be too little too late.
With the rivalry heating up between juggernauts and newcomers joining the fray daily, it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out. Snapchat has cultivated its niche over the years and added features that allow users to chat and send money, but has yet to figure out how to maximize branded content opportunities. While Instagram stepped onto the scene looking to expand its audience and tap into the easy-going, creative user base it had already built. And Facebook, for what it’s worth, seems to just be along for the ride.
However this turns out, I’m sure it’ll make for a good story.