Of the many kinds of content produced by creators on our platform, Stories have become increasingly important to a successful social media marketing campaign. We’ve seen how our network of creators have embraced the medium, and what they can do with a few taps of a Story. We thought it was high time to share their knowledge, and ours, with the wider world. The following is a sampling of what we know about Stories (mostly on Instagram and Snapchat), so far. Our apologies that there isn’t a tap-through version of this piece (yet).
The Rise of Stories
Introduced by Snapchat in 2013, the Story format is taking over the social media
content space. What are Stories? There’s a surface-level answer, of course: Stories are simply short vertical video and photo posts that disappear after a 24 hour period. A wider view shows us that Stories are animations, games, how-to’s, vlogs, comedy sketches, restaurant reviews, unboxing videos, short films, and so much more.
Creators are changing the face of content consumption as they embrace the Story format. While traditional content timelines invite passive viewing, Stories elicit active engagement (tapping forward or back, pausing to read, or responding with a message).
At Facebook’s recent investor call Mark Zuckerburg said that in 2018, Stories are poised to overtake traditional feed posts on Facebook & Instagram. Increasingly, Story content is how people are sharing and engaging, across social networks.
You know what Stories are, but why should you care as a marketer?
- Stories are the only way to convert viewers organically: On Instagram & Snapchat, there’s no other way to directly connect content and call-to-action. See a product in a Story that you like? Swipe up to shop it immediately. You still can’t post a link in an organic Instagram post. Including “link in bio!” in your caption is less of a sure thing, and more of a hope that followers will make the journey to your profile and click the link.
- Users are engaged with Stories: The numbers speak for themselves:
- Stories are central to how users experience social: Instagram saw a growth from 500 to 800 million users when they launched Stories. Many users who signed up since then don’t know Instagram without Stories.
- Stories are long-form content for 2018: Stories provide access for marketers to blog-quality depth with Instagram-level reach and engagement. Increasingly, Publisher accounts mete out big chunks of article content via Story posts, both to drive traffic to their sites and as standalone content as a Story.
How we speak about Stories
A few helpful terms, to make sure we’re all on the same tap.
- Story: The cumulative stills and videos uploaded by a creator in a 24 hour period.
- Taps: Another name for a post to a Story. The individual parts that make up a Story (“The creator will be producing a 12-tap Story”). Gets its name from the way viewers browse through a Story (tapping right or left on their screen).
- Archive: On Instagram, the collection of every tap a creator has ever posted to their Story, only visible to them and accessible forever.
- Highlight: On Instagram, creator-curated collections of taps from Stories that live on a creator’s profile. Swipe-up links that were included when a Story was posted are included in a Highlight.
What about Swipe-Up Links?
A swipe-up link is a link attached to Story post that viewers can swipe up on their screen to visit. It’s useful for educating consumers about new products, or providing them with a shoppable link to buy the product featured in a Story. On Instagram, the ability to add a link to a Story post is available to most business profile accounts with 10,000+ followers. On Snapchat, anyone can add a link to a Story post. Swipe-up links are the only way on Instagram and Snapchat to connect content and CTA, organically. Taps added to an Instagram Story Highlight will preserve the link attached to them.
How do you Highlight?
If you’ve been wary about working Stories into your marketing strategy because they disappear after 24 hours, consider using Highlights on Instagram. Any Story tap from a creator’s Archive can be added to a Highlight, to live at the top of a creator’s profile for as long as they want. Highlights can be edited: added to or taps deleted at any time.
What stats can I get from Stories?
On Instagram, Stories from the last 14 days can provide stats like link clicks, sticker clicks, views. Stories older than 14 days in the archive can just show views. Snapchat has just begun rolling out analytics for creators, but as of now just shows creators their views in the aggregate and not for individual posts after that day’s Story expires.
What Stories are not
- Stories are not lo-fidelity content: Just because story content can be casual and off-the-cuff doesn’t mean it has to be, nor that it usually is. As we’ve established, Stories are where eyes and attention are, so creators are putting just as much effort into their Stories as the rest of their content.
- Stories don’t have to disappear: Though they’re built to disappear after 24 hours, increasingly creators are making use of features like Instagram’s Story Highlights, to display them permanently. Not only that, but Story content from creators can be boosted from a brand’s account with paid spend, and displayed to a targeted audience.
- Stories aren’t a second priority to feed posts: If anything, a daily post to their Story may now be more important to a creator than a feed post. It’s where their followers are active and engaged, and they have to be present there with high-quality content.
Want to know more about Stories?
We’ve got more. We also have a team experienced in completing successful Story campaigns ready to help you with yours; whether you’re a timid tapper or seasoned swipe-up-er. Connect with a Client Partner to find out how.