In it's latest attempt to get more people using Facebook Stories, Facebook has introduced a new Stories option, which will enable users to add a still image slideshow to their Story.
Spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra, the new option, as you can see, provides a simplified way to add a stream of images, which will play out through your Story frames. Of course, you can do this already, by selecting each image one by one for each frame, but the option will make it easier to action, which could prompt more people to try it out.
That could be particularly relevant among older users and/or those less familiar with the Stories format, both of which are key audience groups that Facebook 's keen to get onto the Stories train. But it also again raises the question, with Facebook pushing yet another Stories option as it seeks to boost engagement:
Is Facebook Stories really going to supersede the News Feed as the primary social sharing option on The Social Network?
That is what Facebook keeps saying - early last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that:
"We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in Feed as the most common way that people share across all social apps.”
The data does support the Stories shift, growth momentum which Facebook says will see Stories overtake feed sharing this year.
But then again, the broader numbers haven't necessarily suggested that Facebook Stories, specifically, is the definitive way to go, even if usage is rising.
Back in April, Facebook reported that its combined Facebook and Messenger Stories features (formerly known as 'Messenger Day') now see more than 500 million daily users. That's obviously a significant amount, but at Facebook's scale, serving 1.59b daily active users overall, that's still only a third of all the platform's users - and even less when you combine Facebook and Messenger usage.
What's more, Facebook has been using some questionable growth hacks to boost those figures. Now, whenever you post anything on Facebook or Instagram, there's a prompt urging you to also share to your Story across both platforms, which no doubt many people have done unconsciously or without realizing what it actually means. How many times have you seen a post from a friend or relative in the main feed, then tapped on their Story to see the exact same thing repeated?
Facebook also pumps out a lot of notifications, some of which will prompt you to view a Facebook Story on desktop which you may have already checked on mobile, or vice versa, another common engagement trick.
Given this, it's difficult to say what the actual engagement rate with Facebook Stories is. It's clearly seeing more use, and you would expect that to increase as more younger audiences come on board. But how popular Facebook Stories actually are, it's hard to say.
That doesn't mean there's no opportunity there for marketers and/or brands. Facebook Stories take up prime real estate, at the top of feeds, which can help grab attention - if you're looking for a way to boost your Facebook engagement, Stories should definitely be on your radar for experimentation. But how popular Stories are, overall, its difficult to measure.
They are seeing more use, but the growth momentum does seem to be a little questionable, based on these notes.