Facebook is adding its Reactions emoji response set into Facebook Stories, giving users the same simple, direct response options as those available within the News Feed.
As reported by TechCrunch, the Reactions icons will be made available alongside the bottom message bar, while people who post Stories will now be able to see those who've 'reacted', and which reaction they used, in the Stories views listing.
In addition to this, Facebook's also adding a new option to facilitate group discussion of Stories content. Now, viewers will be able to reply to a Story and share that message to only selected friends, starting a new group conversation around Story content.
Both tools are designed to increase engagement with Facebook Stories, which Facebook has repeatedly stated is the future of social media sharing, but it's hard to know exactly what the new options might mean, and if they'll contribute anything significant to Stories adoption and/or usage.
As per Facebook's latest stats, Facebook Stories now has 150 million daily active users, which pales in comparison to Facebook's other Stories options in WhatsApp Status and Instagram Stories.
And that figure, theoretically, also incorporates both Messenger Day and Facebook Stories use. While they're listed separately here (based on Facebook's previous reports on Messenger Day usage), the two tools were actually combined last November, well before these stats were released.
That would suggest that Facebook Stories has largely been a miss for Facebook - but then again, 150 million users is still significant (Snapchat only has 191 million total), and Facebook is keen to keep pushing the Stories format as it gives them the best opportunity to showcase its advancing AR options, which will likely help keep it ahead of the pack.
But it still feels a bit forced, it still feels like Facebook Stories doesn't quite fit, but they're pushing at you anyway. Maybe the usage behaviors of Instagram simply don't translate to Facebook, which has an older average user age. Or maybe Facebook's on the right track, and it'll just take a while for Facebook Stories usage to ramp up as younger users grow up.
Whatever the case, its clear that Facebook's not giving up on Stories, and that they really, really want more people to try it.
And at some stage, maybe Facebook might also look to use Stories reactions as a means to boost exposure for the best Stories content, sharing them into more user feeds.
Maybe that will increase usage. There's a lot of maybe's in the Facebook Stories equation at present.