Facebook is removing its ‘Messenger Day’ Snapchat clone within Messenger, and replacing it with cross-posted Facebook Stories, as part of a revamp of the way in which their Stories tools function.
As reported back in September, Messenger Day (70 million daily users) hadn't caught on the way Instagram Stories has (300 million daily users), and Facebook says there was also some confusion over how the tool worked. To clarify this, and as part of a wider effort to boost Facebook Stories – which has also seemingly failed to gain significant momentum – any story you post on Facebook or Messenger will now be viewable on both, broadening the opportunities of the two functions.
But differences will remain – as reported by TechCrunch:
“…the cameras in Facebook and Messenger will remain distinct, with Facebook’s focused on augmented reality masks and effects, while Messenger focuses on adding captions and stylized text inviting friends to hang out.”
This is likely part of Facebook’s efforts to keep Messenger’s data usage levels smaller, in order to reach more users, but will mean that despite the fact you can cross-post between the two apps, there will be composition variations, which could still cause some usage issues.
This also comes on the back of Facebook’s recent confirmation that all users will soon be able to cross-post their Instagram Stories to Facebook – meaning three of four of Facebook’s Stories functions will soon be linked (WhatsApp Status remains totally separate at this stage).
Though you won’t be able to post from Facebook/Messenger to Instagram, so again, there’s still a little confusion, but the merged Stories functionality shows that Facebook, while conceding that Messenger Day wasn’t the best option, isn’t giving up on Stories, and plans to keep pushing the format on Facebook in an effort to find a solution that sticks.
But that’s not all they’ve announced.
Alongside the announcement of the Messenger Day/Facebook Stories merger, Facebook's also rolling out collaborative Stories for Groups and Events, which will enable various participants to contribute to a Story to help provide added insights.
As you can see in the video, once a user has registered interest in an event, or joined a group, a new Story bubble will be added to their Stories bar at the top of the app, where a story is available. When you go create your Story, you’ll see any group or event Story you can contribute to as an option for posting, which will give users more opportunity to share their experiences at an event, or utilize a new way to contribute in group discussion.
Stories from different sources will have different icons, including Groups, Events and Instagram cross-posting.
Snapchat added similar earlier this year with ‘Custom Stories’, though Facebook, which has more than a billion users engaging with Groups every month, could see significantly wider usage for such an option, with the ability to add-in more collaborative options, and to better utilize multi-user posting.
The rules on who can post to Facebook Stories for Groups/Events will be governed by the relevant admins for each - admins can allow posts from everyone, deleting those they don’t like, or they can require approvals of posts. It’s a similar process for the new Messenger/Facebook cross-posts - users will be able to either opt for public posting, ‘Friends and Connections’ (which limits Stories to those you’ve engaged with on Messenger), Friends only (across FB and Messenger) and custom, which enables you to hide your Stories from specific users.
There are a few different considerations to take in on this front – while Facebook’s aiming to simplify the Stories process, it may actually lead to some confusion as to who can see what, and how, when people post, at least in its initial stages.
From a brand perspective, the new options open up various possibilities.
As we covered recently, Facebook’s decision to open up Stories to all Pages already provides new opportunities because of the prominent positioning of Stories within the app, while the ability to publicly post your Stories gives you another chance to broaden the reach of your messaging, outside of the News Feed alone.
Combining this capacity with the ability to reach Messenger's 1.3 billion users adds even more impetus to the option – and that’s before you consider the engagement potential of enabling group members and event participants to also contribute to your Stories content, further boosting reach and content capacity.
While Facebook Stories hasn’t taken off the way Facebook would like, it still, as noted, has prominent placement within the app – and now Stories will occupy the same top of screen real estate in two of the most used apps in the world. That’s an opportunity for exposure that’s hard to ignore – and even better, if you cross-post from Instagram, you’re now also reaching both Facebook and Messenger.
Brands who are already putting in the effort on Instagram will likely find that opportunity hard to ignore – even if you’re not sure about the option, it’s something that will definitely be worth experimenting with to see if it broadens your reach.
Of course, there may be some confusion between app functionality when cross-posting – whether links in Instagram Stories will function the same way when viewed on Messenger, for example, is unclear, and Facebook has also announced that Stories will soon be viewable in Facebook Lite, their low data usage version of their app aimed at developing markets. Will all the functionality of each tool cross-over to each app?
You’d think that, over time, all these different versions will merge, and all will provide similar functionality. But either way, it’s worth investigating how each could be applied to your business, and worth watching the updates from Facebook on usage, as more people find more ways to utilize the new Stories options, which could see usage rates increase across all the different platforms.