Facebook believes that Stories are the future of social sharing. The usage trends reflect this, the adoption rates are strong - just this week, in fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that Stories and private messages are the company's "fastest growth vectors".
Even if you don't care so much for them yourself, its clear that the option is a major focus for The Social Network - but what does that mean for brands, and social media marketing strategies moving forward?
To provide some insight into the potential of Stories for businesses, Facebook has published a new report into exactly that. The report, conducted by Ipsos, incorporates feedback from more than 18,000 people, aged between 13 and 54, from across 12 countries who've self-reported using stories on Facebook's family of apps (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger). The Ipsos team wanted to find out how Stories use by brands is viewed by consumers, and what the potential benefits may be.
Here's what they discovered.
First off, the results indicate that brand use of Stories can provide new connection opportunities with potential customers.
As per the report:
"About 1 in 2 people surveyed who use stories said stories have strengthened their relationships with brands, and many indicated that stories propel them through the purchase process."
It is important to note that this relates to brand stories, not ads - this is brand distributed content which users have chosen to view by tapping on the story. But the responses do highlight a lot of potential - most Stories users welcome the use of the option by businesses, particularly in relation to highlighting new products.
The data also indicates that the most common action people take after seeing products or services in stories is browsing the brand’s website to get more information, and/or looking for the product or service on eCommerce websites - here's a visual of the four most common actions brand story viewers take after watching.
Given these results, there's clearly potential in brand stories use - the next question, then, is what do people expect and want to see in brand-originated Stories content.
The responses suggests that viewers are looking for five key elements:
- 51% said they want to see Stories which feature information about sales and promotions
- 51% said they want Stories content that's quick, and easy to understand
- 45% are looking for tips and advice
- 44% are interested in seeing information about new products
- 43% want to see brand Stories that 'feel real'
So the key elements are simplicity and relevance, with a particular focus on latest promotions and sales.
On the last point - the desire for Stories content that 'feels real', this suggests that consumers are interested in seeing more 'behind the scenes' type content, more insight into the people who make the brand, as opposed to polished ad pitches. Interestingly, on a related note, users in Brazil, Germany and Indonesia also expressed interest in stories 'that are inspiring or uplifting', while in Australia and Mexico, stories about events (shows, concerts, fairs, etc.) have also proven popular.
Definitely, there's a lot of business potential in the Stories format, and with users gradually becoming more accustomed to the presentation style, it's going to become a bigger consideration for all social media marketing teams moving forward.
If you haven't considered Stories for your business before, now is the time, and these notes might help provide some extra guidance on how to plan your Stories approach as we head into 2019.
You can read Facebook's full "Why Stories is a Format that Can Help Marketers Promote Brands" report here.