Facebook has quietly added in a couple of new options for Facebook and Instagram Stories which offer some additional functionality, and new considerations for the tools.
First off, on Facebook Stories – Facebook’s added in new sticker options which enable you to add in weather and location, but also to tag friends using the ‘Name’ sticker.
The same options are available within Instagram Stories, so they’re not new in a functional sense, but they do add more options to Facebook Stories specifically, giving you additional considerations as to how you use them, and how they can help improve distribution and engagement.
According to The Next Web’s Matt Navarra, Facebook's also looking to add in Instagram Stories-like polls for Facebook Stories soon, which will be another functional update to consider.
Facebook Stories still seems to be lagging behind in take up, with most users reporting that the Stories bar at the top if their News Feed generally remains blank – but for marketers, that could also present an opportunity, with less competition for your messaging in a prime section of the app.
These new options could also help in that regard – and worth keeping in mind that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he foresees Stories taking over the News Feed as the primary social sharing option in future. Might be worth getting in now, and upping your skills with the Stories format.
Over on Instagram, user Jack Appleby has reported that Instagram Stories mentions are now showing up in user notifications, adding to the exposure potential of the in-stories tagging option.
With users being more directly notified of mentions, that could boost the functionality of the option, making it a more appealing tool for connection and increased engagement.
In addition to this, Instagram has also announced a new process which will automatically transfer ads in square or landscape format into full-screen presentation for Stories as well.
As explained by Instagram:
"When a business uploads a single photo or a video under 15 seconds within Instagram Feed aspect ratios, Instagram will automatically provide full-screen support for this content on Instagram Stories. Whether exclusively or across multiple placements, advertisers can seamlessly reach people across Instagram and Facebook."
The process will automatically select a background for the content, while the text from the Instagram or Facebook post unit will be added in stories text font below the photo or video. The destination link will be added as a 'Swipe up' option.
The process will make it easier for advertisers to transfer their regular Instagram and Facebook ads into Stories posts, without them having to reformat or redesign, which could increase take-up.
Stories are clearly rising in popularity, and the immersive, mobile-oriented format of the option definitely holds appeal – it’s worth all brands considering if, and how, they can use Stories to boost their messaging.
And as noted, if Facebook truly does see Stories as the future, that could also see the platform de-emphasizing the News Feed in favor of boosting Stories exposure. It’s impossible to say how they might go about this, but if Facebook wants to prioritize something (ala Facebook Live), they tend to give it a reach boost.
Worth considering in your future planning.