The stories feature has become a permanent feature for many social media platforms in recent years, following its initial creation by picture messaging platform Snapchat back in 2013. It took off in popularity with Snapchat users and this has led to other services implementing their own version of it on their own networks.
The concept of the feature is quite simple. Users take a photo or short video and upload it to a storyboard, usually located at the top of a news feed, for their followers to see. Content uploaded to this section of the site can be seen by followers for up to 24 hours and after that, they expire and disappear forever.
At an event hosted in New York City, Facebook announced that across the site and its standalone messaging app Messenger, the daily active user count for stories stood at a combined 300 million. Furthermore, Facebook’s user experience research manager, Liz Keneski, pointed out that the number doesn’t include users who ‘double dip’ and post the same content on both the main Facebook platform and Messenger, as users who post a story to Messenger will see that it automatically feeds through to Facebook.
It is unclear whether these 300 million are using one platform more than the other, but Facebook Stories was revealed to have 150 million active users on its own back in May. Furthermore, in September last year, Messenger had 70 million daily users.
Other Facebook-owned platforms that also incorporate a story feature are messaging service WhatsApp and photo-sharing network Instagram. Both of these are heavy hitters in terms of this feature, with both attracting more than 400 million daily active users – both more that parent company Facebook’s total.
Then there’s Snapchat, the creators of the feature. In the early days, it was really popular with its rising user base. However, since Facebook intervened and replicated the feature, Snapchat’s popularity has started to dwindle. In August, Snapchat announced that its daily active users base was down to 188 million, giving it the smallest figure, assuming the Messenger/Facebook figure is taken as a combined total.
Facebook announced its user count on the feature because it has decided to open up the feature to advertisers. This will certainly help the company generate some extra revenue. As for publishers and content creators, this will give them a shot at being made visible to Facebook’s over two billion strong user base. Instagram Stories has already been made available for advertisers and this sees an advert pop up every couple of stories, when they are played in a slideshow format.
So, in terms of the battle of the stories, Facebook is clearly dominant compared to Snapchat, although this could be down to a significantly larger user base and the power of advertising monetising the feature. Will other social media sites decide to follow suit considering how popular the feature is?