Market Trends

Written by The Marketing Team October 31, 2018

6 things that set the Stories format apart

Back to articles

Stories are changing social media. But what exactly makes them different?

If you’re going to make the most of this format in your advertising strategy, you will need to understand what sets it apart. Across the major social networks, there are slight differences in the way Stories are set up, but there are also some common similarities.

Here are six things that set Stories apart from other social media sharing formats:

1. Ephemeral

The major thing that sets the Stories format apart is its temporary, or ephemeral, nature. That was the really innovative thing about the format when it was originally pioneered by Snapchat. The thought that Snaps would simply ‘disappear’ after 24 hours caused quite a stir! Where did they go? Were all those personal shots going to resurface one day?

Snapchat pioneered storiesSnapchat changed the game by suggesting that perhaps people didn’t care about their content being available forever. Perhaps they would enjoy the spontaneity that these temporary images and videos could bring, and perhaps it would take the pressure off sharing. History shows they were 100% right – that’s exactly what people wanted and the widespread adoption of Stories across a number of social networks today is evidence of that.

2. Made for storytelling

stories are made for storytellingStorytelling is so important in the human experience. All throughout human history, we’ve organised our thoughts and learnings into stories, to create order out of the world and assign meaning to things.

Coming back to social media ‘Stories’, this way of sharing and interacting was built for storytelling. Stories formats across networks like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook hold the similarity of all being designed with sequential storytelling in mind. Check out your friends’ Instagram Stories and we bet you’ll regularly see multiple clips in a row highlighting the best parts of an event or party, for example. Innovative brands use Stories in the same way – showcasing how to use their product, the best parts of office life, or the key highlights from a conference or seminar, amongst a bunch of other common use cases.

made for storytellingThe point is that ‘Stories’ are called that for a reason. Much more than basic News Feed sharing on Facebook for example, Stories allow users and brands to immerse their followers in a specific theme or topic. With a full screen experience on mobile (across most platforms), distractions are stripped away and the creator has the opportunity to set up a story line and drive it through to its conclusion.

3. Made for mobile

facebook-storiesStories were designed for mobile. Although several networks are now making them more accessible on desktop devices, the vertical format was designed to suit the way people use their smartphones today. They are designed to be fast and easy to create and upload, with the ability to swipe up, down and sideways to access different features. In short, Stories and mobile are one.

4. Immersive

stories are immersiveAcross social networks, Stories are immersive. They open to full screen, meaning there are no other distractions to pull the user away from what is happening. On many platforms, Stories continue back-to-back until the user decides to swipe out of the experience.

This design makes Stories particularly interesting for advertisers, who can make use of the immersive nature to insert their own messages into an overarching narrative of content from a user’s trusted connections and friends.

5. Interactive

Across every social network that offers them, the Stories format is inherently interactive. They are made to be played with and responded to. Recent new features in Instagram Stories are a particular evidence of this – additions like polls (and sliding polls) drive the audience to interact with the story and respond to the question posed.

Added to that, the ability to comment in direct message and re-share a story you’re mentioned in on Instagram, has further increased interaction and communication.

6. More personal

There is something slightly more personal about Stories, compared to sharing in the news feed. Whether it’s due to the fact that they disappear after 24 hours, or simply the way the format has been designed, people (and brands) tend to share more authentically and in a less ‘polished’ way within Stories. Looking at the Stories pioneer, Snapchat, as an example, the average user tends to share content only with a small number of their ‘inner circle’. The rise of the ‘talking head’ on Stories from individuals and brands across all platforms, shows the personal nature of the format. It’s a way to show your personality in a candid, authentic and free-flowing way.

Our ‘StoryBook’: the ultimate guide to stories

Advertising in stories is powerful, across Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook! Many of our clients have already seen success reaching their target audiences with ads in stories.

Download our ‘StoryBook’ eBook and learn about:MMR_LandingPage_STORIES

  • Best practices for Stories ads across each social network
  • Examples of great stories creatives
  • The Paragone Stories Creative Center
  • Tips to success with Stories ads, across social networks.
  • & more!

Subscribe to our Blog

Receive a summary of our new articles once a week