If your Tuesday night resembled anything close to mine, you were probably sitting at your desk working your way through El Fuego’s Taco Tuesday special and closing out some reports, when you happened to open your Facebook and realize that they now have a stories feature of their own.
Seems to be all the rage, right?
Stemming from Snapchat’s success, Instagram (owned by Facebook), rolled out their own stories feature a while back. Is it any surprise that Facebook now has one of their own? Probably not. In fact, the bigger surprise might be that it took them this long to adapt a similar feature.
Leela’s got a good point – what does it all mean?
I think what we’re seeing here is Facebook reaching out to a younger demographic that they see spending more time on their Instagram property. Combatting their aging demographics, though, won’t be as simple as rolling out the stories feature. For example, when they rolled out their Fake (now False) News feature, that was an acknowledgement that they realize their place in the social sphere for many is one more focused on news, and digital executions of traditional media (here’s looking at you, live streaming video).
By rolling out this feature, it seems to me that they’re trying to rejuvenate their platform.
But, as with many best intentions, they don’t always pan out.
What do you think would happen if LinkedIn rolled out a stories feature? Even if they were hoping to engage a more business minded conference-goer (for example, at least, I don’t know why they’d roll out a live stories feature), it’d quickly turn into a lot of self promotion.
Now I’m not saying that Instagram isn’t full of self promotion, or that their stories are completely free of any motive other than sharing moments, but the fact is that many people treat their Instagram accounts as a respite from their family, boss, and ancillary friends. In short, they’re more candid.
Seeing as Facebook is, for many people, a tool that helps them keep in touch with family, their diaspora of friends, and coworkers, what they bring to their stories will be skewed, and skewed more towards self promotion.
“Okay Nate,” you’re thinking, “these are all those tacos talking.”
Let’s run through a quick example. My Instagram recently featured a bar’s sandwich board ad that I thought was hilarious. Something I’d share on Instagram (clearly), but not my Facebook per se. The great drinks inside the bar, again, something I’d share on Instagram. Facebook? Not so much.
Instead, I could see myself posting something about a networking event, a client shoot, or office shot on my Facebook story as I’d feel the need to control for the fact that I’m friends with employees and clients, on top of all those people from high school who I haven’t talked to in 15 years.
Looping back to Facebook’s place in the digital sphere as a de facto news aggregator, I can see this becoming a tool heavily (an most successfully) leveraged by publishers to further disseminate nuggets of content. But where does that leave the average user?
Obviously it’s early. This just happened. And only for select users so far. While I just spent the last few hundred words explaining how I’m a little unsure of their intentions and if they’ll pan out, it’s clear that they have the user base to make just about anything happen.
At this point, I have more questions that I can’t wait to explore. For example, how is this going to integrate with Facebook Live? I could imagine there’d be a lot of great opportunities to leverage content from live streams within a story. Stemming from that, I wonder how Instagram may integrate, and, since at the end of the day I am an ad man, how advertisers will be able to leverage them.
tl;dr I think this is as an attempt to reinvigorate their user-base, and drive the younger users they’re seeing on Instagram to Facebook. I’m not sure it’ll play out as people have a much different network on Facebook than Instagram – though I am looking forward to all of Facebook’s growing 65+ demographic trying it out.