Facebook launched a Stories function of its own today, allowing users to share content that can be viewed for 24 hours on their page, as well as view the Stories of their friends and brands they follow.
The social network is joining platforms like Instagram that can’t seem to stop glomming on to Snapchat’s model of ephemeral image and video sharing. For fashion brands and publishers, this means yet another social offering on which to feature content, and another strategy to fine tune. It also points to more trouble for Snapchat, which has continued to experienced a slowed rate of growth as users migrate to Instagram.
Like Instagram and Snapchat, the feature will include masks, frames and filters, as well as branded content. However, as of yet, the addition does not include a shoppable component, which means its value to retailers is unclear, according to Emma Zumsen, director of integrated strategy at Gale.
“The launch of Facebook Stories is not a clear win for the fashion industry. As Facebook has become less relevant to the fashion space and millennial consumers, fashion brands aren’t seeing the same ROI on the content investment that they’re seeing on other social channels — and Stories won’t change this trend,” she said. “Instagram Stories helps fashion retailers drive conversion through shoppable content, and Snapchat has the coveted millennial audience. Until Facebook Stories can provide either of these, this new offering won’t be of much value to fashion brands.”
The platform update will be presented nearly identically to Instagram Stories, with circles at the top of the page indicating fresh content. It will also incorporate a direct sharing component, similar to both Snapchat and Instagram, so users can share photos and videos directly to their friends. Users can also respond directly to Stories of interest.
What Facebook Stories looks like on mobile
Darryl Villacorta, social media manager at social media management company Sprout Social, said the new feature will allow fashion and retail brands to engage with new demographic bases. Of the major platforms, Facebook’s audience skews oldest, according to a Sprout Social study. 65.2 percent of Baby Boomers and 64.7 percent of Gen X-ers prefer Facebook over other platforms. 0 percent of the former group cited favor Snapchat and just 0.3 percent of the latter group.
“One of the benefits these brands can have is the ability to reach a new audience. Now with having Facebook Stories, there’s basically a new way to reach out to an audience that you may or may not have been targeting in the past,” he said.
As a result, Facebook Stories may serve as a way to educate older users about using the function, and allow brands to serve them more customized content.
“Facebook creating this ephemeral content feature is an opportunity to tap into that audience that might not be interested in adopting a new network, but a new content type,” said Alicia Johnston, brand marketing specialist at Sprout Social.
Image courtesy of Facebook