After 14 months of silence since launching, Facebook Stories has finally announced a 150 million daily active user count for its Snapchat Stories clone. And now it’s time to earn some money off it. Facebook Stories will start testing its first ads today in the U.S ., Mexico and Brazil.
They’re 5- to 15 -second video ads users can skip, and while there’s no click-through or call to action now, Facebook plans to add that in the coming months. Advertisers can easily extend their Instagram Stories ads to this new surface, or have Facebook automatically reformat their News Feed ads with color-matched perimeters and text at the bottom. Facebook also plans to give business more metrics on their Stories performance to convince them the feature is worth their ad dollars.
Facebook has to nail Stories ads to preserve its business, as CPO Chris Cox said this month that Stories sometime next year will surpass feed posts as the top style to share. CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned that Facebook must ensure” that ads are as good in Stories as they are in feeds. If we don’t do this well, then as more sharing changes to Tales, that could hurt our business.” Despite criticism that the feature is obtrusive and redundant with Instagram Stories, Facebook is demonstrating there’s no retreating from the ephemeral slideshow format. And Snapchat could see ad spend slip over to Facebook, especially since the big blue social network has so much targeting data on us.
The race for storytellers
My first question was how Facebook is defining a daily user for Stories. It’s anyone who watches a Story on Facebook’s app or site. That’s useful, because it means it’s not counting users who simply cross-post their Tales from Instagram or Messenger to Facebook, which would inflate the number. It’s a testament to the coercive power of the top-of-feed Stories design that Instagram pioneered and Facebook brought over, and it’s already testing bigger Stories preview tiles.
For context, here’s a breakdown of Narratives daily user counts and total monthly user counts across the top players, ranked by size 😛 TAGEND
WhatsApp Status: 450 million daily out of 1.5 billion monthly as of May 2018 Instagram Stories: 300 million daily out of 800 million monthly as of November 2017 Snapchat( whole app ): 191 million daily as of May 2018, launched Facebook Stories: 150 million daily out of 2.2 billion monthly as of May 2018 Messenger Day/ Stories: 70 million daily out of 1.3 billion monthly as of September 2017