Over the past two years, we've seen the rise of social media stories.
It started with Snapchat: they introduced the 24-hour, disappearing Stories feature in 2014 and it quickly caught on. Then in 2016, Instagram followed suit and quickly took over the market, with its parent company Facebook joining the Stories game just a year later.
But which Stories platform should your company use?
Each of the three have different standout features and are used by different audiences, so there's no end-all-be-all answer for the question.
However—with a little audience and platform research—you can get a better idea of which platform (or combination of platforms) is best for your brand.
To aid in your research, we'll dive deep into each of the three Stories platform and compare their features, target audiences, and more in this article.
So without further ado—let's dive in!
Instagram Stories — mainstream and full of features
Let's face it: Instagram is the king of Stories.
Launched just two years ago, the Instagram Stories has now has over 400 million daily users. And while it's growth has slowed slightly, it's still adding tens of millions of users annually.
The majority of Instagram users worldwide are under 34, and the gender is almost evenly split between men and women. This means that Instagram Stories are the place for marketing to the younger crowd.
But Instagram Stories aren't just places for young people to share photos and video clips of their lives.
In fact, over 50% of businesses on Instagram have posted a Story too—an impressive number when you consider that over 80% of Instagrammers follow at least one business on the platform. Make sure your business is one if them.
Instagram Stories is jam-packed with features
Another huge selling point of Instagram Stories is its massive amount of features.
Instagram has an awesome built-in Stories feature called Stickers.
Stickers are—in short—interactive mini-apps you can place in your Stories. Some of the most popular stickers include an "ask me anything" platform, location tags, and a poll widget.
This gives your ways to make your Instagram Stories interactive, further increasing engagement.
On top of this, Instagram Stories can be cross-posted to Facebook Stories right out-of-the-box, letting you to double your reach without any additional effort.
As you can see, Instagram Stories is not only the most widely used Stories platform, but the best Stories platform too. All businesses should be using Instagram Stories in 2019.
Facebook Stories — growing fast with no signs of slowing
Instagram is owned by Facebook, and largely uses the same Stories platform. In fact, you can actually automatically repost your Instagram Stories right to Facebook.
But what about the user-base?
Unsurprisingly, Facebook Stories is the fastest growing Stories platform on the market. Just last month, the social media giant announced that over 300 million people are using Facebook Stories daily.
This is really fast growth, especially considering Facebook Stories had just 150 million daily active users earlier in the year.
TechCrunch notes that The Middle East, Central Latin America and Southeast Asia are driving the quick growth of Facebook Stories, largely because they're already huge on Facebook Messenger.
Beyond that though, more demographic information isn't available on Facebook Stories.
Now, let's take a look at the features.
Facebook Stories' feature-set is limited, but it's easy to cross-post
Actual Stories features are pretty limited on Facebook Stories.
You can make Facebook Stories in both the Facebook app and Messenger app. Currently, there's no way to add interactive Stickers to Stories, but you can add stickers, filters, and other visual content.
One place this excels, though, is that you can actually view Facebook Stories on desktop and from the Facebook mobile website. This isn't possible with other Stories platforms, and is likely one of the reasons Facebook Stories is growing fast.
It doesn't take any extra effort to post Facebook Stories either.
You can cross-post all of your Instagram Stories directly to Facebook Stories. Just build your Instagram Story as normal, click the send to button, and tap the sharing options button at the top of the screen.
From the slide-up window, select if you want to turn on Facebook Story sharing for all posts or just this one. Then, tap the blue share button to the right of the sharing options label—and bam: your Instagram Story will cross-post to Facebook Story. It's really that easy!
Snapchat Stories — the original, but extremely limited.
Snapchat is used by the very young crowd. Of its 188 million daily active users, 78% of them are between 18 and 24 years old. Currently, just 18% of the U.S. population that uses social media is on Snapchat too, making it the underdog of the stories game.
But let's not forget: Snapchat invented the Stories platform—but do they lead in features? Let's take a look.
Snapchat Stories has a powerful ad platform, but lacks features.
Snapchat Stories are more attractive to advertisers than growth hackers and marketers that want to grow their audience organically.
Simple: the platform has an AMAZING ad platform.
Brands can make custom filters and display them in hyper-specific locations around the world.
Say your restaurant is running a special: you may want to run a sponsored filter that discusses said sale within a ten block radius of your store.
Other than that, though, Snapchat's feature-base is quite limited for marketers. But beyond location filters and text, there are no interactive design elements or other ways for marketers to customize Stories.
Further, it's nearly impossible to build an organic following on the network. There's no way for Snapchat users to find new accounts to follow, so you're stuck promoting your Snapchat username or QR code manually.
Snapchat bottom line
All in all, we only recommend Snapchat to companies that perfectly fit the demographic, and can make use of Snapchat's location-based ads. Building organic reach is tough on Snapchat
All in all, we recommend that all companies actively post on both Instagram and Facebook Stories. These are the two biggest Stories platforms, and combined have an audience of over a billion people.
But that's not to say Snapchat Stories are worthless. If you are targeting a very young audience and can invest in location-based ads, it may be worthwhile for your marketing platform.
And now we want to hear from you. Does your business market on Stories? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
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