A few months ago, Facebook launched Messenger Day, a slightly obviously copied-from-Snapchat function within Facebook Messenger. It allowed users to select their Messenger camera within the chat app and post text and images with overlays to their friends or to add content to their Day – err, exactly like Snapchat. And said content stayed available for 24 hours – also very much like Snapchat.
It was a clear attempt to once again undermine Snapchat, by harnessing the billion monthly users of the Messenger app. And did it work? Well, clearly not. Instagram Stories boasts 300 million users a day, and Facebook Messenger Day “just” 70 million.
With those statistics in mind, it’s fair to say Facebook Stories haven’t really caught on. Personally, I’ve kept up Instagram and Snapchat Stories but not used Facebook Stories. This new update means that any story you post to Facebook or Messenger can now be shared across both apps; this follows Facebook’s recent announcement that users will soon be able to post Instagram Stories to Facebook.
This basically means that three out of four of Facebook’s Stories functions will now allow cross-posting – but will it be enough? Whatsapp, at least for the time being, has been left out of the equation.
Another new feature just announced is the introduction of a Stories option for Groups and Events, intended to allow participants or attendees to contribute to information about the event. After registering interest in an event or marking as ‘attending’, users will see a new story bubble pop up for that event and see all Stories when added, with the option to add their own.
Admins for each group or event will have control over who can post; they can set up the group or event’s Stories feature to require admin approval from posters before Stories show and delete those they consider inappropriate (or just hate). This could potentially be a bit confusing for members of the groups – time will tell.
From a brand perspective, this announcement is great. Facebook’s decision to allow all Pages to post Stories meant brands could engage in a different way with their audiences and have a prominent place at the top of the app; now, with Stories at the top of Messenger, their potential reach just increased by over a billion Messenger app users daily. On top of that, Events becoming more interactive and engaging is always positive – users love to see their own content associated with brands they like!
As well as all this, with the cross-posting option from Instagram, brands can now easily reach Facebook, Messenger and Instagram through Stories and Facebook plans to roll out Stories on their Lite version (a low-data app). Will this increase brand reach? We say yes. How will it all function? Well, that remains to be seen.