We now live in what can be called as the ‘Social Media Era’; it is a time that is driven by the use of various means of digitized social mediums such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Now barring Twitter, what is the one feature that Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram have in common? It’s Stories!
Now, what exactly are stories?
A story is a feature on said applications which allows users to post moments (Pictures or videos) from their day in a 9:16 aspect ratio which can be viewed by users for 24 hours and no longer.
Now why is Social Media Stories so important in the current scenario and why is it blowing up?
Social Media & Stories
Social Media Stories is the next generation of medium for advertising. Today, where all of us are driven by social media with tags such as, #doitforthegram, #challenge, #gramlife and so on and so forth, we are all advertising ourselves to the world in a light that makes our lives look greener than they are. Social Media Stories makes these applications a lot more personal than they already are. Where on Instagram and Facebook as well as Twitter, where each post has to have a conscious thought behind it and has to be filtered (metaphorically and literally), Stories makes it all the more natural to the viewers, as one just pulls out their device, shoots and posts it. There is no heavy thinking behind each story, it’s just a person trying to live in the moment, thus making the experience of social media a lot more personal.
Snapchat first introduced stories way back in 2013 and it blew up among the kids, but it was too complicated for the older generations who preferred the “feed” format of Instagram and Facebook, which is why in 2016 Instagram followed Snapchat and introduced stories (an exact copy of snapchat) which instantly became popular and started to change social media instantly, which caused the parent company of Instagram, Facebook to follow suit. A similar feature called ‘Status’ was introduced on WhatsApp as well.
Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, made a statement saying that “The increase in the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.”. This was in 2018 and he isn’t wrong.
The truth is we as a people have lost our attention span. It’s been said that after 10 seconds of viewing something we decide if something is interesting or not and therefore today, no one really wants to read somebody’s long post, they want all their information and data to be short, crisp and fast-paced. Which is why Social Media Stories is blowing up.
Coming back to Social Media Stories being the new form of advertising. Marlboro, way back in 1954, taught us that people want something more, something that gives them a picture of a better life, something that makes them feel like their lives can be far more interesting and better than what it actually is and that’s exactly what social media has been doing for the past 10 or so years. We’re all looking to celebrities and social media influencers and trying to be like them and emulate their lifestyles because they represent a better form of living. Stories accomplish that by making it better, it brings us up close and personal, like viewing something through a 9:16 window.
Now applying this to product advertising, given that everyone wants to view everything in a 9:16 or a 16:9 aspect ratio, vertical videos and pictures are what the people look for now. Music videos are shot in this ratio now for Spotify because it’s easier for the layman to view. Therefore, advertising needs to make a move to this new platform as well because Social Media Stories is a whole new genre in social media that is extremely lucrative and seems to have an extremely bright future. Stories are it on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or WhatsApp, is a great way for better connecting businesses to their customers, plus given the variety of features, they allow the customers to interact with the businesses increasing public relations.
The truth about Social Media Stories is that it is an extremely dynamic media format and given the already dynamic nature of Social Media itself, it has revamped how we use and what we expect of Social Media in the years since it has been launched. Given the history, we can only expect more to come.