Let’s just admit. We’re living in the age of too much information, however, we do need chunks and bites of data and stories to operate generally well. When the Story format made an appearance in the mobile and social media content landscape almost a decade ago, it exploded. But what should we know about it and why do users love it so much?
The evolution of the Story format
The Story format was first introduced by Snapchat in 2013 but really started rising when Instagram tapped on it three years later, in 2016. Since then the Story train hasn’t stopped, other platforms got on board, one by one and quite interestingly, almost all in 2017: WhatsApp (Feb ‘17), Medium (Mar ‘17), Messenger (Mar ‘17), Facebook (Mar ‘17), Skype (June ‘17), YouTube (Nov ‘17). 2017 was surely a busy year, right?
Just at the start of 2020, Spotify also confirmed their new Stories feature that will allow influencers to build video elements into their public playlists. Then, Twitter stood in line in March, reportedly testing its own version of stories, called “Fleets”, starting in Brazil.
Among the social media and publisher platforms, let’s not forget an important tech player in the Stories field: Google. They launched a feature called AMP stories in 2016 (AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages). It can be referred to in many ways: the web equivalent for the social media story, the new visual method of storytelling, or a fast, pretty, SEO-boosting mobile content experience. All answers are true.
Big media outlets like CNN, Mic, Wired, The Washington Post, Mashable, and People all use this format and you can do the same with the Story View Plugin if you publish content on Wordpress. But why do these big brands, reaching out to millions of users, favour the story format? Short answer: it’s because their readers love the story format. Longer, educated answer: go on and read below!
4 reasons the Story format is so popular and why you should use it too
After all this buzz around the format, you must be curious about why the basic story format itself is so popular. We have 4 easy-to-remember reasons for you:
- Familiar 👋: users are familiar with the format by now. The Story format is celebrating its 7th birthday in 2020, so if you hop on the story train now, you won’t have to deal with introducing it to people, they’ll just hop on with you, too.
Nearly three in four smartphone users (74%) read or view social stories at least weekly. (Forrester)
- Fast and easy 🏎️💨: the attention span of humanity is decreasing by the minute, so it’s only natural that we’re reaching for faster, easier ways of processing information. The story format provides just that. In fact, upon Google’s query, Forrester Consulting, a leading global research and advisory firm, conducted a research where 64% of respondents preferred the tappable mobile web story format over its scrolling article equivalent.
Consumers were 1.4x more likely to find the method of navigating the tappable story appealing, compared to its scrolling equivalent. (Forrester)
- Visually appealing 🎀: it’s not hard to believe that the Story format attracts users visually with more success than a regular text-based post or article (even when images or videos are embedded), as in Stories the photos and/or videos are actually the main element with only a small amount of text to provide context. Studies also show that people have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later (HubSpot).
- Tappable 🤳: stories are a tappable format which means users can control how they experience the content. The Forrester study respondents "indicated that they appreciated the ability to move at their own pace through a tappable story." So they can skip forward or back without losing their train of thought than can more easily happen with a video or article.
If you feel like giving the Story format a go, check out Story View that brings this well-known content format to your WordPress website. With the help of this plugin, you can create story-like versions of your posts to drive new visitors to your site (and not a social platform), re-engage existing ones, and grow engagement.
(Psst! With Story View, you can even collect email addresses and boost your position in Google Search with the built-in AMP Story support.)