Facebook may have warned investors of decelerating revenue growth in its earnings call last week, but that doesn’t mean that all is bad in the company’s social media empire. In fact, one of the reasons for the company’s warning of slowing revenue growth in coming quarters is the success of the relatively new Stories format across Facebook’s platforms. First introduced on Instagram in August 2016, the Stories format was heavily “inspired” by one of Snapchat’s most popular features and gradually found its way to all of Facebook’s social media and messaging apps.
All of Facebook’s stories features, i.e. Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status (which might as well have been named Stories too) and Facebook Stories have surpassed Snapchat in terms of daily active users by now, regardless of whose idea it originally was. The ongoing shift towards stories at the expense of feeds in social media poses a new challenge for Facebook, because it’s unclear whether the new format can be monetized as effectively as the news feed.
“One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are”, COO Sheryl Sandberg said in the earnings call last week. “If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment. And just as we did that in mobile, now we are very focused on doing that in the new things that people are doing, and Stories is a big part of that.”