Business Today

Golden Tale

Stories and status have become popular across Facebook platforms; will it be the social networking giant's next big money-churner?
Devika Singhand Manisha Karki | Print Edition: September 9, 2018
Golden Tale

Who would have thought that a stolen idea could be this successful? When Facebook copied Snapchat's popular Stories format in 2016, it had an idea that the format's popularity could skyrocket on Instagram. And Instagram reported in June this year that Stories now has 400 million daily active users (DAUs) on its platform. The format is also on Facebook and WhatsApp. As per the latest updates, Facebook Stories had 150 million DAUs while WhatsApp Status, a clone of Stories, has 450 million DAUs.

"As the content is there only for a short period, the fear of missing out makes people check the feature again and again," explains Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO and Co-founder of the digital marketing agency Gozoop Online. "It is very easy to create a story; it is informal; it is very real and it can provide an expressive way of content creation."

In spite of its growing popularity, Facebook is yet to monetise the format in a big way. Instagram Stories currently features some advertisements, but monetisation is low, while WhatsApp Status and Facebook Stories have gone untapped so far. Going ahead, Facebook plans to push the feature on these platforms to drive revenues. Interestingly, Instagram has recently introduced a shopping feature on Stories, which is now used by Amazon Prime, McDonald's India and, among others.

Brands, too, have started experimenting with the format on Instagram to gain traction - all it requires is an easy swipe to redirect the traffic to their websites. Content creators, as well as fashion, lifestyle and travel brands with a strong presence on the platform, are using Stories for product demos, launches and sales.

But most of it is happening through either influencer marketing or organically. "Most companies are leveraging Stories as a format to ensure wider reach as viewers tend to like it," says Nimesh Shah, Head Maven at the digital agency Windchimes Communications.

Naqvi says a lot of brands are extensively using the feature to drive product need on Instagram. Paperboat, BookMyShow, UberEats and L'Oreal Paris are some brands which are already advertising on Instagram in India.

"For us, it is all about creating awareness," says Sanjay Gupta, Head of Marketing at Uber. "We have been using Instagram Stories for UberEats over the past six months and the number of views/engagement is higher than any other medium," he says.

The popularity of Stories can be judged from a hiring campaign launched by UberEats on Instagram. The company reached 2,50,000 people and received more than 300 applications for the post. Facebook could surely strike gold if the increasingly growing engagement drives in brands and advertisement dollars.

@DevikaSingh29, @thetangledside

Skippable Ads

Music streaming app Spotify may soon allow users to skip advertisements they do not want to watch, much like what YouTube offers. The feature is currently available on the app in Australia and may soon be made available to users in other countries. The new feature called 'Active Media' is reportedly being tested and would allow users to skip an ad and continue listening to the streaming. Odd Hacking

Several Instagram accounts have been hacked recently and e-mail addresses have been changed to new ones with Russian domain names, according to digital media website Mashable. The hacking victims have been locked out of their accounts, and their profile information and (in some cases) profile pictures have been changed. According to data from the analytics platform Talkwalker, there have been more than 5,000 tweets from 899 accounts mentioning Instagram hacks over the past seven days.

Redesign woes

Multimedia messaging app Snapchat lost about three million users in the second quarter of the year (April-June, 2018) the company said. Snapchat had reported 191 million daily active users (DAU) in the first quarter, but the number fell to 188 million in the following quarter. According to CEO Evan Spiegel, the company had seen the first-ever quarter of negative user growth because of the app redesign in February this year. Some users are opening the app less frequently after the redesign, and it has resulted in a drop in DAU numbers, he has said.

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