Stories May Replace Feeds As Social’s Monetization Engine
We’re seeing a shift in the way users engage on social platforms, and it’s starting to have a perceptible impact on revenue. Since as early as 2004 social platforms like Facebook and others have made their money by selling ads and sponsored posts which were inserted into their platforms’ Feeds. The formula was as simple as it was effective – amass 1st party data at scale on users based on their profiles and how they interact with content in their Feeds, and then run a boat load of ads by leveraging the data.
Fast forward almost 15 years and we’re starting to see the social game change a bit. In 2012 Snapchat debuted its Stories concept, which allowed users to publish their own personal narrative over the trailing 24 hours. This allowed other users to follow individuals’ Stories and not be subjected to the randomness of Feed-delivered content. It turned out users loved Stories. In fact the popularity became such a game changer that Facebook copied Snapchat’s idea with Instagram Stories in 2016 and then launched Facebook Stories in 2017. As you can see in the chart below the DAUs for Stories is starting to become a major driver for social growth.
As a result of Stories’ popularity publishers are starting to focus their monetization efforts into this format. Snapchat has already rolled out non-skippable :06 videos in its version of Stories, and Facebook is starting to test its own :05-:15 Stories ads. Facebook CPO Chris Cox even went so far as to proclaim that Stories will surpass Feed as the number one way users share, so you know the monetization of Stories can’t be far behind.