Stories are a perfect example of how social media and the way we consume content are changing.

When Instagram first introduced stories in 2016, 150 million People used the function.

Now over 500 million People use stories every day – and every large social network has some kind of story-like feature in the works.

But what makes stories so successful and how will they develop if behaviors change on social media?

Stay tuned to discover our predictions for the future of stories in 2020 and beyond:

The rise of stories about the social

For most people, stories have become an integral part of the social media landscape: the easiest way to share and consume snappy sections of content on mobile devices.

However, this has not always been the case. In fact, Snapchat only introduced stories in 2013 – and it is unlikely that anyone could have predicted how successful the 24-hour format for mobile phones will be.

When Instagram launched an almost identical story format in 2016, it only took 12 months for the feature to reach its first 150 million users. Until April 2017, Instagram Stories had more active users than Snapchat overall.

Fast forward to 2020 and above 500 million People use Instagram stories every day. In addition, the functionality of Instagram Stories has evolved almost continuously. New functions, AR filters and e-commerce solutions that focus on engagement contribute to its great appeal.

Stories are the new norm now. They offer a loose and less permanent platform for the exchange of photos and videos during operation and are a perfect match for an increased demand authentic, unfiltered content on social media.

As a direct result of the shift to stories, the publishing habits on Instagram are also changing. A Study by Fohr and later found that influencers shared 18% fewer feed posts between 2016 and 2019.

Instagram infographic

Given Instagram Stories' huge success, it's no surprise that other social media platforms were interested in participating in the campaign.

Facebook stories and Whatsapp status Both were launched in 2017, probably accelerated by their close affiliation with Instagram.

Meanwhile, YouTube stories were introduced in 2018 for developers with more than 10,000 subscribers who are characterized by a lifespan of 7 days and not by the usual 24-hour window.

Even LinkedIn has announced plans to launch LinkedIn storiesThis gives the 24-hour format we all know and love a professional touch.

And it doesn't stop here. Twitter fleets, Spotify storiesAll of Pinterest's story pins are also reportedly being tested before they go live – a clear sign that the story format is becoming more popular as users prefer to share at the moment and consume authentic content with a stronger focus on storytelling.

Are you ready to take your Instagram stories to the next level? Storyboard and plan your Instagram stories in advance with Later, available for all paid plans!

How stories have evolved over time

If you've been using Instagram Stories regularly for a while, you've probably noticed firsthand how Instagram regularly adds new features and functionality – and often releases multiple upgrades in a week.

There seems to be no limit to what Instagram can pack into the story experience, and it is changing from what started as a one-way communication channel to a gateway for conversation, e-commerce, and creativity.

Endless industry-leading features have been introduced over the years: Swipe left up For accounts with over 10,000 followers, there are a lot of engagement boosters – like Survey, ask, and Emoji slider, dynamic AR filters, Video creation toolsbuyable Product stickersand an optimized route to DM with quick reactions, to name just a few.

Stories stickers food delivery

Stories are constantly changing to see how brands, creators, and everyday people use social media. While COVID-19Stories became the new home of Live event streamsand a place for users too donate and buy Gift cards To support businesses in their community.

Instagram is even testing a new video tool that a direct competitor of TikTok in stories given the success of the viral video app over the past 12 months.

Example of TikTok roles

Source: Instagram

The nice thing about this experimental and quick approach is that some features are an industry-defining success overnight, while others (like that Chat stickers) are quietly reset after a few months of minimal use.

It is this dynamic flexibility that has made Instagram Stories so widespread – and something that laggards of the story party should pay particular attention to if they want to achieve the same success.

ICYMI: Twitter is testing a new story feature called "Fleets". In this blog post you will learn everything you need to know!

What kind of stories does the future hold?

The short answer? Nobody Really White.

Based on what we've seen in the past 5 years, it can be said with certainty that stories are becoming more and more popular on all social media platforms.

Instagram stories are already the staple food for millennial and Gen Z users, and the change in how younger people feel comfortable sharing and consuming content is hard to ignore.

Pete Davies, Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, explained Why networks need to have a story-first mindset attitude if they want to appeal to a younger audience.

"There is an entire generation that grows up with stories as a way of speaking. It is more convenient for them to start conversations with a short-lived full-screen format than to publish updates," he said.

"(You) prefer to share content that lives in time as a moment rather than as an element in a feed."

With this in mind, it's not hard to imagine all social platforms realigning their in-app experiences to bring stories to the fore in the coming years.

In the meantime, Instagram is rapidly developing its e-commerce offering Check out and Shopping from creatorsWe can probably expect more e-commerce opportunities to shape the Instagram Stories experience.

Augmented reality shopping

It's clear monetary incentive In order for Instagram to promote as many product sales as possible with checkout, the interactivity of Instagram Stories makes it an obvious choice for fully integrated, sales-promoting functions.

So if you are not taking your story strategy seriously, now is the time to get started.

What do you think the future of the stories will be? Take part in the conversation Later Instagram channel!

Do you want to optimize your Instagram Stories strategy this year? Take our free 45-minute Instagram Stories course to learn how to design beautiful stories and take advantage of the latest features.

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Written by

Jillian Warren

Jillian is a content marketer at Later in the UK. She is a lover of London brunch spots and an avid listener to true crime podcasts. You can connect to her on Instagram @ jillwrren.

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