Facebook has announced that its stories platform has 150 million daily active users, and that it will begin testing ads on stories in the US, Mexico and Brazil starting Thursday.
The video ads are 5 to 15 seconds long, and users have the option to skip them. Facebook can automatically reformat ads on the news feed with borders and text at the bottom, and ads on Instagram stories can also be extended to Facebook stories.
“Ads in stories have added a lot of value for businesses on Instagram, and we believe we can do the same on Facebook,” Zoheb Hajiyani, Facebook product manager, said in a statement. “Ensuring that this is a good experience for people using the product will be our top priority,” he added.
Stories was launched in March 2017 as a competitor to Snapchat stories. The feature allows people post a string of videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours. WhatsApp, which is now owned by Facebook, also has a similar feature, with over 450 million daily users. As of November 2017, Instagram stories had 300 million daily active users — nearly twice as many as Snapchat. Instagram Stories and Snapchat both also feature ads.
At this year’s F8 (Facebook’s annual Developer’s Conference), Facebook chief product officer, Chris Cox said the company expects Stories to surpass feed posts sometime next year, as the primary way to share things with friends. Over the next month, Facebook will begin showing ads from a small number of businesses before expanding to more advertisers and countries in the coming months. The company also plans to offer businesses more metrics on the performance of their stories.
Also on Instagram, there is a new feature that allows users share posts — both from their own account and from public accounts they follow — directly to their story as a stickers.
Instagram imagines the feature will help promote friends and brands users like on their own story, making it easier to share, say, a band’s tour announcement with their followers. (It is easier than saving or screenshotting the image itself since people are going to do it anyway.) Any post that users share to their story will still include the original poster’s username, along with a link back to the original posts.
Users will be able to share stories by tapping the same paper airplane above a post in their feed that they would use to share a post through Instagram Direct. Now, there is an additional option to create a story instead. Posts share to stories as a sticker that users can rearrange, resize, and place on customizable backgrounds before posting.
Only posts from public (not applicable to private accounts) accounts can be shared to stories, and users will have the option to disable others from sharing their posts.
The new story-sharing feature was launched last Thursday, 17th May, 2018 on Android. It is expected to roll out to iOS over the coming week.