Ever since its evolution in 2004, social media has seen an exponential rise in popularity. With a 10% year-on-year increase in the number of users, the number of users has reached a whopping 3.96 billion. In such a situation, we can safely establish that social media is one of the best mediums of communication and entertainment in modern times.
Most social media platforms are visual and allow viewers to post a host of content. Good storytelling and a powerful narrative are at the core of all successful social media posts. Considering that the attention span of the average internet user has decreased to eight seconds, content creators need to come up with concise ways of presenting their ideas. Social media stories are one of the most effective ways of conveying one’s ideas.
Introduction to Social Media Stories
Social media stories are short video clips that give a different perspective to an individual or brand. Spontaneity is one of the key attributes of such stories. Most such stories are captured on the go and have minimal editing involved. This gives viewers a welcome break from the monotonicity of carefully curated, perfect Feed videos.
Social media stories allow brands to showcase their everyday video in a socially acceptable form. Those who do edit their stories rely on intuitive editing tools that allow template-based video creation. Such simplicity of video editing and distribution allows smaller brands to participate in the video marketing revolution. This gives them a fair chance to compete with established brands and expand their business.
Typically, a key attribute of social media stories is that they are temporary and need to be viewed within 24 hours of posting. This generates a fear of missing out and causes people to take the stories seriously. However, some social media platforms such as Instagram allow content creators to save some of their social media stories in the highlight reels sections. This removes the one-day shelf-life and allows repeated video viewing.
Attributes of a Short Social Media Video
Typically, a social media short video is 10 to 15 seconds long. If you have a longer video story to share, you can create carousel stories. In carousel stories, a video story is broken into multiple shorter stories. If you have a clip that is one minute long, you can break it down into six clips of 10 seconds each and post them as stories. Most instagram video editor online tools facilitate the creation of carousel posts.
Since the story section gets better views, many content creators leverage this to share trailers of their promotional content. Many content creators use the best parts of a video and post it as a social media story. That way, the viewers of the story will be enticed into watching the original video. You can take a proactive approach and add CTAs to your stories and direct the viewer’s action.
Stories on Different Platform
These days most social media platforms allow users to post stories. Let us take a look at the use of short stories on such platforms.
Snapchat is a pioneer in social media stories and was the first to launch this feature in October 2013. Here, the story restriction is such that the video should cover the canvas. An asset dimension of 1080 X 1920 is preferred.
While vertical video stories are more popular in Snapchat, the platform allows you to upload horizontal stories as well. The only constraint is that you must maintain an aspect ratio of 9:16. H.264 encoded videos in MP4 or MOV formats are suitable for Snapchat stories.
Every day, 500 million people use Instagram stories to share their tales with the world. These story videos must have an aspect ratio of 9:16 as these ate 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels in height. Video files in MOV, MP4, or GIF formats are accepted as Instagram stories. While the minimum width of your stories must be 500 pixels, the video length cannot exceed 15 seconds.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform and restricts video stories to 4GB. You can post videos that are between 1 second to 2 minutes long. The recommended aspect ratio is 9:16, and the resolution is 1080 X 1080 pixels.
Facebook lets you add textual content to your short video stories. While the primary text can be 125 characters, the headline is restricted to 40 characters. The recommended video formats for Facebook stories include MP4 and MOV formats.
YouTube stories must have an aspect ratio of 16:9 and can be up to 15 seconds long. Unlike most other forms of social media stories, YouTube stories last longer and can be viewed for up to a week. Video viewers have the provision of commenting on your stories, and these are available for seven days. Moreover, YouTube does not give you details of the users who are viewing the content. The analytics gives you the total number of views, traffic sources, average user view time, and other such details.
Stories in Social Media Landscape
A look at the social media stories across the different platforms will reveal that these are designed for mobile viewing. The rapid increase in mobile penetration has facilitated an improvement in the number of mobile social media users.
While 76% of Facebook and YouTube users access short stories in the respective platform, 83% of Instagram users view stories. 500 million out of Instagram’s billion active users view stories every day.
Social media studies estimate that by 2025, short-form video content will dominate consumer internet traffic. As life gets busier, people will prefer byte-size content. The high retention value of short videos makes it a preferred choice for brands that are keen on their voices being heard. With the pandemic giving the world a much-needed digital push, millions of people are hooked to social media stories. As we return to a new normal, this trend is expected to continue, and the future of social media stores looks promising.