The Battle of Stories

Posted by | May 15, 2017 | Engagement | No Comments

Back in the days 

Remember the days when Snapchat’s My Story – a collection of vertical photos and videos from the last 24 hours – used to be special? Well, those times are over. Snapchat is being followed with its innovative storytelling not only by WhatsApp Status and Instagram Stories but also by Facebook via Messenger day.

Messenger Day | How does it work?

Messenger Day lets you share photos and videos with the public or a friend that disappear after 24 hours. It encourages visual communication, starts chat threads and gets friends together offline. Messenger Day appears above your chat threads on Messenger’s home screen, using the same bold design that helped Instagram Stories rocket to 150 million daily users in 5 months.

There you can see thumbnail tiles previewing the Days of friends and/or Brands, instead of just a name and profile pic. They are reverse chronologically ordered to help you make plans with people sharing now. You can tap to fast-forward or rewind, and hold to pause, with your next friend’s Day appearing right after the last. This auto-advance style will make it easier to insert ads between Days.


What’s the difference?

While Snapchat Stories is for retelling what you’ve done, Messenger Day helps you find friends and meet up with them by using filters such as ‘Who’s up for…?’.

A special feature that Snapchat doesn’t have is: Active Now. Via the green dot on the Messenger Days of friends and brands, you can see who is currently available to chat with on the app. That breaks the ice to push users from seeing a friend doing something fun to asking if they want to do something.

While Snapchat gives you the option to share Stories with either everyone or just your friends, Facebook Messenger Day lets you whitelist or blacklist specific people.

Whilst Snapchat features a rotating set of selfie lenses, Messenger Day gives users an extra hint that there’s something to explore, especially on public holidays such as Valentine’s Day. Messenger Day, unlike Snapchat, ‘gift wraps’ the shutter button with the holiday’s theme to signal there are special filters available as soon as you open the app.

WhatsApp Status is another Facebook-owned Snapchat Story like feature, but the difference is that it’s end-to-end encrypted like WhatsApp messaging. Compared to the other platforms, users can watch updates from friends and reply privately and send their creations to all their contacts they’ve chosen with a persistency privacy setting. Sending media to specific friends is still done through message threads.

There are a few features that Facebook Messenger Day doesn’t have yet but their ‘competitors’ have:

  • Swipeable colour and light filters (Snapchat, Instagram)
  • Option to choose how long a photo appears (Snapchat)
  • 3D stickers that can be pinned to objects (Snapchat)
  • FaceSwap (Snapchat)
  • Personalised avatar stickers like Bitmoji (Snapchat)
  • Easily accessible emoji as stickers (Snapchat)
  • Caption background colours (Instagram)
  • Boomerang or GIF capture (Instagram)
  • Brush styles for drawing (Instagram)
  • Mentions of friends or brands that would start group chats if you reply (Instagram)

Surely Messenger Day will adopt these features in the further development of this new Messenger feature. It’s only a question of time.


A new way of advertising?

Messenger Day Ads

If Messenger Day catches up with Instagram Stories, Snapchat and Whatsapp Status and adopt the missing features, it could encourage brands to use it as a new platform for advertising. Facebook could soon allow to insert ads between posts to become one of Messenger’s first revenue streams. Messenger Day could compete with Snapchat for user growth, which has become a key weakness for Snapchat as it goes public. For now, however, businesses aren’t allowed on Messenger Day. There are no ads yet. It’s still in the experimenting phase and testing whether really good advertising that opens threads is actually valuable.

Instagram Stories Ads

Instagram is already using ads within its Stories. Having 150 million daily users, Instagram is swiftly moving to monetise that massive audience by launching ads mixed into Stories. Unclickable five-second photo and 15-second video ads appear between different people’s stories and can be easily skipped.

Instagram also provides business accounts with analytics on the reach, impressions and replies of their Stories. In addition to viewing insights, businesses will soon be able to run immersive, full screen ads in Stories which will let you use targeting, reach and measurement capabilities that make your ads personally relevant to the people you want to reach. This means that in the near future, companies can make ads that won’t bore people into closing the app.

Snapchat Ads

Snapchat ads work the same, except that users there have to choose several people’s Stories to watch as a playlist, with ads appearing in between since Snapchat stopped letting you watch all your friends’ Stories in sequence.

WhatsApp Status Ads

Beginning of this month, Whatsapp announced that it could be used by businesses to send promoted messages to customers. As expected though, WhatsApp is wary of spam potentially becoming an issue. Indeed, receiving WhatsApp messages from companies will not be welcomed by a great deal of users. Promotional emails from companies are already difficult to deal with and, by their nature, WhatsApp messages are much more immediate and intrusive. This is why you can’t find ads on WhatsApp (yet).

The impact

Facebook Messenger Day

Once you take a photo or video, you can select from more than 5,000 graphics to add on top. These are themed and categorised around the most popular questions and statements people share in Messenger. This set of graphics is already having an impact in Messenger behaviour. Slowly but surely it is being used for conversation starters that lead to more and longer chat sessions.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is contributing to more content and engagement. In fact, one in five stories on Instagram gets a direct message from its viewers. And when it comes to stories from businesses, people are highly engaged. People and businesses have been discovering each other since the beginning, so it’s no surprise that one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses.

Whatsapp Status

WhatsApp Status, compared to the other platforms, has the opportunity to spread the Stories slideshow format to parts of South America, Eastern Europe and the developing world, where Snapchat doesn’t have strong traction yet. If these users aren’t already on Snapchat, they won’t even see Status as a clone of Snapchat.

Snapchat Stories

Overall, from August to November 2016, the average unique viewers per Snapchat Story has decreased about 40% according to Nick Cicero, CEO of creative studio and social video analytics platform Delmondo. His company analysed 21,500 Snapchat Stories to discover the steep decline. By having to manually select Stories, Snapchat made it less convenient to lean back and watch a day’s worth of Snapchat the way you used to and can on Instagram thanks to its Auto-Advance feature. Finally, several sources think that this is leading some users to use Snapchat less frequently compared to the other platforms.


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