News Feeds vs. Stories: What Marketers and Business Owners Should Focus On


News Feeds vs. Stories: Focus of Marketers and Business Owners - Eric Sachs SEO

When it comes to marketing, the only thing that’s certain is that the future waits for no one. Just when you were starting to get used to the status quo, something comes along that completely uproots all your established tactics and techniques.

If you’ve been a part of the marketing world for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed just how quickly the rules of engagement can change. Evolution is the name of the game, and the argument could be made that your ability to update your marketing strategies will directly correlate to how successful your marketing efforts will be in the long run.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of social media. Despite social media’s status as one of the pillars of most small business marketing strategies, there’s no getting around the fact that the social media landscape is still shifting every day.

Case and point: the relationship between users, News Feeds and Stories. The way your audience is consuming information is changing as we speak. And the longer you wait to recognize this shift in culture, the more money you and your business are leaving on the table.

News Feeds

Before we decide whether or not the News Feed is still worth investing time and money into in 2017, it’s important that we understand exactly what role the News Feed plays in our current social media ecosystem.

Right off the bat, it’s important to recognize that the News Feed wasn’t built for the mobile. The News Feed was originally designed for the desktop, and its inspiration can be seen in every manifestation.

As a desktop experience, the News Feed was designed as a place where users could share text-oriented statuses, links to other websites and even entire photo albums. As far as it pertains to social media, it’s no wonder that this was such a success. Having unprecedented access to an ever-expanding central hub like this sounds pretty appealing.

No matter what you’re building content for, the strategy ends up being pretty simple. Anticipate how users are used to consuming content on a particular platform. Then, figure out how much time the user will be willing to dedicate to the consumption of your content. The arena in which you’re marketing matters just as much as what kind of content you’re promoting.

If you were building content for a News Feed, you had quite a bit of freedom. Visual media was always an option, with both photos and videos performing well, but you could just as easily dive into text-based marketing. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter were built with this in mind, and the right text-based content could perform even better than visual media, depending on your audience.

But that was then. Now, the social media industry has taken a turn. For example, Facebook counts 1.28 billion daily users, with over 1 billion of those users on mobile. Guided by the changing needs of the average user, social media has embraced the mobile movement and has redefined what it means to operate via social.

The mobile generation has taken over. And with that change in regime comes a new focus for social media users. Text-based sharing is still being used, but the mobile user seems to have a different set of priorities.

But don’t take our word for it. All you have to do is consider the trends in UGC (user-generated content) and you’ll notice a pretty obvious pattern. Platforms like Facebook? They’ve noticed a significant drop in UGC, likely due to the fact that their entire platform was initially designed with a desktop (and text) in mind.

The future is here, whether we like it or not. Acknowledging this shift in culture is likely to be the only way that platforms like Facebook can get back on track with users, something that Facebook themselves clearly noticed. With the launch of Facebook Stories, it became clear that no platform was safe from this inevitable shift.

None of this is to say that the beloved News Feed has become obsolete. The vertical feed is how most people are used to consuming content, and Instagram certainly hasn’t strayed too far from that. When it comes to long form, in-depth content, vertical feeds are still dominating. It’s just that Stories give social a new dimension that doesn’t just feel fresh – it feels truly engaging.


At this point, some of you might be looking at this and thinking that the popularity of stories has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, some people are using stories now, but it’s hardly a ‘shift in culture’, right?

The reality of the situation is that this shift isn’t just going to happen down the line. Stories are becoming some of the most impactful forms of content out today. Remember how we said that Facebook’s UGC had dropped in the last year? Well, platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, which focus on visual media (and more specifically, stories) are experiencing growth in that same sector. Why do you think Facebook created Facebook Stories in the first place?

And it makes sense that platforms choosing to focus on visual media experience the growth in UGC. Visual content simplifies the consumption process for users in a massive way. Consider what users have to do to consume and create content through a News Feed. Creating the content is easy enough, but consumption? That’s much less engaging.

The content they’re after has to be hunted down. Finding content you like means scrolling down into the unknown. Which would be great if every single piece of content was engaging, but that’s not the case. Users usually have to plow through quite a posts to get what they’re after. Plus, the experience rarely feels ‘integrated’. Having to double tap or visit another page slows down the consumption process, something that most consumers don’t want to deal with 24/7.

Stories bring something new to the social media experience. For starters, they make visual media the priority. The camera is a long way away from replacing keyboards (something that’s unlikely to ever happen), but stories ensure that content will always be easy to consume. Photos and videos take seconds to witness, and yet they can tell our followers everything they need to know. Sometimes even more effectively than a text-based post can.

And that’s where the real appeal of stories lies. Creation and consumption have never been easier. Within seconds, you can document anything from a major event to the behind-the-scenes of your business. Followers don’t have to sift through hours of content to find yours either. They can scroll over and find you within seconds. But it get’s better. Checking out stories is the equivalent of users clicking on your profile. They’ll have access to everything you’ve posted that day and be able to consume it instantly.

Of course, all of this presents a glaring issue: if you’ve struggled to produce regular content before, how are you supposed to create brand new, engaging content every single day? Plus, now you have to deal with it disappearing afterward?

Forget about the fact that the 24 hour time limit is likely helping your content by giving it a sense of urgency that it’s never had before. There’s actually a simple solution to the issue of creating new content, all it demands a bit of guess-and-check.

Let’s consider Instagram, for now. The most important thing to keep in mind is that stories give you the freedom to be more candid with your marketing efforts. Authenticity is a valuable commodity here, and shouldn’t be something you shy away from. Use this time to experiment with different ideas and see what people are responding to.

If you’re still not excited about the prospect of disposable content, here’s a quick fix. Essentially, you save every piece of content you create for your story. Then anything that performs exceptionally well (or you deem worth saving) gets reposted on the actual profile, where everyone can enjoy it forever.

Stories aren’t the end of new feeds… they’re the beginning of the mobile-social revolution.

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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