12 Ways The ‘Stories’ Format Could Shape The Future Of Cont…


Instagram Stories are now used by more than 400 million people each day. As such, it might come as no surprise that other platforms, like Facebook, have begun adopting this content format. But even Google has announced that it’s started to leverage stories in its search results. For example, if you do a mobile search on Google for “Giada De Laurentiis,” a story with her life and career highlights appears for searchers to click on.

This new format opens up a world of possibilities for branding and marketing. To gain a better understanding of where the world may be headed concerning stories, we asked 12 members of the Forbes Agency Council to predict what this shift could mean for the future of branded content and content marketing. Their most insightful answers are below:

Members offer their best predictions.Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Short Snippets Will Rule

When the story feature is fully rolled out, you will see content creators put out shorter pieces to grab attention to draw them into their channel, site or e-commerce store. This short-version content can also be used on Instagram Story and for teasers on YouTube, so it will make sense to create shorter video snippets as part of your content marketing strategy. – Tom La Vecchia, MBA, X Factor Media

2. Brands Will Need To Get More Creative

With content becoming more saturated and being consumed on the go, brands will need to present their content in a bite-sized format. Attention spans grow shorter and the key message needs to be up front in the first five seconds in order to be consumed. There is also an increased amount of noise on social media, which means brands will need to be more creative with their thumb-stopping tactics. – Suzanne Rosnowski, Relevance International

3. Programmatic Ad Delivery

This has the possibility of revitalizing Google’s display ads approach. It is widely known that for driving lead traffic, display is not the most valuable tactic. If visual search data is collected and applied to even more programmatic ad delivery, this type of display advertising could be wildly more valuable than current Google display options. – Bernard May, National Positions

4. Expanded Reach To New Audiences

As the largest ad platform in the world, adding a story feature to the Google search engine could explode the reach and value of branded content by exposing an entirely new audience to story content. Believe it or not, there are still plenty of people who are not on social media, or who do not track story content on social. Google will expand the market exponentially. – Chris Cavanaugh, Freeman

5. Even More Clickbait

An Instagram Story is 15 seconds — half of what a traditional TV commercial is. With less time, marketers are going to have to capture viewers’ attention quicker than ever before. I predict we’ll see more click-bait statements right off the bat so that viewers will want to keep watching and engaging. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

6. A Growing Need For Talented Designers

Google may not always be a trendsetter, but it can create new industry norms. As Google rolls out the story format, businesses will adapt. Stories are harder to share and create than a traditional post, so a more prominent need for talented designers will likely follow. Talented designers will communicate your brand stories in meaningful ways to create great connections with your audiences. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

7. Unique Partnership Opportunities

This shift further illustrates the importance of branded content/content marketing by making it more searchable. There’s important data and information that can be gathered from story-based content. Authentic storytelling via a story format can be very compelling, and brands should pay attention to how they can integrate their messaging through unique partnership opportunities. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

8. Another Avenue For Connection

It’s one more way for brands, especially consumer brands, to engage with their customers through a more personal avenue. Recognize that this is one more tool to communicate the overall campaign you’re promoting. I think we’ll start to see brands using it much like they use Instagram, giving consumers a behind-the-scenes look to increase visibility and transparency and showcase authenticity. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

9. A New Form Of SEO

Right now, millions of people are using Instagram Stories. Whether it’s for business or fun, Instagram Stories are a great way to engage your followers. I think Google incorporating this format will truly influence the content marketing world. Businesses will now have to compete for their stories to be seen on Google SERPs by incorporating a new form of SEO that recognizes this format as well. – Arya Bina, Kobe Digital

10. The Rise Of Experiential Content

Technology has changed the way brands and consumers interact. It’s long been a two-way conversation and social media amplified that reality. Branded content is more than visual and verbal today; now it’s experiential. Stories are a piece of that — a way to enhance the way users interact with each other. Brands would do well to occupy and push the leading edge of this trend. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

11. Short And Sweet Narratives Will Become The Norm

While longer, quality content is crucial for branding and marketing, the success of Instagram Stories proves that audiences are drawn to content that is short and sweet, while still telling a relatable narrative. If this trend continues, content marketing will likely shift toward a “tagline” type of approach, with a heavier focus on eye-catching imagery and videos to capture attention quickly. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

12. A Reimagining Of The Video Experience

One of the major ramifications of the story format is the impact it has on creatives. Because of the vertical orientation of Stories, content creators and marketers need to think of videos from a completely different perspective. The format could deeply influence the future of bigger devices like televisions or even the way creative content like movies and shows are shot. – Chad Recchia, Awlogy

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