In October of 2020, Google launched a new feature called Stories. While it make look very similar to what is on Instagram or Snapchat, the concept and execution are very different.
Instagram and Snapchat lack context to the wider internet. Other than profiles, neither platform has the ability for a user to follow that content through linking without opting into advertising platforms. Also, the options available in formatting are relatively small.
Google’s Stories has created a social media-like platform with an amazing premise- they don’t host the content! The Stories are created on the interent through the vast skills of millions of web designers. They pick up the Stories as they index content as they do normally.
This allows a few things in marketing that weren’t available in the other Stories. First, the content is yours to control and monetize. There’s no user agreements (at least ones we are aware of) that say you can only use it in a certain way. This is big issue facing other social as they don’t REALLY want people to leave the app.
Second, you can link this content anywhere. By setting the baseline standards of Stories, Google laying the ground for you to create a more interactive and social internet.
Third, it’s always on brand. Unlike the preset templates available in social, you “command every pixel.” With basic access to web design tools, nothing holds you back.
Fourth, it’s completely yours not only in the way you make it, but the way you track it. A Story is really just web content delivered in a certain size and format standard. You can connect your Stories to your Analytics account.
Fifth, tools to make them have already released. Check out Google’s site for more resources or download their official plugin if you have a WordPress site.
I find this extremely interesting as Google+ was a total failure. Their last attempt at reframing social failed and really only had other marketing people on it. I hope to see this social-like activity really catch its stride because we definitely need a more open and creative internet.
The reason that this is important is that the system of Google is often times flawed in that larger sites often get more of the love when it comes to SEO and eyeballs on SERPs. With engaging content as a priority, the playing field might be a bit more level, especially if they allow Stories to show contextually and locally. To finally allow engaging, interactive content have a sway on SEO would be a boon for the marketing industry and would allow creative content to finally flourish in marketing efforts.
As for my experience with Stories so far, I’ve seen them appear occasionally in my Google app but not yet on desktop browsers. I believe this is still “beta” as many things start in Google. I never really knew if Google+ was NOT in beta, to be honest. In relation the difficulty of building the content, I was surprised at how fast I was able to post the content. I have yet to see any of my content show up in the wild.
For the last 9 years, I’ve been running a local marketing company in my city of Huntsville. Search engine optimization is a lot of work and mostly a highly educated guess, even by industry leaders like Moz. I’m a big Google fan for the most part and have only had android phones. I pitch search not social to most of my new clients because it is the better long term strategy. My main complaint is that seach marketing favors the big guys. I fight large corporations to help small businesses to rank, like lawyers or restaurants.
Google’s system is still not the friendliest to local but they are getting better! A platform like Stories, if they allow a better discovery algorithm, is a way that local businesses (and their marketing companies) can find more traffic and eventually more customers.