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“Facebook Stories is currently crickets”: It won’t be easy for Facebook to sell advertisers on what it hopes is its next huge growth opportunity



facebook ceo mark zuckerberg gesture
founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Viva Tech start-up
and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24,


  • Facebook sales reps have been aggressively selling
    Stories to advertisers, according to 10 media buyers whom
    Business Insider spoke to.
  • The move comes on the heels of its earnings
    call this week, where Facebook executives warned that its
    advertising growth rate slowing down.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

With its News Feed nearly saturated and advertising growth rates
slowing down, Facebook knows that it must look elsewhere to
maximize profits.

That place increasingly appears to be Stories — the section that
houses ephemeral photos and videos for 24 hours before they

While Stories are already
hot on its sister platform Instagram
, the format is yet
to take off on Facebook itself. So it won’t be an easy sell.

But the company is clearly making it a priority moving forward.

Not only did founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg call Stories “a
big part of the future of sharing” on the company’s earnings call
on Wednesday, Facebook has also been pushing the format to
advertisers, according to 10 media buyers whom Business Insider
spoke to.

“It seems as though Facebook is looking to replicate the success
of Instagram stories by applying it to Facebook,” said Brendan
Gahan, founder at Epic Signal.

Every Facebook presentation starts with a slide on Stories

Facebook Stories launched in 2017, and the company
just began testing ads
on it in the US, Brazil and Mexico in
May 2018. As a select few advertisers experiment with ads on
Facebook Stories, its sales executives have been preparing
for a much wider rollout.

In fact, Stories have been heavily emphasized at meetings and
creative brainstorm sessions over the past few months, several
media buyers said, encouraging them to test the format out.
Facebook is even sharing tips and tricks with advertisers on how
to crack the format, they said, like how Stories content should
be modeled on memes, said one executive.

“In the last couple of creative workshops we’ve had with them,
every presentation has started with a slide on Stories,” said one
media buyer.

Facebook wants to replicate Instagram Stories ads everywhere

It helps that marketers have tasted success with Instagram
Stories ads. Online retailer Overstock, for example, saw an 18%
increase in return on ad spend and a 20% decrease in cost per
acquisition when it ran video ads in Instagram Stories with a
shop now button, as COO Sheryl Sandberg pointed out in the call.

“Within the past few months it’s come up a lot more, with the
theme being about Stories not just on Facebook, but also how
it’ll play out in places like Messenger and WhatsApp,”said Noah
Mallin, head of experience, content and sponsorship at

The company is even providing free trials for Facebook Stories
ads, said one buyer, handing over “several thousand dollars” in
free media for Stories to incentivize buyers to test the feature.

I haven’t heard of specific metrics yet, but the general
consensus is that it will be more of an awareness driving tool
than something that will be used to drive conversion,” the buyer

Facebook wants to take Stories beyond Instagram, but it’s
not going to be easy

Since Instagram rolled it Stories
 in 2016
(largely copying the format from Snapchat), the product has
attracted  400 million daily users. Several brands have run

successful campaigns
in the format.

So naturally, Facebook sees an opportunity to replicate
this success on its core app. 
But it’s not going to
be easy feat.

In comparison to Instagram Stories, Facebook
Stories has just about 150 million daily active users
as of May. And on the brand side, t
he ads currently
being tested on Facebook Stories have no click-through or
call-to-action, even though Facebook has plans to add that as
well as additional metrics in the coming months.

“Facebook Stories is currently crickets,” said Ryan Kovach,
paid social specialist at Social Outlier. “It typically takes a
while between when a format is rolled out to when it gains
critical mass.”

Plus, Stories aren’t really as lucrative as ads on
Facebook and Instagram’s feeds, as the
Wall Street Journal reported.
 Ads in Stories generate
about $1 per daily user compared with $9 from ads in users’
Instagram feeds and $27 for ads in the Facebook feed, according
to Wells Fargo analysts.

Facebook is working around that by making it easier for both
brands and users to post on Stories. Users, who are already
habitually posting to Instagram Stories, can share the same clips
on Facebook Stories with the click of a button.

Advertisers on the other hand, can either directly port
their clips over from Instagram Stories or reformat them from
their News Feed ads. And Facebook also has plans to add
direct-response features as well as additional metrics to
Facebook Stories in the coming months, according to a company

All of this should contribute to Facebook Stories ultimately
gaining momentum, buyers said.

“Facebook’s core feed is eroding and users are veering toward the
Stories format,” said Jon Morganstern, vp of paid media at
VaynerMedia. “As soon as they have succeeded in getting enough
daily users and time spent, they will swiftly monetize it.” 

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