Stories on social media

The numbers you need to know

Explosive.

That’s the only word that comes to mind to define the growth of stories on social media.

Because ever since Snapchat launched their ‘Stories’ in 2013, users took to creating incredibly engaging content. Content that made them feel more connected with their own followers.

So connected that within 6 months from releasing their stories in October 2013, the platform reported 46 million daily active users. Kicking off a sequence of 9 of their best user quarters, 7 of which were double digit.

Snapchat

In the first quarter of 2015, Snapchat launched their ‘Discovery’ feature. It stared to monetize the stories on their platform through advertisement. It was not an immediate success, generating only 60 million USD for the full year of 2015. This was on 107 million daily active users they acquired by December 2015

 
 

As advertisers noticed the growth and the potential for spreading their message, things changed. By then end of 2016, ad revenue had grown 7 times to over 400 million USD, even though the daily active users had ‘only’ grown by 48% to 158 million.

The reason? Story clones from Facebook.

Instagram

Launched in August 2016, Instagram daily active story users hit 150 million by February 2017. Instagram did in 5 months what Snapchat took nearly 40 months to achieve. By November 2017, 300 million people read stories on Instagram every single day.

 
 

Hitting the 150 million DAU mark on Instagram in February was the trigger to roll out the story format across all Facebook products. Within 30 days Facebook Messenger Day, Facebook Stories and WhatsApp Status were released as new story channels.

Whatsapp

By June 2017–4 months after launch — WhatsApp reported 250 million daily active users on Status and by September that year it hit 300 million.

Snapchat — by that time — saw its growth curve flatten at around 180 million DAU for the entire app.

 
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Smartly.io reported in May 2017 that their clients spent only 1.18% of their total Instagram ad budget on Stories. Again a slow start for ad revenue from stories. But the market saw Instagram stories grow faster than Snapchat and pretty soon advertisement money started flowing in.

Instagram ad revenue reached 3.64 billion USD for the full year of 2017, twice the revenue of 2016. Snapchat revenue growth kept pace in 2017: doubling to 824 million USD from 404 the year before.

Next stop: mid 2018.


Facebook & Messenger

Bullish figures in the Facebook camp. In May, Facebook and Messenger Stories combined reached 150 million daily active users. This prompted the launch of ads for US, Mexico and Brazil.

 
 

In June Facebook reported 450 million DAU on WhatsApp Status and 400 million on Instagram Stories.

Things were pretty bearish on the side of Snapchat. They only had 188 million DAU by the end of the second quarter of 2018, down from 191 million 3 months earlier. The latest figures show 186 million DAU for Snapchat at the end of the third quarter. A further drop in users.

Facebook and Messenger Stories hit 300 million daily active users by September 2018 and the ads on stories were rolled out globally.

Snap’s revenue for the 9 months to September 2018 was 789 million USD. With a reasonable 4th quarter, they’ll end up at around 1.1 billion USD. This will be 33% up from 2017. A sharp drop in revenue growth.

Instagram announced an expected revenue of 6.84 billion, doubling their revenue for the second year in a row. Smartly.io reported that their customers’ ad spend on Instagram stories had jumped to 17,05% of their total Instagram budget by May 2018.

 
 

That’s a massive increase, accounting for a huge chunk of Instagram’s revenue growth in 2018.

And more to come. Smartly.io customers claim that story ads make their installs cheaper and their conversion rates higher. With recent CPM on Snapchat at $1.88 against $4.91 to $6.25 on Instagram Stories, Instagram will be raking in the cash for Facebook.

Across all brands, Facebook now has over 1 billion daily active users on their story formats. Instagram’s story ad revenue is in a frenzy. Facebook and Messenger story ads have just gone global. Now that the founders have left, you’ll see WhatsApp Status ads in 2019, if not earlier.

 
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Recently, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned the word stories 71 times during a single conference call on October 30th, according to Recode .

There’s nothing coincidental about that.

You are producing content for your audience and have been wondering how to increase revenue on what you are publishing? Reach out to me: [email protected]

About us

NXT helps you build, host and distribute engaging mobile-first stories on your terms, not Facebook’s. Find out more on tryNXT.com or join the early access list.

Henri-Jérôme Pauwels