Facebook is dominating the Stories formatSeptember 26, 2018
Facebook released updated daily active user counts for Stories on Facebook and Messenger today, and the news isn’t great for Snapchat. The company said at an event in New York City today that it now has a combined 300 million daily users across the two services. Liz Keneski, user experience research manager at Facebook, tells The Verge this combined number doesn’t account for double dipping, so a user who posts the same thing on Messenger and Facebook Stories is only counted as one user, not two. (Whenever a story is posted to Messenger it automatically populates on that user’s Facebook page.)
It’s unclear whether most users are accessing Stories through the Messenger or Facebook app, but the company did say in May that Facebook Stories had 150 million daily active users, and last September, Messenger counted 70 million daily active users. Together, they had at least 220 million daily active users as of May last year. I’m guessing most of the new growth occurred on Messenger, solely going off the fact that I’ve seen literally four people use Facebook Stories in the entire time its been live.
All of this is to say that Facebook completely dominates the Story format now, a little over a year after it copied the ephemeral format from Snapchat. In its most recent earning report from August, Snap said Snapchat’s daily active users number shrank to 188 million from 191 million the previous quarter. So not only is Facebook growing its Stories users, Snapchat is actively losing them. Now, to be fair, Facebook in general has 2.24 billion monthly users, so it makes sense that those users are at least trying Stories. Facebook has also relentlessly pushed the format — moving it to the top of the Facebook feed and prompting Instagram users to share their Stories on Facebook, too. Its efforts seem to be working. (As an aside, Instagram Stories has 400 million daily active users as of June this year.)
The updated user count arrived today because Facebook is opening Stories up to advertisers. The company clearly has an incentive to make its format seem as successful as possible, and even if it’s combining numbers in some funky way and not clarifying where most Stories users access and post that content, it’s clear that Snapchat is way behind the company and likely won’t be able to catch up.