It truly seems as if every social media platform is slowly but surely incorporating ‘Stories’ into their content feeds, in some form or another. The newest member of the ‘Stories’ club? YouTube. The video sharing site has been testing its version of Stories over the past year, and YouTube is now rolling out the feature to all eligible creators with over 10k subscribers. YouTube has been testing their version of Stories with a select group of creators throughout 2018, providing them the opportunity to vitalize their relationship with their audience through the use of the feature.
This iteration of Stories from YouTube makes the creation process “lightweight, easy, and fun,” while featuring all the tools users have come to know and love in other versions of the format on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. YouTube Stories also include text, music, filters, stickers, and more, allowing creators to individually customize their Stories.
The process is pretty simple. To create a story, all a user has to do is open the YouTube mobile app, tap on the “video camera” icon, and select “Create Story.”
It should be noted that there are some key differences between versions like Instagram Stories and YouTube’s new iteration of the feature. For example, YouTube Stories last seven days on the mobile app (compared to the 24 hours a Story lasts on Instagram) and will appear for both subscribers and non-subscribers. The Stories will also appear in YouTube’s “Up Next” sidebar beside a video. Creators who use the tool will be able to respond directly to fans who interact with their stories, and creator responses will be seen by anyone who views the story. One particularly cool element of this rollout is that fans can leave comments or questions on these stories, and creators can publicly address each response. Options like these not only build rapport with creators and their audience but also cultivate a more personal and interactive experience with YouTube itself.
The focus for YouTube Stories was first announced in November 2017, and the concentration around this feature activation seems to be on community engagement and channel promotion, more so than day-to-day life updates. Creators can show behind-the-scenes snippets of videos being made, for example, or tease upcoming collaborations. Although YouTube tested the feature with a few creator channels earlier this year, YouTube Stories may now begin to appear more often on the homepage for mobile users. YouTube Stories have been met with mixed reviews on the platform. One user on Reddit suggested that YouTube needs to focus more on fixing its ongoing issues than introducing new features. These issues include demonetization problems and advertising concerns.
Even creators on YouTube itself like Philip DeFranco have expressed some concern about Stories, admitting that although there’s some potential, he’s not convinced. “Youtube ‘Stories’ are weird,” DeFranco tweeted. “They stay up for 7 days, they allow comments, but you can only reply with another video/pic, and they currently lack swipe up/video linking features which to me seems like a missed opportunity. Potential, but I’m skeptical.” While this sentiment isn’t entirely negative, it is most certainly not the emphatically positive response YouTube would likely hope for from its creator community.
YouTube released a statement about the extended rollout to more creators, and reiterated that they “applied feedback that we got from you to build a product specifically designed with you, the YouTube creator, in mind.” Now whether it becomes as influential on the platform as that of Instagram’s version of the feature will take time to evaluate. Instagram introduced their Stories feature about two years ago and is widely deemed a massive success. Will YouTube be able to achieve a similar level of success?
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