People often find both web and in-app stores as a strange marketing phenomenon. On the one hand, they seem fairly simple. A combination of visual elements, words and interactive content is put together to tell a marketing story. But, for some reason, both web & in-app stories seem to be more effective than the sum of their parts. So, what makes story content so effective, and can you make use of it in your marketing? Well, that is what we're here to explore.
What are web stories?
A web story is a visually based marketing content format. What separates it from other types of content is that it is segmented into multiple, often short, pages. Each page contains some information, be it visual, written, video or audio. And the idea is that, put together, those pages will tell a story. Hence the name, web stories. Pages will either go automatically from one to the next, or the viewer can skip them by clicking.
The easiest way to see examples of web stories is to head to Google. Another option is to view them on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. While story content on these platforms does show what web stories can look like, it is important to note that web stories hold certain advantages over those that you can create on social media platforms.
How do you create web stories?
To create web stories, all you need to do is use one of the platforms like StorifyMe. Here you can find various tools that will help you create the kinds of web stories that suit you. If you don't have much experience with visual design, don't worry. There are plenty of templates you can follow to make your job far easier. While you likely won't create web stories that are worth sharing right off the bat, you will have plenty of room to practice as creating web stories through StorifyMe is free.
Where can you place web stories?
Once you create satisfactory web stories, you can export them as widgets and implement them in various aspects of your online presence. In essence, there is no end to where your web stories can be. From web pages to QR codes. If you manage to avoid the common mistakes, web stories can give your online presence just the kick to garner a new audience.
Why are they useful?
Ever since they entered the marketing landscape, web stories have been tremendously effective in capturing viewers' attention. Where other types of content struggle or outright fail in grabbing the viewer, web stories thrive. This is why more and more content creators are turning to web stories as a viable way to present marketing content.
Google was the first of the large companies to recognize the potential of web stories and push their marketing value to a new level. As such, web stories are quite useful in SEO management and can give you a competitive edge. While climbing the standard SEO rating is a tiring, often complex process, web stores give you an easy way to come out on top. As it is now, not a lot of companies use web stories effectively. This makes them prime marketing real estate for any serious company that wants its content to reach the first page of Google search results.
What are in-app stories?
As the name suggests, in-app stories are web stories that you can put into your apps. Seeing the benefits of web stories, it didn't take long for app developers to recognize their potential for app design. And, as it turns out, having in-app stories can be quite beneficial. Especially if you understand what story content brings, and how it can be used to enrich user experience.
Benefits of having in-app stories
Since users tend to pay attention to content presented in story format, in-app stories can be terrific for app onboarding. The combination of visual elements, interactive elements and text can be all you need to explain to your user what your app is all about. Story content naturally invites interaction. Therefore, your users won't be surprised if you ask them to interact with your in-app stories during the onboarding process.
In-app stories also serve as an effective way to present your users with news regarding your app. If you have discounts, special offers, or other valuable info, you can easily present it via an in-app story. Your other options are to use app notifications or emails. But, the user may (and likely will) have all the app notifications turned off. And when it comes to emails, it is always a coin toss whether the user will read them. Yes, you can essentially put a web story into an email, and present it as such to the user. But, all things considered, you are taking one step too many. The easier, and more straightforward option is to create your app with in-app stories in mind. That way you will have a direct line of communication with your users, at all times.
Connecting your app with your online presence
Another way in which in-app stories shine is that they allow you to connect your app with your overall online presence. In the modern marketing landscape, omnichannel presence is necessary. Your users need to seamlessly go from one channel to another, all while having your brand in their minds. The more seamless you can make the transition between, for instance, them viewing your website and then using your app, the better their experience is going to be. In this regard, both web stories and in-app stories are invaluable. They give you a customizable way to connect different aspects of your brand and give your viewer a smooth experience.
What makes web & in-app stories so effective
So far we've mentioned quite a few times that web & in-app stories are quite effective as both marketing, and CX tools. But, what is it that makes them so effective in what they do? Well, truth be told, we cannot say for sure. While marketing managers are hard at work trying to decipher what precisely is it that makes web stories so engaging, we don't have a conclusive answer. The most likely reason is that web and in-app stories managed to hit the sweet spot of length, presentation and variability.
The modern viewer is bombarded with marketing content left and right. As such, we try to ignore anything that is obviously marketing (just think of YouTube ads). For some reason, we don't seem to perceive story content as standard marketing content. And by the time we recognize that it is marketing, we've already absorbed the message. The bite-sized format that web stories push for greatly helps in this regard. Unless they are already interested, people aren't willing to read blog posts or watch videos. But, regardless of their interest, they will sit through a short web story.
Another potential reason why in-app and web stories are so effective is that they provide a ton of options for customization. A single piece of story content can contain:
- Audio content.
- Video content.
- Written content.
- Interactive content.
Through it, you can gather customer info, present valuable information, outline your brand and transition to further content, all with ease and seamless. This terrific customizability potential is definitely what helps web stories be such an effective piece of marketing content.
It is worth noting that story content was originally created with mobile devices in mind. In fact, most modern web stories are in vertical format, seeing that it is far more applicable for mobile devices. If we factor in the fact that more than half of modern users primarily rely on mobile devices to view content, it should come as little surprise that web stories became so effective. In a similar fashion, in-app stories naturally found their place in mobile apps. There they both make use of the comfort that people have while viewing web stories, and the fact that they are doing so on a mobile device.
Here at StorifyMe, we view web & in-app stories as the future of marketing. While some still consider them as a mere passing fad, we do believe that the marketing potential of web stories and the CX potential of in-app stories are hard to replace. Whether web stories will find their place in VR and AR is still hard to tell. But, all things considered, you'd be smart to investigate and invest in story content as soon as possible. The sooner you start doing so, the easier it will be to climb the SEO ranks.