1. Home
  2. tech
  3. Everybody thinks Facebook Stories is a lame Snapchat clone, but it's showing signs of being a huge sleeper hit

Everybody thinks Facebook Stories is a lame Snapchat clone, but it's showing signs of being a huge sleeper hit

Everybody thinks Facebook Stories is a lame Snapchat clone, but it's showing signs of being a huge sleeper hit

mark zuckerberg facebook france maurice levy

AP Photo/Francois Mori

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pictured at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

  • Facebook's Stories feature might be one of the company's biggest hits in 2019.
  • The feature got a lukewarm response when it was introduced in 2017, with many writing it off as a shameless clone of one of Snapchat's best features.
  • But one analyst predicts half of Facebook's daily users will be using it before too long.
  • And the glossy, eye-catching Stories format might enable more premium advertising, netting Facebook even more advertising dollars.

The reception to Facebook's Stories feature has thus far been highly skeptical.

An unapologetic copycat of Snapchat's own Stories feature - a feed of auto-playing photos and videos from friends that delete 24 hours after posting - experts and users alike asked questions about the viability of Facebook Stories after it was introduced in March 2017.

"Seriously, no one is using Facebook Stories," a Mashable headline proclaimed two months after it launched. "Facebook Stories is currently crickets," one social specialist told Business Insider in July 2018. The Stories feature on Facebook-owned Instagram is a bona-fide hit, but there wasn't much excitement for Stories on Facebook itself.

But that's slowly changing - and one analyst thinks the feature could become one of Facebook's biggest hits in 2019.

In a research note published on January 17, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Mark Zgutowicz makes the case that while everyone is paying attention to Facebook's success implementing Stories on Instagram, "Facebook Stories (FBS) may turn out to the bigger 'story' of [calendar year 2019] as it accelerates the Stories monetization timeline."

Zgutowicz points to an announcement from Facebook in September 2018 that Stories now has more than 300 million daily users, and adds that "we're now hearing Facebook is making more deliberate offensive moves to further accelerate FBS usage, particularly with small businesses."

He estimates that Facebook Stories will have 750 million daily users by the end of 2019, half of the core Facebook app's roughly 1.5 billion daily users. Both Facebook's core app and its messaging app Messenger share the same Stories feature, and stories posted by users' friends automatically appear on both.

This bullish prediction - if proven correct - would further confirm the wisdom of Facebook's aggressive cloning of Snapchat's core functionality, which has already turbocharged Instagram's growth and contributed to Snapchat's stagnating user numbers.

It would also be a rare bright spot for Facebook right now, which is struggling under the weight of its recent scandals, from Cambridge Analytica's misappropriation of tens of millions of users' data, to the social network's role in spreading hate speech that fueled genocide in Myanmar.

And it could open the door to even more effective advertising and monetization from Facebook.

"The premium, full-screen, longer-length video format of Stories brings premium brand buyers/pricing relative to [News Feed's] predominantly performance-based advertiser," the analyst writes - meaning the shift in user behaviour from News Feed to Stories could mean even more money in Facebook's pocket at the end of the day.

Do you work at Facebook? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.


Popular Right Now