YouTube Stories are available if your channel has at least 10,000 subscribers. Some people might roll their eyes at this point, because the video portal is late to the race with regard to this much-discussed topic. Nonetheless, the feature makes sense and could become a useful tool for marketing on YouTube.
All in all, YouTube Stories adhere to the familiar model almost exactly. Those who know and use such features elsewhere will quickly feel at home here. The biggest difference is that YouTube Stories are available for seven days instead of the usual 24 hours. On the one hand, this increases the chance that the stories will be seen. On the other hand, it reduces the sense of urgency among users to stay tuned every day. We’ll see if YouTube sticks to this decision and whether it turns out to be a smart one or not.
What it is intended for
One of the aims of the stories is certainly to create a greater sense of community and more activity on the video portal. After all, YouTube has been struggling for years with the fact that it could actually be a social network, but nobody really sees it that way.
In order to counteract this, YouTube had already introduced various post types in the mobile app, as known elsewhere. For example, it is possible to publish a status update in text or image form. Users can respond with likes and comments. This provides a way for YouTubers to interact with their fans and followers even if they don’t have a new video to share.
How to use it and for what purpose
The stories are now aiming to achieve the same goals and they are also only available in the mobile app. That is where they are created as well. In principle, the process is exactly the same as in other offers. Those, for whom the feature is enabled, will now find an option for “Stories” next to “Video” and “Post” when clicking on the plus sign for new content. Then you can add photos and short portrait videos as well as many extras like stickers.
Companies can use this to provide a look behind the scenes, announce an upcoming video or implement campaigns with their followers, for example. Of course, it is hard to resist the temptation to reuse the material published on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat. This may make life easier, but it also makes the content interchangeable and not necessarily suited to the format. It seems better to consider a separate concept for the video portal that directly relates to the content and the target group here.
It is useful that the stories are visible to everyone including viewers who are not yet subscribers. As already familiar with videos, YouTube recommends stories depending on interest. Ideally, this could even attract new viewers to the channel.
How it compares to others
In my opinion YouTube Stories should not be seen as a competitor for Instagram Stories. Hardly anyone will create a YouTube account for this feature alone. They are an important new element, however, because otherwise even such a large portal as YouTube could get lost in the general noise. The competition never sleeps, as Facebook Watch or IGTV have shown. However, they have been offering stories for quite some time now and the danger is that the valuable “creators” will migrate to one of these sites or only regard YouTube as a secondary platform.
The bottom line
In this respect YouTube is not bringing anything fundamentally new to the table. The new feature is rather a sign that the stories format is gaining in importance. At the same time, the format is expanding what companies can achieve with YouTube. In view of the fast pace of the social web and especially stories, YouTube’s model already seemed a bit out of date. The new stories feature has therefore arrived just in time.