Stories lose favour as social users move to short-form instead

Stories lose favour as social users move to short-form instead

Marisa Bailey June 5, 2023

YouTube recently announced that it is retiring its stories format. Let’s take a look at what this means for brands who have invested heavily in stories and how this can affect your video content strategy.

The downfall of stories

YouTube announced that from the 26th of June, creators will no longer be able to post stories on the platform. Any stories posted before this date will remain live for seven days from the date of posting. 

In order to rival Snapchat, YouTube launched stories in 2018 as a new way for brands and creators to connect with their audience. YouTube stories offered brands a chance to post in between posting ‘main’ longer-form content, allowing viewers short-form footage of behind the scene insights, vlogs or sneak previews of videos. 

Retiring the stories format will allow YouTube to focus their efforts on YouTube shorts and community posts which are gaining increased traction and engagement on the platform. According to Social Media Today, YouTube stated that:

“Today, there are many ways to create on YouTube – from Community posts to Shorts, to long-form and Live. To prioritise these key features, Stories are going away”.

Eliminating stories will allow YouTube to prioritise shorts which has become their fastest growing form of content on the platform. YouTube has also recently added elements to their community posting feature which drives the most engagement. According to YouTube community posting drives the most engagement on their platform and shorts has the ability to provide a full-screen video experience, therefore offering a better experience than stories. Community posts allow brands to interact with their audience by sharing video updates to promote their content. 

Netflix and LinkedIn briefly introduced stories but swiftly abandoned the feature whilst Netflix moved on to short-form video content instead whilst Spotify also introduced stories but began to prioritise discovery feeds. This also poses the question of whether other platforms will follow suit now YouTube is retiring the feature.

Famously, Instagram and Snapchat have managed to make the feature core to their offerings, and succeeded where others haven’t.

The rise of short-form video content

The decline of stories can be attributed to the rise of short-form videos on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram reels. Social Insider reports that it is essential for brands to stay on top of trends and currently implementing short-form video content is crucial to many brands’ social media strategy. According to TechCrunch, YouTube released shorts to compete with TikTok and identified that using shorts instead of stories tends to lead to an increased subscriber base. Therefore they propose that the move from stories to short-form will benefit brands and allow them to become more successful on the platform.

Social Insider reports that YouTube shorts surpassed 15 billion daily views with 1.5 billion monthly users. With organic reach dwindling, short-form continuing to surge in popularity represents an opportunity for companies to get a first-mover advantage vs. competitors when it comes to this relatively new format.

Reels, Shorts or TikTok?

In order to choose the correct platform to post your short-form video content, Social Insider suggests that the target industry and the platform which is widely used by the target audience should be taken into consideration in your strategy. Don’t forget that social media overall had its lowest engagement rates last year.

Compared with short-form video platforms such as Instagram reels and YouTube shorts, TikTok has the highest engagement rate. YouTube’s algorithm suggests long-form videos to users depending on viewing history of shorts, potentially increasing views and subscribers as a result.

According to Social Insider, the platform you choose should be dependent on your business objectives. If your brand is concerned with improving watch rates on videos, then Instagram reels is the best platform to post with a watch rate of 13.8% as opposed to 9.6% on TikTok and 2.52% on YouTube shorts. Whereas if your objective is to improve engagement, your videos will generally perform better on TikTok which generally receives more comments than reels and shorts. 

Your chosen platform also depends on the type of content your brand wishes to produce. For entertaining content, it would perform better on TikTok, whereas educational content would perform better on reels or YouTube shorts.

Unsure where short-form could fit into your social strategy?


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