Last week saw Facebook begin testing its new Stories feature in Ireland for iOS and Android, announcing that it would soon make its way to other countries. The announcement follows the release of Instagram Stories in August – and with the similarities between the two features being rather apparent, it’s sure to have ruffled a few feathers at Snapchat HQ (again…).

What’s on offer for brands?

Brands will be able to share ‘stories’ consisting of ephemeral images and videos which will then disappear 24 hours later. The platform has dabbled in this area previously with the testing of ‘Quick Updates’ in July but chose not proceed with a launch. However, it would appear that the success of Instagram Stories has changed the minds of the powers that be at Facebook. Instagram Stories clocked up 150 million daily users over the space of five months and it looks like Facebook could be aiming to recreate this success with its very own ‘Stories’.

Facebook Stories will no doubt be a mobile-focused feature, but we’ve noticed that there has been no mention of how the new feature will appear, or if it will even appear on desktop. And with the testing of ads within Instagram Stories announced earlier this month, it’s highly likely that integrating Facebook ad products within Facebook Stories could appear down the line too.

So many Stories, how do brands choose where to tell theirs?

The success of Instagram Stories and Snapchat has been widely reported on, but for many brands this would have meant the launch of a new channel, and with that, the building of a new audience and starting up a series of test and learn activities, in order to find their brand’s sweet spot with these platforms.

Facebook Stories will come as something of a blessing for brands which prioritise Facebook as a channel and are looking for new ways to spark the interest of this particular audience. Little circles will be placed in the main Facebook app above the newsfeed, making it virtually impossible to use Facebook without being exposed to Facebook Stories. Your content will be one of the first things users see when they open their Facebook app. Not bad eh…?

We’re seeing a huge increase in the visual social sharing trend, resulting in a move away from solely text-based sharing. Facebook Stories will offer brands that have spent years building and nurturing their Facebook audience similar functionality to Snapchat and Instagram Stories – and all from within Facebook itself.

Some might say that Facebook is simply following suit, or doing so a little too late in the game – Instagram Stories launched in August 2016, and Snapchat Stories were introduced way back in 2013. But considering the immense success of both, it looks like Facebook is arming itself with a method of storytelling that’s here to stay, and many brands will be delighted to get involved. We’re definitely excited to see how things pan out for those little circles above the newsfeed – keep ‘em peeled.