Facebook has recently launched two new features: Facebook stories at the top of your news feed and a feature in its messaging app called "Messenger Day." The company isn't even trying to hide the fact that these features are taken outright from successful apps like Snapchat, which focus primarily on visual content with a short lifespan and a lot of privacy. But any major features added by Facebook are worth a look, especially if there's a chance that it could compete on an equal level with a youth-oriented app like Snapchat! So let's look at some FAQs that will explain just what the deal is with these Stories-like features.
Okay, What is Facebook Messenger Day?
MD is a new ability in Facebook that allows people to snap short videos or photos and then share them in their Facebook feed. Stories from friends will appear in a bar above the feed. Content will vanish 24 hours after being created. The more photos that you follow from one particular person, the more likely you will see their stories in this bar. You can share these specific posts with the public or with a custom friend. Facebook decided to call this Messenger Day, which doesn't make much sense to us, but here's the official explanation.
MD is being implemented alongside another new feature, called Facebook Camera that gives you some in-app photo-taking capabilities. This is a little weird, considering Facebook also has the Instagram platform to work with, which already has a full suite of photo features, but the goal appears to save time and connect directly to Stories for easier uploads.
Wow, That Really Does Sound Like Snapchat – Is It The Same?
It really is. The Facebook camera option even comes with Snapchat-like lenses, stickers and filters to change your photo before you upload it. No doubt Facebook has its eye on limited business filters and other branding opportunities that Snapchat has tried. These services aren't so much in competition as they are in an impersonation contest.
Really, the key difference is that it's Facebook producing this feature, and not Snapchat. In other words, it exists within Facebook so that you don't need an extra app to access the Stories content – an advantage to many who already have too many apps on their devices. It also seems likely that Instagram will get a connection to MD as well for easier uploads.
What's the Advantage to Adopting "Stories," Then?
We'll note two reasons to consider MD. First, the Facebook format makes them easier to share with more people of more varying ages quickly, while Snapchat is more focused on private conversations with limited groups of young friends. That makes Stories a bit friendlier to marketers.
Second, MD is already on a platform that's more compatible with businesses (read more how your business can use it here) and offers more in-depth analytics than Snapchat, which could help Facebook win over more businesses. Facebook is also reported to be considering adding advertisements between the MD photos to increase profitability, which is another feature brands may be interested in.
So, Can I Start Using This New Feature?
Yes, check your phone to see if it has rolled out to you! For a while it was only available in Ireland and a few other countries during a test phase in early 2017. Now it's coming to Facebook apps everywhere. If you want to start using the feature now, update your mobile Facebook app in an iOS or Android device, and the feature should appear. You definitely have time before adoption rates start increasing!
That makes this an excellent time to think about your goals for photo content. Do you want this more casual way of connecting to fans and relaying bits of information about your brand? Have you been interested in Snapchat and the Stories function in the past, but put off by the need to learn a whole new app? Then Messenger Day could be for you.