For Facebook, the future is all about Stories. At F8, the company shared the surprising revelation that the Stories format is growing faster than feeds.
But if the company wants to maintain that pace, it needs to juice Stories’ growth in the main Facebook app, not just Instagram and WhatsApp. Now, it looks like the company may have a new strategy to do just that.
The company just introduced a new set of updates for its camera-centric feature, but, unlike some previous updates, the features will roll out to users in India first.
Among the updates, a new archive feature that’s sort of a Facebook Stories equivalent of Snapchat’s Memories, as well as a new feature that lets users share audio clips to their Story.
Much like the Snapchat equivalent, the archive feature lets users privately save their Stories within the Facebook app. Likewise, Facebook Camera, is also getting a save feature independent of your phone storage.
In both cases, the goal is to give users a way to privately save photos in a way that’s tied to their Facebook account rather than their phone’s local storage. Besides making Stories more appealing to those who don’t have much storage to spare, it also makes it easier for people who share devices with family members, according to Facebook.
Saving isn’t the only area where Facebook is making tweaks to Stories, though. The app is also adding the ability to share audio messages to Stories. Instead of starting a post from the camera, people will be able to record an audio clip and simply add a colored background (and maybe some emoji).
This is significant not just because Facebook’s making a Stories feature that doesn’t rely on the camera, but because audio messages are already incredibly popular in India and many other countries.
By adding this functionality to Stories, Facebook could capitalize on some of that popularity and, perhaps, get a few more people to start using the platform.
That Facebook is targeting India (and, by extension, other developing markets) with its newest Stories features is telling. While anecdotal evidence suggests the feature may be slow to take off in the U.S., the company can’t afford to give up on Facebook Stories entirely.
And developing markets like India represent a big opportunity here. Unlike Snapchat, which has relatively few users outside of the U.S. and Europe, Facebook already has a sizeable base (and one that’s still growing). So if it can build the Stories feature with these users in mind, Facebook has an even better shot at getting them to become regular users of Stories.
That not only helps Facebook continue beating Snapchat, it helps the company ensure that its version of Stories keeps dominating.