Facebook Stories’ New Ad Tests Could Have a Big Impact on Digital Marketing

As any smartphone addict user can tell you, we are in the era of visual communication. Americans are consuming more content than ever, and sight, sound, and motion are key to maintaining a competitive edge in capturing attention and evoking emotion.

It makes sense, then, that Facebook Stories are on a path to surpass Facebook’s news feed as the primary way people share with their friends. It also makes Facebook’s recent announcement that it now has enough daily active users to start testing ads within Stories a Big Deal.

Originally developed by Snapchat, Facebook’s version of Stories is a 5- to 15-second skippable slideshow or video that appears only within the Facebook app, above users’ newsfeed. Across all social media platforms, Stories are growing 15x faster than feeds. TechCrunch summarizes the impact on Facebook advertising best when advising marketers to “rethink their message not as a headline, body text, and link, but as a background, overlays, and a feeling that lingers even if viewers don’t click through.”

Consider the implications for a communications agency like the Patient Experience Project, which has a mission to co-create authentic content developed by patients for patients. PEPTrials, the clinical trial recruitment arm of the PEP, frequently leverages social media advertising to find “needle in a haystack” patients who may qualify for a clinical trial. Key to effective communication is an understanding of the medium for content distribution.

Co-creating compelling patient education content in an ever-shifting digital landscape takes a team: content strategists, digital strategists, patient advocates, and of course, patients themselves, coming together to create a meaningful educational experience about their disease and its treatment options. Communicating that experience visually isn’t simple. But when it’s done, you can bet it makes a great Story.