How Web Stories Are Different From Instagram and Snapchat Stories

How Web Stories Are Different From Instagram and Snapchat Stories
Snapchat incepted it, Instagram augmented it, and now, with Web Stories, Google is reinventing the Stories format. Let's see how...
Akshay Kulkarni
Last Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Mobile Screen
Since 2013, when Snapchat first introduced Snapchat Stories, Stories have evolved enormously and fitted aptly to various platforms over time. In a world where trends come and go in a matter of years, months, or even days, Stories have been standing strong with retaining and feeding a user base of around 1 billion worldwide. This innovative format has been reinvented many times according to the needs of particular platforms. Started with postings of only pictures and videos to adopting the complex concepts of geotargeting (for location) and face detection (for filters), Stories have always been the subject of continuous experimentation.
Group of Mobile Users
The implementation of Instagram Stories in 2016 proved to be a major advancement. Instagram managed to make their Stories more user-friendly by simplifying the UI (User Interface). Building on the basic framework of Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories were intuitive and felt less exclusive. Thus, their user base exploded and Instagram Stories surpassed Snapchat Stories in terms of daily active user count.
AMP Stories
Regardless of their minuscule differences, Instagram and Snapchat Stories serve almost the same purpose and function basically the same. Google’s Web Stories, however, differ subsequently from Instagram and Snapchat Stories. Launched in early 2018, Web Stories are developed based on Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology and are a part of the open web. Web Stories allow users to combine crisp, bite-sized text with rich visuals like images, videos, and graphics to provide captivating and visually delightful experiences.
Difference Between Web Stories and Instagram/Snapchat Stories
1. Instagram and Snapchat Stories are ephemeral. Although you can keep these Stories surfaced by saving them to your profile and reposting them, they disappear from your feed after 24 hours.

Web Stories are basically Stories for the open web. As you create them from scratch, you have all the control over their longevity.
2. Instagram and Snapchat Stories are platform-dependent, i.e, these Stories are developed only for their respective and sister platforms.

Web Stories are developed for the open web. They are capable to perform uniformly on any platform, all across the web.
3. You can create a basic Instagram/Snapchat Story by simply using your phone’s camera. To enhance it, you can use specific features like filters – to animate faces, geotags – to add location, links – to link a particular web page, and more.

Google has provided a sample boilerplate code on GitHub for a model Web Story which you’ve to configure to create your Web Story. However, websites like Visual Stories make creation of Web Stories easier. Visual Stories provides an intuitive Web Story Builder to help you craft Web Stories without much effort.
4. Instagram and Snapchat Stories have limited accessibility. As these Stories are native to mobile devices, to access them on desktops you’ve to either install Android Emulator softwares or some paid tools to the system, or enable specific plugins in the browser.

Although Web Stories are mobile-first, Google has designed them responsively. So, Web Stories are accessible on all kinds of devices without any hassles.
5. Instagram and Snapchat Stories cannot be searched on the Internet and are shareable only on their respective and sister platforms.

Web Stories, being a part of the open web, are shareable across the Internet and searchable on all search engines. And if you use Visual Stories, you can even get Web Stories on your website without getting involved in any technicalities.
6. Instagram and Snapchat Stories cannot affect SEO, as they do not appear on any SERP.

As Web Stories are search engine friendly, you can effectively improve your rankings with them by positively impacting the engagement metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, etc.