I recently discovered something odd about one of my favourite apps – it now has the story feature. You would think I was referring to a social media platform like Twitter or Instagram. I am actually talking about YouTube.
The world’s most popular video streaming site has been rolling out this feature in Beta mode to various creators since late 2018. Initially meant to give YouTube creators with more than 10,000 subscribers an additional digital marketing ‘edge’, now it seems as the Story feature is available for everyone. So no need to be a ‘Superwoman’ or a ‘Liza Koshy’ to connect with your followers through this new feature.
YouTube creators are supposed to use the new feature to create short video-based appeals and attract new subscribers to their channels. It can be a ‘Hiya! New Video coming up!’ type of camera-facing short video message or a combination of gifs and text to alert subscribers to fresh content. This is quite significant when you realize how YouTube creators spend hours upon hours writing scripts, shooting digital ‘reels’, and editing before their videos are published. The Story feature solves the challenge of maintaining engagement with followers during the lengthy video production process. Some also say that this discourages creators from using other social media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, to announce brand-new videos and keeps them within the YouTube digital realm.
Early criticism of the feature pointed out that YouTube creators can only respond to comments with another video or a picture. Another concern shared by some prominent YouTubers was how the story feature lacks the option to add in a link with the ‘swipe-up’ action. Reviewers also raised an issue with each story staying available for seven days straight – which is close to a lifetime, digitally-speaking that is. With YouTube having cemented its reputation as a provider of involved, relatively long-form video content, it will be interesting to see how many subscribers respond to their latest innovation.