Facebook launches 'Stories' in Ireland: What they are and what to expect

02 February 2017

Facebook launches 'Stories' in Ireland: What they are and what to expect

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Snapchat must be the most flattered social media platform there is right now. The mighty Facebook is having another try at taking on the platform that has generated a whole lot of buzz amongst digital marketers. After failing miserably with Snapchat-clone apps Poke and Slingshot, the success of Instagram Stories appears to have convinced the social media giant that the time is right to deal with its upstart rival.

Here are the answers to three key questions about this move:

Why is Facebook launching the Facebook Stories in Ireland first?

Snapchat’s core user base is in North America. Facebook appears to be aiming to capture market share in Europe, where Snapchat currently has a smaller following, to stop its competitor’s expansion. Since Facebook’s European headquarters is in Dublin, Ireland is an obvious place to start the ball rolling.

Given that Facebook has to expect Snapchat at least to try to respond to this challenge, it’s probably a safe bet that Facebook Stories will be rolled out promptly across Europe and that the UK and Germany will be high-priority markets.

Why is Facebook so eager to take on Snapchat?

Snapchat has been creating a lot of excitement in the digital marketing world although, like many social platforms, it is facing the challenge of turning that excitement into revenue; something that Facebook has more experience with.

By launching not one but two rival services (assuming you count Instagram Stories as a separate service), Facebook is giving itself a chance of achieving one of two favourable outcomes:

1. It could succeed in drawing market share from Snapchat and use that market share to enhance its own profitability.

2. Even the threat of serious competition from Facebook/Instagram could make people nervous of buying into Snapchat in its forthcoming IPO and therefore put Facebook in a position to make Snapchat an offer it would find very hard to refuse.

What are Facebook’s chances of success?

Facebook appears to believe that the reason why its Snapchat-like apps failed while Instagram Stories has been a success is because users had to create friend lists from scratch on the former, but already had existing friends on the latter.

It seems that Facebook is assuming that users who already have friend lists on Facebook will prefer the convenience of using a single platform to create and share their social media content rather than having to rebuild their friend list on a new platform.

There may well be quite a bit of truth in this, but it ignores the fact that a lot of Snapchat’s success has been built on the fact that it provided an alternative social media platform for people who had fallen out of love with Facebook (particularly young adults) and/or who actively liked to have different friend lists in different places so that they had more control over who saw what content.