02 Dec Web stories: what are they & can you benefit from using them?
Google released AMP stories in February 2018. This graphically rich, mobile-focused content style is similar to many social media platforms’ “stories” functionality.
The underlying technology is built on accelerated mobile pages, which have generated a lot of discussion in the marketing industry.
Google rebranded AMP Stories as Web Stories in May, describing it as “a web-based version of the popular Story format, allowing artists to host and manage their material.”
What Is the Purpose of Google Web Stories?
Google Web Stories are a type of visual content that can be shared throughout the internet. They are similar to Instagram stories in that they allow creators to share a series of photographs, videos, and sounds.
According to Google, Web Stories are “fully immersive” due to their ability to be viewed in full-screen mode. Among the brands now using Google Web Stories are Vice, Cosmopolitan, Lonely Planet, and Bustle.
Where Can Web Stories Be Found?
The ability to be seen throughout the web distinguishes Google Web Stories from the plethora of apps with similar storytelling features.
Other places that Google’s Web Stories can be found:
1. On Your Website
Whereas Instagram Stories must be seen on the platform itself, Google’s Web Stories can be placed on a creator’s website. Unlike many applications, this provides publishers more control over what is included in the story because there are no content limits.
It also implies that the stories may be utilized to generate visitors to your website rather than being restricted to the walls of social media platforms.
2.In the Search Engine Results
One of the primary benefits of implementing Google’s stories instead of social media story formats is its accessibility through search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google Web Stories may be indexed and provided as a Google search result just like a web page.
3. In Google Discover
Google stated in October 2020 that Web Stories would be included in Google Discover feeds in India, Brazil, and the United States.
The compilation of stories, dubbed a “shelf” by Google, is shown at the top of Discover. When a user taps a story, it opens to full screen; allowing them to navigate through the list.
4. In your online publications
Since Web Stories are housed on your servers, the content may be utilized in other digital assets such as digital brochures and emails.
5. On Several Devices
Even though the AMP technology (on which web stories are built) is intended for mobile devices, web stories may be accessed on mobile, tablet, and desktop browsers. Consequently, there is no need to produce desktop-friendly versions for responsive assets such as websites, which boosts their value.
How do you create Web Stories?
Google holds publishers’ hands and guides them through the process of creating Web Stories. There are various tools to assist in putting them together and extensive development notes for those creative individuals.
Google Web Stories are constructed utilizing the Accelerated Mobile Pages format. In reality, when you click on the “Developer documents” link on Google’s stories website, you are sent to the amp.dev instructions and tutorials page. To be valid, Web Stories must have HTML markup.
They can also provide optional markup to improve the user experience. For example, HTML markup may be used to make the story accessible in landscape mode and show it in a more immersive manner on a desktop.
You must set the metadata attributes while building your web story. These do not function as the story’s page title or description but rather as a preview of the story wherever it is provided on the web. You may also use typical HTML markup to include a page title, description,
Open Graph data, and other features to optimize your story for search and sharing. Google’s AMP Test tool can assist you in determining whether or not your story has any errors. If your page is unable to be verified as a Web Story, there are connections to documentation and assistance to assist you in resolving the issues.
Third-party tools can assist you in creating Web Stories without the requirement for a developer or design expertise. Google connects to two tools from its Web Stories site: NewsRoom AI and MakeStories, neither managed nor technically approved by Google.
Newsroom AI provides designers with WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design functionality and access to over 300 million images via a collaboration with Getty Images. MakeStories offers zero-code, drag-and-drop flexibility for customizing your stories, as well as access to Google fonts and “one-click filters” for image editing.
Google and WordPress have collaborated to develop a plugin that allows publishers to generate web stories directly on their WordPress site.
As the articles are created within the WordPress website, they will be put in the site’s XML sitemap, allowing Google to find them more easily.
The plugin also allows authors to customize the information for their stories, such as the cover picture, excerpt, and logo.
Integration with Shopify
An app called Product Stories allows your Shopify pages to be converted into Web Stories. When you install the app, an AMP version of each product page is instantly generated. A user can select one of two themes or request a custom theme from the Product Stories team.
TEN BENEFITS AND APPLICATIONS OF GOOGLE WEB STORIES
Google Web Stories are a valuable channel for marketers to investigate because of its structure, diversity, and ease of creation.
Here are the top ten benefits and applications of the format.
Since the stories may be placed on a publisher’s website, the content is entirely theirs. This implies that the topics they address are fully of their choosing, with no limitations, as is the case with social media stories.
Google assumes no rights to the content, and the use of the content is subject to the publisher’s discretion. Google does impose some restrictions on the content posted, the most noteworthy of which is “overly commercial” content. It’s, therefore, a good idea to read the guidelines before starting your first story, especially if you intend to use this for advertising.
The content producer has complete control over any advertisements that appear in a Google Web Story. This indicates that, unlike the story functionality on social networking apps, monetizing the content is entirely up to the publisher. As a result, if you host adverts on your web story, you will receive 100% of the ad money. Google has also just launched a programmatic advertising solution for Web Stories via Ad Manager and AdSense.
3. External linking
Many social media platforms with comparable story formats discourage content providers from connecting to other websites.This generally requires a bit of creativity when it comes to connecting from the comments or profile. With web stories, there are no restrictions on linking out.
4. Tracking is supported by Google Analytics.
Since Web Stories act like web pages, they may be connected to analytics services such as Google Analytics.
This suggests that monitoring and user analysis are considerably more accessible than in regular social media story formats.
This is an essential step in determining how helpful Web Stories are to your marketing strategy.
5.Stories are Responsive
Unlike AMP, Web Stories, developed exclusively for mobile devices, may be responsive to any device type.
This eliminates the need to generate different content for display on desktop computers or sacrifice mobile functionality.
6. Possibility of Interactivity
Web Stories can incorporate interactive elements such as quizzes and polls. This is slightly restricted by your technical skills, as not all Web Stories creation platforms allow this feature. Yet, given the immersive nature of Web Stories, this additional degree of participation might provide an engaging experience.
7. There is no time limit.
Unlike certain other Google content, Web Stories, such as Google My Business entries, do not have an expiration date.
They will not be erased automatically after seven days, nor will they be lost in a timeline, as with social network profiles.
You may display your Web Story as long and as prominently as you choose.
8. It is simple to index and link to.
Web Stories are created to be easily indexed by search engines. This implies that bringing your content to the top page of Google will not necessitate any more effort on your side beyond the basic SEO required to rank any web page appropriately. If you are publishing content for Brazil, India or the United States, it may also display in the coveted Web Stories carousel.
9. You Can Use Any Branding Style You Want
There are no design constraints other than ensuring that Web Stories satisfy the general technological requirements. This means you may use any colors, animations, fonts and graphics you choose to match the design of your brand.
10. Real-Life Stories
When you use the “live-story” feature on your Web Story, the user will be notified in real-time that a new page has been added. This is particularly beneficial if you’re utilizing the format to report on events or breaking news.
Our Final Thoughts
Google Web Stories is a rich, engaging content format with a lot of marketing possibilities. Web Stories, unlike related social media storytelling formats, are not time-bound or platform-specific. The brand benefits of exposure through Google products such as Search and Discover are worth investigating.