Facebook has apparently found a new approach to giving its Stories feature a much-needed shot in the arm: soon you’ll be able to just double-post your Instagram stories to Facebook directly from the Instagram app. As Mashable reports, some Instagram users are already seeing an option to simultaneously share their image or video story to Facebook just before uploading to Instagram.
In Facebook, they’ll appear in the Stories section as though you’d actually created them there, but you’ll know that those stories actually originated from Instagram because they’re denoted with an “Instagram” label beneath the user’s name.
This whole experiment sounds rather desperate and sad, but it also shows how badly Facebook has so far failed at making Stories a success within the company’s principal app.
If you’re like me, the Stories row at the top of Facebook’s mobile app is probably a barren desert of zero activity. None of my friends and family are using the feature. No one posts anything. It’s just a series of grayed out profile photo circles.
Stories have caught fire across Snapchat and Instagram. I probably post something to my Instagram story at least once a day. But Facebook’s attempt to integrate them into its core app has completely bombed (despite prominent placement) and just isn’t clicking with users. The company has added new features and confirmed that stories are coming to the desktop, but nothing so far has worked.
In that way, turning to Instagram Stories, which are used by 250 million people daily, to fix its own engagement problem shows that Facebook is already hitting a point of despair. Yes, you can already publish content that you post to your main Instagram feed to multiple other social networks, but if Stories had taken off like Facebook really wanted, this fallback probably wouldn’t have been needed. It’s also the most blatant example of Instagram adding a feature expressly for Facebook’s benefit in a long time; from a user-facing perspective, Instagram has done an admirable job keeping a line of separation with its parent company.
This is just a test for now, so it might turn out that Instagram doesn’t roll out the ability to export stories to Facebook for everyone. But the lucrative advertising opportunity that stories present is too good for Facebook to just say “well, maybe people don’t want this feature in every app” and accept failure. The company is going to keep trying and trying until something lights the spark.