YouTube is expanding its Instagram-like Stories capability to more creators today, giving those with more than 10,000 subscribers the chance to use the tool.
There are some major differences between Instagram Stories and YouTube’s iteration of the feature. YouTube Stories last for seven days on the mobile app, they will appear for both subscribers and non-subscribers, and they’ll show up in YouTube’s “Up Next” sidebar beside a video. Creators who use the tool will be able to respond to fans who interact with their stories, and creator responses will be seen by anyone who comes across the story. Fans can leave comments or questions on stories, and creators can publicly address each response.
The focus for YouTube Stories, which was first announced in November 2017, seems to be on community engagement and channel promotion more than day-to-day life updates. Creators can show behind-the-scenes snippets of videos being made, for example, or tease upcoming collaborations.
Although YouTube tested the feature with a few channels earlier this year, the rollout to those essentially within YouTube’s Partner Program means YouTube Stories may start appearing more often on the homepage for mobile users. People on Reddit have discovered the upcoming change and have expressed mixed reactions about Stories on the platform. One user suggested that YouTube needs to focus on fixing its ongoing issues, including demonetization problems and advertising concerns, before rolling out bonus features.
“The death of YouTube is finally coming to light,” one Reddit user wrote on a thread about the feature. “If they stop copying other social media and keep/support all of the old features (i.e. annotation) there is still a chance they will keep users.”
Even creators like Philip DeFranco have expressed some concern about Stories, admitting that although there’s some potential, he’s not convinced.
“Youtube ‘Stories’ are weird,” DeFranco tweeted. “They stay up for 7 days, they allow comments, but you can only reply with another video/pic, and they currently lack swipe up/video linking features which to me seems like a missed opportunity. Potential, but I’m skeptical.”
A statement from YouTube about the extended rollout to more creators reiterated that the team “applied feedback that we got from you to build a product specifically designed with you, the YouTube creator, in mind.” Whether it becomes as influential on the platform as Instagram’s feature has become in the two years since it launched will take time to evaluate.
For those who want to participate and are eligible, stories are created by opening the YouTube mobile app, tapping on the camera icon, and selecting “Create Story.”