Google Stories for Your Marketing Agency
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What Are Google Stories?
If you have a Facebook or Instagram social media account, then you’ve probably seen or posted a few ‘stories’ yourself. Google has taken that idea and created something called “web stories,” where you can plugin stories on your WordPress website, or use third-party tools to create and embed on your site. You can customize stories with text, images, videos, audio, etc. Users can navigate the stories at their own pace, by tapping or swiping through the content.
Where Do Web Stories Appear?
Your stories can appear on Google Discover, Google search results pages, and Google Images.
Google Discover’s carousel can be found at the top of the Google app under ‘stories’ for Android and IOS devices. The carousel is only available to view in the United States, Brazil, and India so far. Your story may also be placed on the Google Discover feed as a post.
Google search results display web stories in a grid-style view titled “visual stories.” For example, if you search “Things to do in Alabama,” you will get regular search results, and also visual stories from multiple different publishers. The Google search results grid for web stories is only viewable in the U.S. as of now, however, stories can also be found as a single search result, and that can be viewed anywhere Google search is available.
Google Images displays visual stories as a single image with a web stories icon attached. This is also available anywhere Google images are available. Within our agency work, we’ve noticed that adding web stories has improved total search impressions as Google will incorporate Stories into search results.
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Ideas for Stories
Web stories are typically geared towards different lifestyles such as fitness, beauty, health and wellness, entertainment, etc. To utilize stories for your business, you can focus on services you offer, benefits of those services, feature products you offer, history of your company, community information, tips and tricks, fun facts, how-to’s, etc. It can even work for a marketing agency but like any social or visual media, it takes experimentation.
Your web stories should be unique, interesting, relevant, and visually appealing to grab the user’s attention. Videos are proving to increase engagement more than image and text-only videos. Consider using videos primarily throughout your story, and supplement it with related images and text. For your agency, see below for resources for free stock photos, marketing gifs, and stock videos.
Web stories should also begin with a clear and concise narrative, followed by a strong brand presence. Whether you’re making stories for your own business or a client, the brand should stick out through the whole video. A few ways to do this is to stick to brand colors and fonts and use the logo on as many slides as possible, especially the beginning and end slide. You get branding!
You also need to remember to stick to your story. Once you’ve established your narrative, stick to it seamlessly to avoid confusing your reader. Choose a narrative or storyline that will interest your reader, then use videos, photos, gifs, etc. to accompany it and bring it to life. The details in your design are just as important as the story you’re telling.
Creating a Story
Now that you know what web stories are and where you can find them, let’s get down to creating a story and some of the best practices you should utilize. If you have a WordPress or Shopify website, you can add a plugin that allows you to create web stories right on your site. If not, third-party sites allow you to create web stories such as MakeStories.
When creating a story, you should have the same mindset as if you were creating a webpage. First, choose from a variety of different tools to publish your story such as a WordPress plugin on your actual website, third-party sites, or develop your own with Google’s developer tools. View all of the tools here.
Next, design your story with these best practices in mind:
- As mentioned above, implement more videos than just images and text.
- Avoid using too much text, and using text-only slides back to back. Try to stay under 280 characters when you do use text.
- Make sure all text is visible to the reader, avoid using fonts that are hard to read, or colors that blend in with the background. Also be aware of your font size, because your story will need to be flexible to fit multiple different sizes, depending on what device your story is being viewed on. For example, if your text is too big, it may run off the side of your story, or be blocked by another element, if being viewed on a desktop or larger screen.
- Use animations to add life to your web story. Avoid using too many and repetitive animations, as it can cause too many elements for your reader to focus on.
- Keep videos to 60 seconds or less.
After you’ve designed a story you’re proud of, you’re ready to publish!
Google Stories for Marketing Companies
In the design or marketing industry, storytelling doesn’t mean the same thing as reading a book. Marketing professionals tell stories about their client’s brands or products through visual stories. Storytelling is about conveying to consumers the message behind your brand and services or products.
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat stories are the most popular storytelling platforms for individuals and businesses, however, utilizing Google web stories for your clients and yourself, might just be the next big thing for gaining more engagement and awareness. Check out our resources for designing your web story below.
A few tools you can pull free stock photos from are: Pexels, Pixabay, Stockunlimited, Unsplash, and so many more. Free stock photos are important for licensing and trademark reasons, especially when used for commercial use.
As we mentioned above, adding gifs or animations to your visual stories adds a new element and brings it to life. Check out these free marketing gifs here. We built these since we noticed there aren’t a lot of gifs available for agencies to use.
Also as we mentioned earlier, videos are recommended over the image and text-only stories. A few websites you can download free stock videos from are Pixabay, Pexels, and Videvo. Adding audio to your story is also recommended by Google. You can download free music or sound effects from Videvo as well.
Web stories are a full-screen activity for users to enjoy. Users can tap with one click to navigate the story or click links provided within the story to learn more information from outside sources.
Google is already the primary source for consumers to get information, this new tool just gives internet users a different way to find the information they are looking for. Instead of reading an article, they can view a story!
What will you accomplish with Google web stories? Interested in learning more of the technical aspects? View the Google developer page here.