Facebook to begin testing new ‘Highlights’ feature that lets users save Stories

Facebook’s Stories Highlights will display as a horizontal scroll bar on a user’s profile.

Facebook has confirmed it will begin testing a new “Highlights” feature that allows users to save Stories to their profiles beyond the current 24-hour time period a Story remains available.

“People have told us they want a way to highlight and save the Stories that matter most to them. We’ll soon start testing highlights on Facebook — a way to choose Stories to stay on your profile, making it easier to express who you are through memories,” says a Facebook spokesperson.

Saved Highlights will display as a horizontal bar on a user’s profile and will show view counts. Users can customize Highlights with a name and cover photo.

Facebook first copied Snapchat’s Stories, not even taking the effort to rename the feature, when the company made it part of Instagram’s platform two years ago. After adding it to Instagram, Facebook released its own version of Stories in March of last year, and by October extended it to Pages.

By giving Stories over to Pages, Facebook opened up the feature to brands and public figures on the app. In May, TechCrunch reported Facebook had begun testing 5- to 15-second skippable video ads in Stories on both Instagram and Facebook. The TechCrunch report included a breakdown of how many people were using Stories across Facebook-owned apps compared to Snapchat’s entire user base. The number of daily active Facebook Stories users was 150 million and Instagram Stories had double that at 300 million. At 191 million total daily active users, Snapchat’s user base is less than half the number of people using Stories across Facebook and Instagram.

By extending the life of its Stories feature, Facebook is taking the idea it borrowed from Snapchat and turning it into something much different — removing the ephemeral Snapchat quality of Stories to make them more Facebook-ish. In doing so, the company creates a way for users to hold onto and highlight their preferred content, while at the same time creating more advertising opportunities for itself.

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Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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