Social media marketers have multiple tools at their disposal, from text and photos, to slideshows and live streams. However, a new form of content is now rapidly rising in popularity: stories.

Snapchat introduced the stories format first, and soon it was duplicated by Facebook and Instagram. It enables users to create vertically oriented, mixed-media stories that disappear after a short period of time. Stories are like posts, but what makes them different is their unique format and disappearing nature.

Influencer creating social media story

Utilizing stories has presented a challenge for some digital marketers, as many are uncertain about the best way to utilize them to connect with consumers. In fact, some brands avoid this format altogether. That’s a mistake, as stories offer exciting opportunities for engaging audiences.

So, why are stories so important? Following are ten reasons from the social media marketing experts at MDG Advertising:

1. People Love Stories

Although they’re new to the social media scene, stories gained momentum among users quickly. TechCrunch data revealed that each day over 450 million people use stories on WhatsApp, and 300 million Instagram users also have embraced stories. On Facebook, 150 million users create stories daily.

2. Stories Have a Prime Location

With stories becoming so popular, several platforms are aiming to become the format’s leader. This means that stories occupy a prime location on social media, often appearing in the top section of a user’s view. This top spot is particularly beneficial on mobile, since it’s the first thing users see as they check their feeds. Plus, stories’ autoplay feature means that a user often will watch multiple stories, one right after the other.

3. Stories Allow Brands to Shine

One key advantage to using stories is that they can help your brand stand out. While marketers inundate social media pages with traditional posts, stories haven’t yet reached that level of volume or competition. This may change in the future, but stories are a very valuable marketing tool today.

4. Stories Attract Influencers

Today’s influencers are drawn to stories—according to a report from klear, approximately 33% of the sponsored posts created by influencers on Instagram last year were in story format. This number is projected to rise in 2019, meaning that stories will be an essential tool for brands hoping to engage influencers.

5. Stories Appeal to Younger Customers

While many social media users enjoy stories, younger consumers find them especially appealing. Seventy-three percent of Gen Z users in the U.S. share stories on Snapchat, while 70% post them on Instagram. Millennials have embraced stories as well—53% post stories on Snapchat and nearly 60% add stories to Instagram.

Instagram stories

6. Stories Focus on the Here and Now

What sets stories apart from other social media content—that they eventually disappear—traditionally has been viewed negatively by marketers. However, stories are perfect for timely updates, like announcements about sales and events. Plus, since these posts are so temporary, viewers don’t expect perfection.

7. Stories Are Mobile-Ready

Originally, most content on social media was viewed on computers and later adapted for mobile devices. Stories, however, were built for the mobile experience. Their vertical orientation and integration with taps and swipes make them an important tool for mobile marketers.

8. Stories Can Be Paid or Organic

Many marketers think of stories as a tool for expanding organic reach, but they can also be used as paid marketing pieces. The leading social platforms have invested in ad formats that are story-based, and more options are expected to emerge in the near future.

9. Stories Are Becoming More Complex

No matter what the platform, stories provide multiple opportunities for interaction, including polls, filters, and links to external sites. Stories also incorporate several types of content options, including emojis, drawn text, or looped images. These elements can be combined and used together, creating unique experiences for the viewer.

10. Stories Boost Creativity

Most importantly, stories are fun and original—two qualities that appeal to today’s audiences. Their immediacy, mobile-first format, and array of useful marketing tools make them an excellent addition to a content strategy. Stories allow marketers to experiment with fresh approaches, unleashing their creative power and engaging with audiences like never before.