Google has moved into the web stories space, giving marketers more control over how and where to tell a brand’s unique story.
Google has taken a page from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat, and launched its own story-telling functionality. The big difference is creators/brands can host and own their content.
This gives brands control over how and where they share their story. Unlike a brand’s Instagram Stories feed, for example, Google Web Stories aren’t limited to one platform and don’t expire. They can live across the web for as long as creators want them to.
Brands can incorporate calls to action, as well as links to landing pages, product pages and Google display ads designed to enhance the story and drive specific actions.
What does this mean for marketers? You have a new way to reach your target audience with a full-screen, visually rich immersive experience designed to maximize SEO results.
Steps to Create a Google Web Story
- Choose a program to produce and customize your visual assets
- Create an outline and draft a complete narrative
- Choose the right images and videos
- Build the Web Story
- Publish the Web Story
What are Google Web Stories?
Google Web Stories are Google’s web-based version of the stories format. They are created using Accelerated Mobile Pages technology and allow brands to seamlessly feature full-screen video, audio, images and animation. Google Web Stories can be viewed on mobile, tablet and desktop browsers.
Tip: Marketers can create interactive experiences by including quizzes and polls in a Google Web Story. Responses can be stored on Google’s servers for up to a year.
The format is dynamic and engaging, allowing users to explore and experience by tapping to move between pages within a story, swiping to move between stories and pausing at any point. Users can also easily share web stories.
Where do Google Web Stories appear?
Google Stories appear in several places:
- Brand’s online properties: Unlike other social media stories, Google’s Web Stories can be hosted on your brand’s website, digital brochures, emails and all your digital assets. This means posts do not have to meet the content restrictions third-party apps and platforms may have, giving you more creative freedom over what you put in your stories and how you use them.
- Google Search: One of the big competitive advantages of Google Web Stories is the fact that they are automatically indexed on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and crawlable by other search engines. They work just like any other web page, meaning you can link to them and share them.
- Google Discover: Google Web Stories appear in a carousel format in Google Discover feeds in the United States, India and Brazil.
- Google Images: They display as an image card with the Web Stories icon.
Benefits of Google Web Stories
Google Web Stories allow marketers to:
- Leverage search and help more people find your brand.
- Take complete control of how you use the stories format: from the content and creative to where and how long a story lives online to how you share and monetize it.
- Enhance the storytelling on your site and help users more fully experience your brand.
- Easily share, embed and link stories to your brand’s other content.
- Embed ads into the story.
- Drive traffic directly to your brand’s website.
- Create a seamless customer experience across all channels.
- Design stories to fit the brand.
- Keep users engaged with fast load times, increasing opportunities to drive conversions.
8 Google best practices to optimize Web Stories
- Use full-screen video in portrait ratio (9:16).
- Keep text to a minimum and vary type size and font to make it easy to scan.
- Make sure the copy is visible and easy to read.
- Build interest so people want to click onto the next page.
- Use an animation style that is consistent with and enhances your brand.
- Animate objects individually to increase visual interest.
- Be thoughtful about when/how to embed other digital content to maximize impact.
- Use the Web Story tool to make sure your story works and is discoverable.
Google’s five steps to creating a Web Story
1. Choose a program to produce and customize your visual assets
Google offers several third-party tools, called visual editors, to help you create engaging content. These include: Web Stories for WordPress, MakeStories and Newsroom AI.
2. Create an outline and draft a complete narrative
Approach a web story the same way you approach creating a blog post or video. Plan each page’s content (text, videos, photos and graphics) to ensure you are telling the story you want in a way that engages users and makes them want to tap through to the end. Google offers a script template to help you get started.
3. Choose the right images and videos
Visuals are critical to create a dynamic, compelling web story.
Tip: Format full-page videos vertically. This will allow your web story to use less bandwidth and load faster.
4. Build the Web Story
With all the assets you plan to incorporate ready to go, you can start to build the web story. Web Stories for WordPress, MakeStories and Newsroom AI have pre-made templates to make the process easy.
5. Publish the Web Story
When you are happy with the visuals, design and words, it’s time to publish. If you’re using a visual editor, just click the “publish” button.
Google Web Stories give marketers total control over creating and delivering content that is optimized for SEO. Even better, these stories can be shared across all your digital assets and platforms.