Web Stories

Web stories are a new format of online content into more visual and interactive forms of storytelling on the web. First announced in 2020, web stories allow publishers and content creators to develop bite-sized, visually rich stories optimized for mobile devices. Some key features of web stories include: - Visual focus: Web stories are built around full screen photos, videos, graphics and other visuals, with minimal text overlays. 

This makes them naturally suited for more visual storytelling compared to traditional text-heavy articles. - Vertical orientation: Web stories are designed for vertical, portrait orientation on phones. This takes advantage of the main way people use their smartphones. - Immersive scrolling: Rather than pagination like a normal article, web stories use endless scrolling through a series of full screen taps, with each tap revealing a new element of the story, like a page in a book. This creates a more immersive, app-like experience. - Overlays and animations: 

Web stories support features like animated text overlays, moving graphics and interactive elements to create visually dynamic stories. - Audio: Background audio and sound effects can also be added to further enrich the experience. - Ad integrations: Google has developed ad formats like shoppable ads and branding to open up web stories as a channel for brands. The main platforms for publishing web stories today are Google's own products like Google Search, Discover and News along with Google-owned YouTube. 

Web stories can also be embedded on other websites. For publishers, web stories provide a way to repackage existing long form stories into more visual and snackable versions optimized for mobile. The immersive, full screen interface provides a way to tell stories that feel more app-like compared to a traditional text article. The format also provides opportunities to incorporate more graphics, illustrations, photos, video clips and other visuals for more engaging and dynamic storytelling. For brands, it is a visually compelling channel to reach consumers on mobile. However, producing web stories requires more intensive work compared to text articles given the graphic design and technical components. 

This has limited adoption so far, though Google is pushing the format and working on ways to streamline creation. As online content consumption continues shifting to mobile, web stories present an evolution in digital storytelling tailored for smaller screens. While still early, expect to see the format gain more traction if Google and publishers can solve adoption hurdles.