From viral TikToks to Youtube reels and Instagram stories, short-form content has taken over the digital world.
Online audiences are drawn to concise, valuable posts in the form of videos and images — and putting out this kind of content is the best way to get your voice heard.
However, with so many widely-used social platforms, how can you possibly stand out from the crowd? Well, there’s one underrated tool with the power to boost your visibility, online traffic and earnings: web stories.
Read on to learn how to utilize web stories to grab attention and connect with users across the globe!
What are Web Stories?
Web stories are collections of short-form content like pictures, videos, gifs and animations that can be posted and shared online. They’re very similar to YouTube reels, TikTok content and the classic Instagram story.
However, there’s one big difference between web stories and these other alternatives: web stories can be seen all over the internet, regardless of the platform. That means instead of being locked into one app, users can view your content anywhere — even on your very own site.
This brings about some key advantages:
- You can connect with a wider audience.
- You don’t have to follow strict terms or guidelines of individual apps.
- You can draw traffic directly to your site instead of social accounts.
Most importantly, though, web stories help to make your content more visible. They’ll show up not only in standard Google Search, but also in Images and Discover.
Plus, you can add your web stories to your other online posts and even link them to social media accounts. The more your posts are showing up online, the more you’ll boost organic traffic to your site.
There are 3 main components to a web story: the poster, the cover page and the story pages.
- Poster. The poster is the “front cover” of your web story. It’s the first thing users will see, and thus, the main component that determines whether they’ll engage or keep scrolling.
- Cover Page. The cover page is the first full page of your web story. If a user clicks on your poster, they’ll land on this page. It’s here where you can start to show your creativity and tell your story with pictures, videos, text or animations.
- Story Pages. Think of story pages as the “meat” of your web story — it’s where you really get into the details. You can use a combination of text and visual elements to tell a story from start to finish.
The Benefits of Web Stories
1. More traffic, more attention
Creating web stories is a fantastic way to boost traffic and get noticed online. Stories are visible all across the internet, not just on a specific social media platform, which means you can reach larger audiences and a wider demographic instantly.
Plus, web stories can be shared as links on a personal website, social media post or any other piece of content. You can also incorporate links into your stories themselves, which can help direct traffic to your site or through a marketing funnel.
2. You’re in control!
From text and pictures to video, animations and more, there’s so many ways to express your ideas in a web story. The best part? You’re in control of everything.
While TikTok, Instagram and YouTube have some pretty strict guidelines for the format of your content (and the content itself), web stories offer a lot more creative freedom. It’s a great opportunity to make truly unique content that stands out from other publishers.
3. It’s easy to track performance
It’s important to keep a close eye on data like click-through-rates, open rates and impressions to understand how your content is performing. You can use this information to make insights about what is — and isn’t — working, so you can develop a better strategy going forward.
This is all very easy to do with web stories, which means you can be your very own analytics expert — even with no experience!
4. You don’t have to be a tech wizard
Not tech-savvy? No problem. In most cases, creating web stories is a very fast and simple process. The platform is designed to be easy and user-friendly. Skip the technical stuff and focus on the storytelling!
5. Easy to monetize
Once you get that well-earned attention from your web stories, it’s easy to monetize and start profiting with ads. You’ll learn exactly how to make money with your stories below.
What’s the Difference Between AMP Stories and Web Stories?
If you’ve done a bit of your own research on web stories, you may have seen them referred to as AMP stories. It’s easy to get these two confused — but it’s important to understand the difference.
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and it’s the primary technology that web stories are based on.
In fact, web stories were originally called AMP stories when they were first released by Google in 2018. At the time, the tech was summarized as a way to visually tell stories on the open web.
But by 2020, Google rebranded their AMP stories to simply “web stories.” This new-and-improved version makes it easy for all online users to create social media-based content that can be found via Google search.
Going forward, think of the modern web story as an evolved version of the original AMP story. It’s a new, exciting way to share your message — and the possibilities are endless.
How to Create Web Stories
Ready to create your very first web story? There’s three ways to go about it: self-development, standalone tools or CMS plugins. Keep in mind, there’s no right or wrong choice — it all comes down to your preference.
There are lots of tools and templates out there to help you create web stories. But if you really want to take charge of the process, you can try self-developing your story from scratch.
The main advantage of this option is simple: you’re in complete creative control. You’re not limited by pre-determined templates, and you can lead the design process from start to finish.
There are some disadvantages, though. Going the self-development route has a pretty steep learning curve, and you’re on your own when it comes to design and layout. Plus, without the ease and simplicity of an editing platform, it might take longer to create a finished product.
2. Standalone web stories tools
These tools are third-party programs that help you create and edit your stories. Typically, they provide everything you need to quickly bring your vision to life: quality templates, drag-and-drop elements, a visual editor and extra features to help boost traffic and engagement.
If you want to avoid the technical stuff and get straight to creating, you’ll love this option. For a good starting point, here are 3 fantastic (and free!) web stories tools to get you up and running fast:
3. CMS web stories plugins
You can also use web stories as a plugin for a CMS (Content Management System) like Wordpress or Webflow. These platforms allow you to build and design a personal website without having to code, and you can add in Web Stories as an extension.
You’re not done yet…
Once you’ve created your web story, there’s a few more things to check before it’s ready to go.
1. Make sure your Web Story is AMP valid. Remember, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is the tech behind web stories. That means you need to follow certain AMP specifications to ensure the best possible performance for your Story. Here are three tools you can use to verify:
2. Verify the metadata. Ensure your web stories appear on Google Search and Discover by including the required metadata. Click here for the full list of guidelines.
3. Check if your Web Story is indexed. Use the URL Inspection Tool or a Page Indexing Report to confirm that your web story is indexed. If it isn’t, add a link to the Story on your site. This will make it easier for Google to find the story and display it in the search results.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations — you’re well on your way to boosting traffic and getting noticed with web stories!
How to Make The Most of Your Web Stories
Here are a few tips on how to make your web stories as successful as possible:
- Rely on video content. When it comes to capturing attention online, video content reigns supreme, so make sure to include plenty of it in your web stories. Focus on quick, bite-sized videos that are engaging and fun to watch.
- Comply with AMP requirements. It’s a common beginner’s mistake to ignore the AMP requirements, but it’s important to follow them closely if you’re serious about getting big results from your web stories.
- Apply SEO practices. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) gets your content ranked higher in search results, leading to more clicks and views. Try implementing relevant keywords, creating unique titles and keeping track of the results to improve SEO overtime.
How to Make Money With Web Stories
Now for the part you’ve most likely been waiting for — how to make money from your web stories. There are three very easy ways you can turn your stories into lucrative income streams:
- Affiliate links. Embed affiliate links in your stories that lead to other sites, stores and products. When someone clicks your link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission from the sale.
- Programmatic ads. Programmatic ads are typically displayed on regular web pages, but they can be utilized in your stories, too. Simply sign up with a supporting ad network like Google Ad Manager, or Google AdSense, and you can start running them right away.
- Direct sold ads. Direct sold ads are built in Google Ad Manager or MGID and look identical to programmatic display ads. The only difference is you need a bit more technical expertise to get them up and running.
Supporting ad networks:
- Google Ad Manager. Google Ad Manager is a platform that can help you set up Google ads for your stories, keep track of data and manage ad revenue. It’s best if you’re a major publisher with lots of expected sales.
- Google AdSense. Like Google Ad Manager, AdSense is a central hub where you can design and run ads for your stories. It’s a great choice if you’re a small to medium-sized publisher or new to Google Ads.
- MGID. MGID is the first third-party web story ad platform outside of the standard Google options. It offers a very convenient toolkit for monetizing your stories and getting direct access to this additional stream of revenue.
How to Monetize Web Stories With MGID
When you’re ready to start monetizing your web stories, we’ve got you covered here at MGID. We provide the only Google-authorized third-party platform to help you incorporate ads into your stories, and we’ve made the process faster and easier than ever.
With MGID, you can completely avoid the technical aspect of setting up ads. Plus, you’ll get 24/7 support and guidance from our digital marketing experts.
Here’s a quick guide on how to get started:
- Contact us. First, reach out to our team and let us know you’re interested in setting up ads for your web stories.
- Get your code. Next, we’ll assign you to a manager who will give you a customized code snippet for your site. The code will look something like this:
3. Integrate the code. Then, you’ll simply add the snippet to the existing HTML code on your site. Once you do this, the new code will automatically run display ads in your stories.
4. Monetize your inventory. Once you’ve integrated the code, we’ll display relevant ads in your stories, and you’ll earn revenue based on clicks and impressions. Congratulations — you’ve successfully monetized your web stories!
Have more questions? Click here for everything you need to know about monetizing web stories with MGID.
How to Measure Web Story Performance
Once your web stories are live, it’s important to keep track of their performance. You can do this by focusing on impressions, clicks, the click-through-rate and average view time.
- Impressions. This metric is the number of times your web story appears on a user’s feed or search results.
- Clicks. This metric is the number of times a user clicked on your story.
- Click-through-rate (CTR). This metric is the percentage of impressions that led to clicks. For example, if your story got 100 impressions and 5 clicks, your CTR would be 5%.
- Average view time. This metric is the total amount of time a user spent looking at your web story.
At the end of the day, the most important asset for any online publisher is attention. The more eyes on your content and visitors on your website, the better. But competition is fierce out there, so it’s important to find new ways to connect with online audiences and keep those eyes on you.
If you’re already consistent with creating content on other platforms, web stories are a great next step to really take your traffic and online presence to new heights. They’re fun and simple, and when it comes to earning potential, the sky's the limit.
The best part about web stories is how easy they are to monetize — and our team at MGID makes it even easier. In just a few clicks, you can have ads integrated in your stories, helping you generate revenue and build your online following at the same time.
So, what are you waiting for? Dive in and start creating your first web story today!
Want to learn more about digital content, marketing or making money online? Check out our blog, or explore the many other helpful resources from MGID.