Snapchat Pushes You To Watch Friends’ Stories

Snapchat Stories are a huge hit, with the photos and videos you post to your profile now more popular than Snap messages. But they’re still easy to forget about since they’re pull and not push — they aren’t sent to friends directly and don’t generate alerts. You had to seek them out. Until now. Snapchat confirms to me it’s started “sometimes” sending push notifications that remind you that several friends have stories for you to watch. This way you don’t have to nag your friends to peer into the quirky moments of your life because Snapchat will quietly do that for you.
Story notifications fundamentally change the unobtrusive pull nature of Stories, which made them a refreshing alternative to its traditional direct messaging feature or injecting your posts into friends’ Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds. You could share a selfie or glamorous moment without having to feel like a jerk since friends had to go looking for them. The question is whether Snapchat can sustain that casual attitude while playing the secret postman, pinging your friends to drive you, and it, more Story views.
Previously, Snapchat had been one of the most conservative and respectful social apps when it came to interrupting you. No shallow alerts that someone Liked your photo, viewed your profile, or retweeted your quip. It only tugged your pant leg when someone sent something straight to you.
But social is a battle for eyeballs, and no one else showed such restraint. Twitter and Facebook will use any excuse to send you a push or email, with Twitter getting more brazen as of late, telling you when friends all followed someone or a few people were discussing a TV show or current event. Snapchat is well within its bounds to get a bit more aggressive.
Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence I’ve collected suggests early core Snapchat users might be sending fewer direct snaps lately. I’m getting far fewer per day than I did a year ago, my friends report the same, and several have told me their younger family members who were formerly addicted are becoming less keen to blast out funny faces, drawings, and random windows into their life.
Snapchat Stories is thriving, with over 1 billion views per day as of June in part thanks to aburgeoning community of creators who’ve become Snapchat celebrities. It’s also a potential gateway to monetization, which just got their own dedicated section in the app. Yet they’re often viewed after someone returns to the app from a direct snap notification. If those pushes dry up, Stories could get fewer incidental views.
And so, Story pushes. A sign Snapchat may be shifting its priority to making Stories a strong, independent product that don’t need no direct snaps to get by. Most people think of Snapchat as photos that last 10-seconds or less. But the rise of Stories could make their 24-hour self-destruct timer the new standard.