A beginner's guide to Google Web Stories

Content is king and remains the cornerstone of Digital Marketing. Blogs and videos are still the primary content forms (enriched with infographics, slideshows, reels, and what not). But, off late, there’s a new kid on the block – Web Stories. While story formats on social media platforms are not new, they are often restricted and native to the platform. With Web Stories your content can be published for the world wide web and be hosted and accessed from your own website.
Intrigued? Let’s find out more…

What are Google Web Stories?

Google Web stories are a web-based version of the popular “Stories” format that blends video, audio, images, animation, and text. They allow content creators to use a mixture of rich media to create and tell their story using an immersive, full- screen experience that can be hosted anywhere on one’s own website. Furthermore, links, call to actions, and even Google Ads can be included in your Google Web Stories!

Using individual story panels, you can share brand stories that users can click through. These stories can be viewed on your website, as well as on Google Search, Google Images, and Google Discover. Owning your Google Web Stories means that you get the full advantage to leverage search engine optimization opportunities and make the most out of this immersive storytelling option.

Web stories are backed by Google‘s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology.

Key Benefits of using Google Web Stories

Visual Stories for the Open Web…

Web Stories are meant to help people consume content at a glance while browsing the web, allowing readers to tap on images and text to get more information about the story. Hence, they are a great way to highlight your most important information and use them to show off your most recent events, highlights, and news about the business.

On your website….

Since they can be hosted on your own website or be embedded into other websites. Web Stories can be used to augment your existing website content or promote your blog. Besides offering increased user engagement they can be easily indexed by search engines and shown in search results, which means they can make your website rank higher in search engine result pages.

Creating a Google Web Story

Here is a quick 5 step process that can get you on your way to creating your first Google Web Story – 

  1. Choose a visual editor –The editing software allows you to create and edit your own pictures, videos, and graphics. They often come with basic functionality and pre-made templates, so you don’t need to be an expert in video editing or design to create beautiful and engaging content. If you are website happens to be developed using the WordPress CMS then Web Stories for WordPress plugin is worth a try. Other options include MakeStories and Newsroom AI.
  2. Do the Storyboarding – The best web stories tell a complete narrative from beginning to end so that readers stay interested. Since all pages of your Web Story are published at once, you need to think through the narrative in the same way you’d think about writing a blog post or creating a video. 
  3. Gather the Creative assets –Selecting the right images or videos is essential to crafting a compelling web story. This can take a lot of time, but if you’ve been blogging, you probably have some video or other images you can reuse. It’s essential to remember that all full-page videos must be formatted vertically. So, your Web Story will use fewer resources and load faster.
  4. Create the Web Story –Once you have your content written and all your assets organized, it’s finally time to start building. Using the pre-built templates in your visual editor is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to create your web story. To start, you’ll need to drag in an eye-catching video or image into the editor and add a call to action that will motivate your audience.
  5. Publish the Web Story –After you’ve written your Web Story, it’s time to share it with the world. With a visual editor, this process is as easy as clicking the “Publish” button.

And that’s it! Once you work through these steps you will have created your first Web Story.

Measuring Performance

Tracking the performance of your content is crucial as measurement plays a vital step in content marketing campaigns. Another advantage that Web Stories offer is the ease of measurability. Yes, performance of each story can be measured easily in Google Analytics (GA4). You can see if your content is engaging and how people are finding it. 

Not only in terms of views, clicks, impressions, and channels but GA4 can also tell us the number of story starts, story page views, story completions, story completion rate, story duration, and story bounce rate. Furthermore, such data and metrics can be visualized through dashboards in tools like Google Data Studio in addition to GA4. Pre-built dashboard templates in Data Studio offer an easy way for implementation and provision data insights on how well your content is performing.

In Conclusion

Content formats and types continue to evolve, and one should not restrict content marketing with just text and images. Immersive experiences are valued and keep the user engaged. With Google Web Stories we can do that and also have the benefit of adopting an open web distribution format that underpins the website SEO.

Learn more about Web Stories in our digital marketing courses at Emarsity.

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Azhar

About the author

Azhar is the founder-director of a Singapore company offering Web Development, Internet Marketing and Training services to Singapore SME’s.