Stories are over — at least on YouTube, that is. The Google-owned video site announced today that YouTube Stories will be shutting down on June 26, 2023, as the company aims to focus on other key areas, like Shorts, Community posts and live videos, in addition to its traditional long-form content. Creators will be alerted to the shutdown through various channels, like forum posts, in-app messages, reminders in YouTube Studio and more, YouTube says.
Once copied by nearly every social app, Stories have lost traction in the wake of TikTok’s rise. These days, services are adopting the short-form vertical video format popularized by TikTok instead of the more ephemeral and casual Stories format.
YouTube isn’t alone in abandoning Stories, either. Netflix in years past had tested a Stories-like feature called “Extras” in its mobile app where it shared videos and photos from popular shows. The streamer later moved on to embrace vertical video with the launch of features like its short-form comedy videos feed “Fast Laughs” and a related vertical video feature aimed at kids. LinkedIn also abandoned its Stories feature in 2021. And while Spotify recently introduced a feature similar to Stories for artists’ profiles, the app’s larger redesign is one that prioritizes TikTok-like discovery feeds as its central focus.
First launched in 2018, YouTube officially rolled out Stories to creators with over 10,000 subscribers — but it never broadened access to everyone on YouTube to allow casual, personal sharing to really take off. The company had suggested at the time creators could use Stories to engage with their audience in between their more polished and produced videos for things like behind-the-scenes updates, vlogs, sneak peeks at upcoming videos, quick updates and more.
Like Stories on Instagram and Snapchat, YouTube Stories would disappear after a period of time — in this case, seven days. It wasn’t possible to save Stories on a creator’s profile the way you can with Instagram’s Story Highlights, however.
It’s fair to say the feature saw limited adoption, especially given the success of other engagement tools like Community posts, which also let creators share quick updates, promote their content or have conversations with fans. In fact, YouTube essentially admits that Stories weren’t working, noting in today’s announcement that, among creators who used both Stories and Community posts, the latter drove “many times more comments and likes” compared to Stories. Access to Community posts recently expanded to a broader set of creators, as YouTube dropped the >500 subscriber requirement.
In addition, creators have shifted their efforts in short-form video over to YouTube Shorts. The company notes this format has also been more successful than Stories, as creators who used both, on average, saw “many times more subscribers” on Shorts than on Stories.
“As Shorts adoption grew on YouTube, we saw that creators benefited from this new format,” a YouTube spokesperson told TechCrunch about the changes. “Stories are going away so we can prioritize key areas that creators need to be successful. We’ll continue to invest in helping creators grow and connect with their audiences across formats,” they added.
In addition to a community forum post, creators who frequently use Stories will be alerted to their shutdown via a notification in YouTube Studio, in Help Center content, and YouTube will remind creators about the changes in an upcoming Creator Insider video, where it regularly publishes updates. Plus, there will be a notification directly in Stories, if creators access the feature prior to June 26.
On that date, it will no longer be possible to create a new YouTube Story, but Stories that are already live will remain up for seven days after they were originally shared, YouTube says.