Lori Lewis

A recent study from Wharton University concludes transitory content (disappearing content like Instagram and Facebook “Stories”) is more memorable compared to the content you can see again – which leads to why brands should take “Stories” more seriously and be more strategic.

First – “Stories” is the content form Mark Zuckerberg essentially “took, borrowed, stole” from Snapchat – it’s content that disappears 24 hours after posting unless you permanently feature “Stories” on your profile.

To view “Stories,” you tap the prompts that sit at the top of your Instagram and Facebook feeds (as seen below). 

In the study, it was found people who consumed disappearing content (“Stories”) paid more attention to it and gave it greater focus because they knew the content would only be up for a short time. Research noted it’s the excitement of being “in on” and a part of something that’s happening that not everyone will see.

There’s also the desire to learn more in a short amount of time with “Stories”; not having to go back and rewatch.

(Technically you can go back and watch a “Story” again until it disappears but for the most part, people don’t go back. They do screenshot “Stories” but again for the most part – they just want to consume it once.) So, what do you do with this data?

  • Make Disappearing Moments Matter
  • Treat “Stories” with as much attention to detail as you do on-air breaks.
  • Don’t clutter “Stories” up – keep it to the point – one point per Story.
  • Be concise and possible to understand.
  • Also, just because you can do 20 “Stories” every day, don’t.
  • The average user watches 1 “Story” per person or brand. 2 if they’re being generous.
  • Don’t Wing It. Make A List of The More Memorable Stories To Create.


  • Access/Sneak Peeks: Behind The Mic
  • Showcase A New Reel
  • Exclusive Event Coverage
  • New Music or Pitting Two Songs Against Each Other (Interaction is super important with “Stories”)
  • Links To Your Website
  • Location – Where You Are
  • Questions, Polls, Surveys, Quiz (The More Local The Better)
  • Countdowns
  • Personalized Messages
  • Tips
  • DYI


  • Limited-Time Offers
  • Flash Sales
  • Exclusive Promotions
  • Discount Codes
  • Sneak Peek: New Products/Services
  • Tutorials; Tips; DYI
  • Links To Their Website

And then help take the guessing game out of what engages the audience more by studying each month the higher performing “Stories.”

This helps trim the endless list of “Stories” ideas you could do and focus more on the types of content the audience wants more of.

Bottom Line: “Stories” Work Because Less Information Requires Less Attention To Process.

Lori Lewis is the founder of Lori Lewis Media, a social media management, marketing, and monetization firm. A former air talent and programmer, Lewis has held social media and digital management positions at Cumulus Media/Westwood One, Jacobs Media and Midwest Communications. Reach her at lori@lorilewismedia.com.