Facebook Hits 1 Billion Daily Stories Users, Mark Zuckerberg Warns Revenue Growth Could Slow

Facebook chief says sales could decrease as company shifts emphasis from News Feed to Stories

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced that more than 1 billion users are using its Stories feature — allowing users to thread together pictures and video with a 24-hour shelf life — each day across its family of apps, but that the company may see its sales growth decline as it shifts its emphasis away from News Feed.

Zuckerberg explained why he’s passionate about moving Facebook from a platform driven by its News Feed to Stories early in the company’s Q3 earnings call on Tuesday.

“I just think of this as the future,” Zuckerberg said. “People want to share in ways that don’t stick around permanently and I want to make sure we fully embrace this.”

Facebook launched Stories in March 2017 — following Instagram, which had already copied the popular Snapchat feature in August 2016. Instagram announced in June it had 400 million daily Stories users, while Snapchat, its chief rival, has about 186 million daily users. WhatsApp’s Status — the messaging app’s version of Stories — has 450 million daily active users.

Zuckerberg said Facebook’s adoption of Stories “started off slower” than when the feature was introduced on Instagram or WhatsApp. “Our effort to shift Facebook from News Feed first to Stories first hasn’t been as smooth as I hoped,” he added.

And this could be a problem for the company’s top line, at least temporarily, according to Zuckerberg. He said “our revenue growth may be slower” as the company transitions to a “News Feed plus Stories world.” Facebook has been slow to monetize Stories, fearing a cluster of ads will drive away new users.

Zuckerberg found a way to spin it positively for investors, however: he said the transition could mirror the company’s famous pivot to emphasizing mobile advertising, rather than desktop, earlier this decade. The move turned out to be a massive success. Facebook reported 92 percent of its $13.72 billion in revenue during the third quarter came from mobile advertising on Tuesday.