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What’s New

New in Web Stories: Discover, WordPress and quizzes

Web Stories arrive in Google Discover

Last month we announced that Web Stories are now available in Discover, part of the Google app on Android and iOS that’s used by more than 800 million people each month. The Stories carousel, now available in the United States, India and Brazil at the top of Discover, helps you find some of the best visual content from around the web. In the future, we intend to expand Web Stories in Discover to more countries and Google products.

New tools for the WordPress ecosystem

There are more and more ways to create Web Stories, and now WordPress users now have access to not just one but two visual story editors that are integrated into the WordPress CMS: Google’s Web Stories for WordPress and MakeStories for WordPress.

MakeStories also gained six new languages (English, German, French, Italian, Portugese and Russian), and has new features including new templates and preset rulers. They’ve also made it easier to publish your Web Stories with a new publishing flow that highlights critical pieces like metadata, analytics and ads setup. You can also now host stories on MakeStories.com, but serve them off your own publisher domain.

There are many different options out there to build Web Stories, so pick the one that works best for you from amp.dev’s Tools section.

Quizzes and polls are coming to Web Stories

We’ll also be covering Web Story format updates by the Stories team here as they’re at the forefront of innovation of Web Stories: you can expect the features they bring to Stories to appear in the visual editor of your choice sometime after.

Web Stories are getting more interactive with quizzes and polls, or what the Stories team call Interactive Components. These features are currently available in the format, and you can learn more about them in developer documentation. Several visual editors are working on supporting these new features so you can use them without any coding necessary on your end.

Learn how to create beautiful Web Stories with Storytime

One of the best ways to learn the in’s and out’s of Web Story-telling is our educational Storytime series, with a new episode arriving every week. If you haven’t yet started watching, we encourage you to give it a try.

In October, we interviewed the Product Manager behind the Google Discover integration; talked about the art of writing, remixing, optimizing and promoting Stories; analyzed the fabric of a great Web Story; and covered all sorts of editorial patterns that work for Web Stories.

And you can check out all of these videos as Web Stories.

This is part of a blog post originally published to blog.google. Click here to read the full post.

A new home for Web Stories on Discover

Today we are bringing visual and immersive Web Stories to Discover, part of the Google app on Android and iOS and used by more than 800 million people each month. The Stories carousel, now available in the United States, India and Brazil at the top of Discover, helps you find some of the best visual content from around the web. In the future, we intend to expand Web Stories to more countries and Google surfaces. You can read the full announcement here.

A community for web creators to grow and get inspired

In the last 20 years, the capabilities of the web have grown tremendously, but it’s also become more complex. Figuring out how to configure, manage and monetize your own site can be difficult, especially if you’re not technically savvy. Social media apps, and the massive growth of mobile phones, are popular because they make it easy to create and share content online—but that doesn’t always translate to the web, even though it has the widest audience of almost any platform on the internet.

We want to help with that.

Today we’re launching Google Web Creators to provide tools, guidance and inspiration for people who make awesome content for the web. In addition to this blog, you can check us out on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This is part of a blog post originally published to blog.google. Click here to read the full post.

Accessibility in Web Stories

Web Stories are a new, exciting medium for storytelling on the web. We strongly believe that it is important that everyone is able to enjoy Stories. By virtue of being built on AMP and core web technologies, Web Stories already come equipped with high quality support for many useful accessibility features. Our goal is to ensure that Web Stories are accessible by default, and we recognize that we have a lot to do to get to this goal. It is a top priority for us, and in this blog post, we’ll cover our approach and provide guidance on making more accessible Web Stories.

Working towards accessibility by default

It is important that we establish a clear, consistently-met accessibility standard for this new medium, akin to (or even surpassing) the well understood standards for articles and video. As a starting point, the Web Story format standardizes the core user interaction model and ensures that primary user actions like navigating from page to page, sharing the story, and swiping to page attachments can support important accessibility affordances by default. We are proactively working with industry experts to identify ways we can improve Web Story accessibility and need your input and feedback. If you find accessibility issues (or have suggestions for improvements) please file an issue in our Github repository. We truly appreciate your help!

However, just like with all web pages, publishers and creators need to thoughtfully follow best practices to ensure that their Web Stories achieve the best possible accessibility outcomes.

This is part of a blog post originally published to amp.dev. Click here to read the full post.

Web Stories, powered by AMP

In the two years since the AMP project brought the story format to the web, we have seen many publishers adopt the format to tell compelling, visually-rich stories. From VICE’s story on the Isle of Dogs to Globo’s coverage of cars of the future, the rich, full screen, tappable story experience continues to resonate with readers around the world. We especially love how publishers like NDTV are showcasing stories in new innovative sections of their main web property. In parallel, tooling support for stories has greatly expanded and improved, making story authoring available to everyone, especially those who want to create without needing to think about code.

Given this expanding universe of creators and consumers, it is time to transition the stories name from AMP (which continues to be the underlying technology for a fast, consistent and reliable user experience) to the web, where creators and users will experience stories. Moving forward, we’ll refer to the format simply as Web Stories. Web Stories live on the web, and continue to allow publishers or creators to control their content- just like any other web page.

This is part of a blog post originally published to amp.dev. Click here to read the full post.

SEO for Web Stories

Web Stories are a new, exciting medium for storytelling on the web powered by AMP. The format is based on the same concept as familiar Stories features in popular social networking apps but intended for more general purpose content from “how to apply lip gloss the right way” to a “travel guide through the Himalayas”. Importantly, Web Stories are just web pages. They have a URL on your web server, they are linkable, they can link out to other web pages, and they can appear in search results. With that the biggest takeaway for SEO of Stories is:

Do all the SEO things you would do for any other page on your website. If it helps rank your non-Story pages, it’ll probably help the Stories as well.

In particular, just like other pages on your site, make sure your Stories are linked from within your website so that your users and bots can actually discover them. If you are using a sitemap, make sure to include your Stories in that sitemap. If you are posting your regular web pages to social media, post your Stories as well. We could go on here, but the gist really comes down to: Follow the best practices you’re already applying to the rest of your website.

This is part of a blog post originally published to amp.dev. Click here to read the full post.

Users Prefer Tappable Stories On The Mobile Web

Tappable stories have become a major part of the way consumers engage with content — in fact, 60% of weekly mobile content users now consume tappable stories daily on social media. What are tappable stories? They are interactive experiences on mobile devices that allow users to interact with full-screen visuals like images, videos, and text. This popular format, however, has mostly been limited to the closed platforms it typically lives on. Publishers can benefit from tappable stories by providing consumers with innovative content experiences – not only on their social platforms, but on their mobile sites with Web Stories.

To better understand the potential results Web Stories can provide for publishers, Google commissioned Forrester Consulting, a leading global research and advisory firm, to evaluate consumer appetite for tappable stories on the mobile web. The study, titled “Publishers: Capture The Mobile Web Opportunity With Tappable Content”, was conducted September 2019.

To conduct the analysis, Forrester carried out an online survey of 2,062 US online consumers ages 18 to 65 who consume publisher content at least weekly from a mobile device, as well as 22 remote unmoderated user tests with the same audiences. Both studies had participants interact with real-world examples of tappable stories on the mobile web as well as scrolling article equivalents. Forrester found that 64% of respondents preferred the tappable mobile web story format over its scrolling article equivalent.

This is part of a blog post originally published to amp.dev. Click here to read the full post.

Analytics for your Web Stories

Web Stories are a new way of telling stories on the open web. The stories are hosted on your domain, and the format allows you to add assets best suited for the job. Since the 2017 launch, we’ve seen many, many, many examples of engaging and informative stories published to the web.

Analytics capabilities of Web stories

Web Stories use amp-analytics, the same robust measurement tool behind billions of AMP pages. Publishers can instrument their stories using simple JSON configuration, and the component does the setup, collection and reporting of metrics. If you’re using one of the 75+ analytics vendors that are already integrated with AMP, you can start collecting insights with very minimal setup.

Understanding user-behavior

A typical user-journey for a website is very different from stories. On a website a user might read the headline, scroll to the bottom of the page, interact with a form before clicking on a link to the next page. Stories occupy the full viewport and users do not scroll but tap to move forward.

Many in the web analytics community would consider each new page in the story as a new pageview because the content from screen to screen is substantially different. However, as we just covered, the page is just a single element in a full story — and a user usually needs to see many pages to get a full sense of the story. Thus, the question of how we count something as simple as the pageview has enormous implications for our analytics approach. As you see from above, treating every new story page as a pageview could be perceived as inflated metrics.

This is part of a blog post originally published to amp.dev. Click here to read the full post.

Launching Ad Monetization for Web Stories

We’ve seen steady growth over the past year in AMP Stories and we are delighted to see the various ways content creators have taken advantage of the rich, immersive canvas for storytelling. We’ve been testing this with a handful for pilot partners and today, we are excited to give all content creators an opportunity to monetize their stories.

Introducing Story Ads

Story Ads are fullscreen ad placements that appear in AMP stories. When we set out to create the advertising experience for story ads, we built it on top of three principles:

1. Immersive

We wanted to ensure that story ads were immersive and engaging. Like AMP story content, story ads use the entire screen to convey a brand or message using a combination of video, image, or animations. A user continues the tap gesture to skip over the ad if uninterested but also has a consistent way to explore the ad using the call to action button. In addition, every ad has a ‘consistent’ ad attribution label, so users are easily able to distinguish between an ad vs organic content inside a story.

Ad placement & insertion are orchestrated by the runtime and therefore story ads are shown to the user only once they have fully loaded. As a result, story ads by definition are 100% viewable.

2. Performant & Secure

Story ads leverage the open source AMPHTML ad framework, which ensures that the ads are always performant and secure. This is achieved by replacing custom JavaScript with powerful AMP components that provide ad functionality. You can learn more about AMPHTML ads here or check out the resources below to create AMPHTML ads specific for AMP Stories.

3. Open

Continuing in the AMP project’s footprints, we wanted to create an ad ecosystem where any ad provider could participate in delivering monetization solutions for story creators. AMP now has close to 100+ ad network integrations, and we hope to achieve a similar level of diversity for publishers. If you are an ad provider that wants to integrate with AMP stories, please reach out to us.

This is part of a blog post originally published to amp.dev. Click here to read the full post.

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