Are you looking for the latest statistics on storytelling? Do you want to know how it’s changing, who’s doing it, and how they’re doing it?
If you’re a marketer, writer, or storyteller of any kind, you know it’s hard to find the stats that matter. There’s a ton of junk out there—but what about the real numbers? We’ve got those for you!
We know how frustrating it can be to spend hours searching for relevant information about storytelling and not find what you need. That’s why we created this list of storytelling statistics—to make your life easier by giving you all the information you need in one place!
Whether you’re writing a new blog post or creating content for social media, we’ve got everything from how many people tell stories daily to what percentage of people say they prefer their stories told in video form, with plenty of numbers in between.
So if you’re ready to stop wasting time trying to find the perfect data point and just get down to business, check out our list below!
General Storytelling Statistics
1. People want brand stories to be funny
The report from Headstream on brand storytelling shared some insights into what consumers want from a branded story.
Among older audiences, the desire for “humorous” brand stories was highest. 57% of customers over the age of 55 and 43% of consumers over the age of 35 said brand stories should be funny. Humour was also important among younger customers, with 28% of 18-24 year olds prioritizing funny stories, and 37% of 25-34 year olds saying humor was important.
The second most popular “genre” chosen by customers for brand stories was “inspirational”. Around 27% of 18-34 year-olds said they wanted brand narratives to inspire them.
2. Human brains are wired to respond to storytelling
(Harvard Business Review)
Reports from the Harvard Business Review demonstrate human beings are naturally wired to respond better to storytelling than most other forms of content sharing. This is because a narrative has an impact on our brain which promotes the production of “oxytocin,” a hormone associated with trust.
According to the HBR report, character-driven narratives consistently increase oxytocin synthesis.
3. 70% of companies invest in at least one form of content marketing
Research from Hubspot found approximately 70% of companies invest in some form of content marketing, which can include sharing various types of stories with their audience through blogs, news posts, and articles.
Content marketing is one of the most popular methods of storytelling used by brands, and many new forms of “storytelling” have emerged over the years.
HubSpot found recently that the most common form of media used in content marketing is video, and over 20% of companies investing in video content were doing so to enhance their brand storytelling strategies.
4. Personal stories and gossip make up about 65% of our conversations
(Scientific American, University of Liverpool)
One of the reasons why consumers are so attracted to storytelling from brands is that we’re so used to sharing stories ourselves. According to a study conducted at the University of Liverpool, gossip and personal stories make up around 65% of the conversations we have as human beings.
Brand Storytelling Statistics
5. Storytelling increases the value of products by up to 2,706%
An experiment conducted by journalist Robert Walker, in collaboration with writer John Glenn looked at the potential impact storytelling could have on the perceived value of products. According to the research, when a story was paired with an item, it increased the overall perceived value of the product by around 2,706%.
According to the researchers, the hormonal change which takes place when we listen to a story helps to increase our feelings of connection and affinity towards an item. This also improves the amount we’re willing to pay for a product.
6. 75% of consumers think it’s important for brands to tell stories in their marketing
A survey conducted by Headstream found the majority of UK adults believe it’s important for companies to tell stories as part of their communications strategy. Around 79% prioritized stories in marketing messages.
Notably, the study also found that the stories of “real people” were the most compelling. 66% wanted stories from brands to be about “regular” people.
When asked whether they think companies are generally effective at telling stories, around 64% of respondents answered “yes,” while 36% said “no.”
7. 71% of customers buy from companies whose values align with theirs
(5W Public Relations)
Looking at the potential impact of storytelling and transparency on sales results, 5W Public Relations found that companies could use storytelling to demonstrate shared values with their audience. Around 71% of consumers say they purchase more often from businesses that share their values.
Additionally, the demand for shared values was greater in this study among younger customers. Around 83% of millennials said value alignment was important. A further 76% said they like it when CEOs “speak out” on an issue they care about.
8. 86% of Americans want to buy from “transparent” brands
One of the reasons companies are investing heavily in brand storytelling lately is that it allows them to show a more transparent side to their company. Storytelling allows for the sharing of valuable information about the business and an insight into brand value.
Around 86% of Americans in a Sprout Social survey said they believe transparency is a decision-making factor when they’re choosing which brands to buy from. Additionally, 73% of customers are willing to pay more for a product or service from a transparent brand.
9. 81% of customers say they need to be able to trust a brand to buy from them
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer report for 2019, around 81% of customers say they need to be able to trust a brand in order to buy from them. Around 67% of respondents also said they would stop buying from a business they couldn’t trust.
This is important because brand storytelling is often one of the primary ways companies create a sense of trust and affinity with their audience. Storytelling allows companies to generate trust by demonstrating examples of their work or sharing real-life experiences.
Notably, 66% of respondents in this survey said they feel like their relationships with brands is one-sided, where they share information about themselves, but companies don’t share anything in return.
Benefits of Storytelling Statistics
10. Customers who like a brand’s story are 55% more likely to consider buying from the brand
According to Headstream’s report, if customers love a brand story, 55% say they will consider purchasing from the company in the future. A further 45% of respondents said they would “like” a company’s Facebook page if they enjoyed a story, and 44% said they would share the story with their contacts. A total of 15% of respondents said they would buy from the brand immediately.
When asked where they most want to encounter stories from brands, the most popular location was on the company’s blog. However, consumers were also happy to see branded stories on website pages and social media advertising campaigns.
11. Capital One increased its ad recall by 16% with stories
Case studies show that storytelling can have a significant impact on the result of marketing campaigns. When partnering with the T3 agency, Capital One activated the “What’s in Your Wallet” campaign on Instagram, working with influencers to tell branded stories.
The hashtag #WalletStories began trending, and the company generated significant amounts of user-generated content. According to the case study, the use of stories increased the brand recall levels for Capital One by 16%.
12. People are 22 times more likely to remember a story-based statistic
A Stanford discussion on the power of storytelling for sharing information found that people often struggle to remember and understand statistics when they’re presented as raw data. However, when stats are placed into the context of a narrative or story, people are 22 times more likely to remember it.
According to Stanford, the reason for this is that using stories when sharing statistics helps companies to connect with customers on both an intellectual and emotional level.
13. Only 5% of people remember statistics, but 63% remember stories
(Dan and Chip Heath)
Researchers Dan & Chip Heath explored how storytelling influences memory recall and engagement. According to the researchers, after a presentation, around 5% of people were able to recall specific stats from the event. However, 63% of attendees could remember the story told by the presenter.
According to the researchers, this is because stories trigger the release of Oxytocin, which means we’re more likely to relate and emotionally connect to stories more than facts.
14. Branded stories lead to a 4% increase in trust and brand connection
An article published on the MIT Sloan Review website found that branded stories lead to better customer/company engagement and trust. Over five years, the researchers pursued field research alongside BMW and Suruga bank.
Throughout the study, the researchers learned stories significantly increase reader engagement with websites. In general, branded stories led to a 4% increase in customer trust towards a company.
Additionally, the report suggests that stories originating from customer experiences are particularly strong in shaping brand perceptions through social media.
15. Storytelling can increase conversions by 30%
According to a report from the Delhi School of Internet Marketing shared in 2017, brand storytelling is one of the most important tools for business leaders. The report shows that storytelling has the capacity to boost conversions by 30% when it’s used to answer crucial questions customers might have about a product, business, or service.
Notably, B2C and B2B marketers both consider storytelling to be a high-value strategy. In 2017, 62% of B2B marketers said storytelling was an effective content marketing strategy for their team.
16. Good storytelling is among the top 3 things that make content effective
The LinkedIn technology marketing community conducted research into the most significant factors involved in making content marketing effective.
According to the report, audience relevance is the number one factor in an effective piece of content (58%). However, a compelling approach to storytelling was named as the second most valuable tool for good content (57%).
17. 92% of customers want ads to feel more like a story
An infographic created by the OneSpot marketing company notes that around 92% of consumers want companies to create more ads that feel similar to a story. According to the report, customers specifically want brands to deliver content that has a clear and linear narrative.
However, the same study also found many consumers are looking for more visual stories, as the human brain is capable of processing images up to 60 times faster than text.
18. Research shows that a 5–10% retention rate for information jumps to 65–70% when paired with a story
The human brain loves stories.
And the more you can make your content feel like a story, the more likely people are to remember it.
That’s why we’re excited to share this Stanford research study that shows that when you combine statistics with anecdotes, your audience will retain more information than if you simply throw stats at them.
Researchers found that when people are given statistical information that includes a story or example of what the stat means in real life, their retention rate rises from 5-10% to 65-70%.
The reason we remember nearly everything we read or hear in a story format is that our brains are hardwired to remember stories better than they remember data or lists of facts. The brain processes information differently depending on whether it’s received as a story or as data, and this difference has significant implications for learning and memory.
You don’t have to be a professional writer to engage your audience through storytelling—simple stories about real people or events can work just as well!
Social Storytelling Statistics
19. 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day
The value of storytelling as a marketing and sales strategy has even led to the development of new tools and services to assist brands in the social media landscape. Instagram Stories is a feature designed to help companies and individuals share short, fast-paced narratives on social media.
Instagram Stories has emerged as one of the most popular tools on Instagram, with over 500 million people using the social service every day. Stories have also taken off as a popular tool on Facebook in recent years too, as the integration between the two platforms has increased.
According to a study conducted by Twitter during the 2020 pandemic, times of turmoil increase demand for branded storytelling among customers. Around 70% of consumers said brands during the pandemic needed to post more positive story-based content.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, people were searching for inspiration and motivation from the brands they liked most. They wanted their favorite companies to contribute to uplifting their mood with honest and positive stories.
21. 35% of customers connect with short narrative-style Instagram Stories most
As companies explore new forms of content marketing and creation to share stories with their customers, HubSpot conducted research to determine the impact of certain types of stories on customers. The report revealed around 70% of consumers watch Facebook stories more often than Snapchat (17%) or Instagram Stories (13%).
Additionally, when asked about the formats that they preferred most among Instagram Stories, 35% of consumers said they like to see narrative-style short stories from brands.
So there you have it, the latest stats on storytelling.
Storytelling is an art form that is growing in popularity. As the world becomes more connected and people are looking to connect with others, storytelling has become a great way to do so. As we’ve seen, storytelling has many benefits and can be used in many ways.
You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. And that’s why storytelling is so important. It helps us understand who we are and where we’re going. It helps us create meaning in our lives and make sense of the world around us. So go out there, tell stories—and be a part of something bigger than yourself!