Through the Spyglass


A Snazzier Facebook for Mobile: Facebook Launches Paper

Facebook launched a new app called Paper on February 3rd. It’s a timely app to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Facebook wants to let fans know they’ve still got it goin’ on. Even though it’s moving toward dinosaur age status in the app and social media world, it’s still the most popular social media site and the most downloaded app for mobile.

But Facebook has never been great with app development. After some earlier fails, though, they’ve come up with the new Paper. Design and usability was the focus in its development, and overall, users will be happy with what they see. Here’s a look inside the app to help you decide whether you want to download it. We’ll also discuss what this new app means for digital marketers.

Paper Turned Over: What’s Inside the App?

Content for Paper is pulled from your Facebook News Feed, but it’s displayed in a more compelling and user friendly way than Facebook’s main app. Pictures are full screen and you can easily swipe to read more or move to the next piece of content.

All the same capabilities exist within Paper as with the main Facebook app. If you want to chat with your friends, write comments, or share stories, all of these capabilities are still available on the Paper app. The main differences in the News Feed section are visual appeal and functionality.

Beyond the News Feed

Facebook has always been keen to keep users within the Facebook environment. With the new Paper app, they didn’t stop with what your circle of friends might be sharing in your News Feed. They want you to get your dose of news and broader interests without leaving the Facebook setting. 

With that in mind, Paper includes the ability to add subjects such as sports, design, health insights, and news headlines into the mix to create additional customized feeds. You swipe through the categories, and then swipe to read more or to share with your networks. 

If you’re a fan of Flipboard, you might not switch over to Paper, but it is a nice value add for those who don’t like to switch from app to app for reading material. 

What Should Digital Marketers Know?

Paper is currently ad free. This would be bad news in the immediate future for marketers if there were a mass shift of users from the primary app to Paper. However, Facebook has focused a great deal on courting advertisers and their ad money so we can’t image that it will stay ad free forever. This is especially true if the app becomes the preferred mobile app for the Facebook audience.

That said, this does remind us of the importance of native advertising. With the inclusion of customized news streams pulling in articles from sources like The Atlantic, quality native advertising could pop up in these streams and gain a significant amount of readership exposure and market appeal.