By Andi Barton As it celebrated its tenth birthday, Facebook launched Paper, its latest app endeavor. In previous years, we’ve seen the social media powerhouse create standalone apps to complement the mobile app--all more or less falling flat. So the big question on our minds is: Could Paper actually be everything we've hoped for (and more) from a Facebook app?
It's still early to gauge the potential success. From first glance, it is certainly visually appealing. And there is a clear shift in the way content is shared in order to optimize for Paper. We’ve seen through Facebook algorithm changes in recent months that in order to leverage your content, it is imperative to heavily focus on the visual elements of your content. Even more so with Paper, there is huge potential for catching the eye of your fans and friends.
Here is an initial wishlist of what we marketers want from Paper--in hopes that the app be a success with both brands and users.
- Read Later Options: For users that may not be active on any of the provided read later style tools (Pocket, Instapaper, Pinboard, Safari Reading List), the read later option is relatively useless. To compete with Pinterest’s success of collecting, it would be great to see this feature blown out on Paper.
- Advertising: Naturally, as a social media advertiser, it is hard not to anxiously await the ways we will be able to leverage Paper for paid advertising. For now, it will be a true test for brands to leverage Paper 100% organically.
- More Devices: With such a large percentage of mobile users active on devices other than iPhones, it will be beneficial for Facebook to continue to roll out the app to more smartphones. The success of Paper will be more fully understood when potential fans and users are reached across all devices.
The decision to focus heavily on shareable content is a strong move for Facebook as it competes with the rising stars like Buzzfeed and Tumblr. As brands continue to explore, and as competition in the space grows correspondingly, there will be far more to come for the app.
What do you think is the strongest feature in the new Paper app? Share your thoughts in the comments below!