It rolled off the virtual press on Feb 3 (in America for iPhone only) and already it’s in the list of best new apps in the app store. You have to admit though, Facebook was definitely leading up to a change—what with the typical newsfeed becoming primarily shared links and visuals. The days of the short Facebook status and occasional photo appear to be over.
Paper is a polished user experience in its essentials.
Because Paper is already linked to your Facebook account, no sign-in is necessary. A short video introduces the basics of Paper, and a guide leads you through the intro steps. It’s the smoothest introduction to an app that I’ve ever experienced.
The basic setup of Paper is three sections. You are, however, capable of adding more sections later. The first section is your Facebook newsfeed. It looks a bit different, but it has all the trappings of a typical Facebook feed view—including icons for friend requests, messages, and notifications. The second and third (up to 10 for now) sections are up to you. As of this blog, Facebook currently gives you 19 topic options from which to choose. For instance, you can choose Headlines, Tech, Pop Life, or 16 other possibilities for your other sections.
The other sections will look just like your Facebook newsfeed. You will see photos and read articles from relevant Facebook sources. For instance, Creators is my second section. A post by the Facebook page “Health Ceramics” with a photo of vases is visible in the feed. When I swipe up on the post, it looks very similar to a selected Facebook post on the old app. The two apps are alike, but Paper flows more seamlessly.
Paper is wildly popular.
Paper already has over 5,000 reviews and 4.5 out of 5 stars in the App store—and it’s barely 2 weeks old. Many users don’t see an end in sight for Facebook’s newest app. Marko Muellner, a guest blogger on Inside Facebook, says, “I’ve used it for about 45 minutes today and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the old app.”
Many users compare Paper to Flipboard, the app that compiles your social networks and themed websites into “your personal magazine, filled with the things you care about” (Flipboard’s own description). Sounds like Facebook—a newsfeed with interesting things on which to click and comment, right? Nevertheless, many users see Paper as more than just a Facebook newsfeed. Instead of a few entertaining posts interrupted with excessive baby photos, rants about politics, or comments on the weather, Paper separates your true interests from the personal items.
While Paper is increasing its user count, it doesn’t have all the possibilities of the original powerhouse Facebook app. The Facebook creators are diversifying their apps (like Messenger and Instagram), giving users a wider range of options to connect. Mark Zuckerberg confirms this reality in his statement on January 29, 2014.
“One theme that should be clear from our work on products like Messenger, Groups and Instagram is that our vision for Facebook is to create a set of products that help you to share any kind content you want with any audience you want.”
An important thing to note is that Facebook’s goal of becoming the typical user’s news source seems to be a reality with Paper. The creators of Paper deliberately situated the Facebook newsfeed alongside other news outlets as the published sources equal. Facebook provides the social news and the other sources, the cultural news.
Paper means a change for marketers. Tweet This
For now, Paper has no ads. As in, a user’s Facebook newsfeed will not be peppered with ads like he is used to in the typical Facebook app. The million dollar question for the business owner, therefore is, “How do I persuade Facebook to “consider” my posts as relevant and include me in Paper’s other sections?”
Because Paper is not yet monetized, that’s a difficult question to answer. The fundamentals are:
Post lots of photos.
The companies that made it onto Paper’s other sections all sport photos. There is not a post that exists sans photo, so make visuals a priority if you decide to tackle Paper as your newest social focus.
Continue your long-form content output.
Blog posts are perfect for Paper because the new app enhances long-form posts. Continue creating blog content that is geared precisely for your target audience and Paper could be your most useful tool.
Include videos in your marketing.
Videos auto play in Paper and are the garnish to an excellent marketer’s multidimensional campaign.
If you are an iPhone user, you are among the favored few able to download Paper to try out for yourself today. Unfortunately for Facebook, more than half of all mobile users are Android owners. Facebook is too smart to expect marketers to invest time and money into ads for only half their market to view. So for all you Android users, a version should be arriving for you soon.
Leave a comment below about your opinion on the app after personally using Paper.