Paper App for Brands

Paper by Facebook is a content curation app that is visually superior to the current Facebook newsfeed design.

Paper includes your FB newsfeed that is based on your likes and friends. But it also lets you add interests to create a personalized magazine-like experience.

The first indication in this direction was in Dec, 2013 when FB’s algorithm was again updated to highlight more news and articles within the newsfeed over brand or other fluff content (i.e. Buzzfeed memes, listicles and Upworthy click-bait articles). Later, in Jan 2014 FB made clear its intention when it announced it was going to demote brand posts that were only text and did not contain any rich media i.e. photos, videos or links.

Now, with this latest app, we can see how FB is envisioning serving content to its users.

In some ways, it is trying to capture the behavior on Pinterest. Discovery based upon interests. But for the moment, the emphasis is on publishers and curating content ranging from small blogs to well-known magazines/media outlets and authorities. This curated content, based on interests is in part, being determined by Paper’s editorial staff. The newsfeed section on Paper however, is still determined by the likes and friends on FB.

paper app, full screen, post image

Clicking through on the image reveals it full-screen with the copy and engagement metrics such as Likes, Comments

paper app, newsfeed

How newsfeed based on FB likes and friends appears.

Paper also lets users customize based on interests. But only up to 9 interests can be added. They can be updated at any time

Paper also lets users customize based on interests. But only up to 9 interests can be added. They can be updated at any time

Question still remains if the experience will be compelling enough to create a large user base or will FB’s current app itself morph into the look and feel of Paper after FB has learned how users behave with the app?

Assuming Paper, either as a standalone app or morphed experience on FB app is here to stay there are a few points that can impact brands on FB.

1. Posts on brand’s FB page can and will be featured in the app, either within the newsfeed (if a user has liked the brand’s page) or within interest categories.

2. Content strategy on the FB page will impact a brand’s engagement on Paper. If a post is unique and engaging on FB it will most likely be discovered and served on Paper and hence driving more visibility and reach.

3. Images are going to be very important. One of the features of Paper is that users can tilt the phones sideways to see the far ends of an image without zooming in. High quality and visually appealing images will be more crucial than ever before.

4. Videos will be a bigger opportunity, as will be photo albums that will be displayed in Instagram-like vertical scrolling columns. Creative use of such formats will be rewarded.

5. Clever usage of keywords with post copy will be essential (Paper seems to be indexing content based on keywords).

  • Eventually, it will become intelligent enough to understand the context using natural language processing and deciphering from the image itself.
  • For e.g. if a brand posts an image with a cocktail and copy says ‘Perfect for a night-out’ the algorithm will be able to understand that this is not a recipe but a lifestyle post and possibly categorize under ‘All City’

But for now, it seems to be using words to let it categorize content under different interests. This could be an opportunity for brands.

Within Flavors interest, a post by Jon Stewart’s page on Bill de Blasio and his pizza-eating incident was also displayed.

Within Flavors interest, a post by Jon Stewart’s page on Bill de Blasio and his pizza-eating incident was also displayed.

This does not relate directly to food and wine but the word pizza may have categorized this as food related. The majority of posts featured in Flavors are either recipes or food related tips.

This does not relate directly to food and wine but the word pizza may have categorized this as food related. The majority of posts featured in Flavors are either recipes or food related tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Pick an area of expertise – is it food, home improvement, creative DIY, pop life or funny content. Brands like Red Bull are well poised to take the advantage of this type of content curation. Red Bull is known for adventure and sports.

7. In the future, brands would be able pay to choose between a presence on the newsfeed and/or within one of Paper’s categories (e.g. Headlines, Pop Life, Flavor, Home etc.). This means, it goes beyond targeting a user who has opted to like a brand’s or its competitor’s page but also targeting based on interests (for e.g. ‘Flavor’ category within Paper features popular publishers of food and wine that a user may not have necessarily liked on FB explicitly).

While it is unclear whether Paper will remain a standalone app or eventually morph to FB app what is clear is that brands must more than ever invest in quality interest-based content.

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