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An App to Keep an Eye On: Facebook Releases “Paper”

Maria Fogliasso

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On Feb. 3, Facebook introduced a new iPhone® app named Paper that is generating some buzz. Since Intouch Solutions has many clients that turn to us to understand the latest in the social and mobile channels, we took a look at what Paper does and what it might mean for pharma.

Paper is now available for download from iTunes and is currently limited to U.S. Facebook users. Touted as a new way to explore and share stories in an intuitive and readable format, Paper is essentially a new spin on viewing content in a grid layout. It also provides the ability to personalize News Feed content and explore new content from outside Facebook. 

Some see Paper as another move by Facebook to become the go-to source for all the news and information that matters to Facebook users — not just what’s going on in their social circles. The recent release of the Trending Topics feature supports that position. 

The L.A. Times called Paper “more than just an app for reading news. It's Facebook reimagined for the smaller screen.”

What Does Paper Do?
Immediately upon launching Paper for the first time, users are offered a basic tutorial of features with an overview on how to use the app. There are a variety of different navigational movements to learn, such as tapping, swiping, pinching or dragging the screen.


Users can customize their Paper experience with up to 10 custom sections, with the default section being the traditional News Feed. Sections are organized by interest areas, such as Headlines, Tech, Family Matters and Planet. Paper gives each user the ability to add up to nine additional sections from 19 different options. Content of each of these sections is curated by Facebook by pulling in stories from outside Facebook and cannot be personalized. 

Many at Intouch (and elsewhere) observed that Paper is similar in layout and function to the popular social aggregator app Flipboard. The comparison is understandable considering the similar grid format and magazine-like feel, but Flipboard provides users with the additional feature of customizing and aggregating content from a variety of sources, including Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds and more. So far, Facebook’s Paper doesn’t offer that same level of customization or control.

Paper: An App to Keep an Eye On
Paper is brand-new, and much will be learned in the coming weeks and months about ways the new app will impact Facebook advertisers, Page owners and users. Rest assured, we will continue to monitor the implications of the release of Paper and will continue to provide content, context and case studies as appropriate.

Have you tried Paper? If so, what did you think?

Facebook has been busy! 
•    They announced they are improving their media targeting capabilities and discontinuing sponsored stories.
•    They announced they are adding auto-play video ads to their media offering.
•    They rolled out Trending Topics within users’ news feeds.
•    They updated their news feed algorithm (again).



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