How Facebook Paper makes content more important than ever
In contrast to many of its slick, light-weight competitors, the world’s largest social network’s mobile aesthetic has until now been a hardly impressive affair. That’s just changed though because earlier this week Facebook unveiled a new mobile app that far more resembles something designed and created this side of 2010.
Taking its lead from the likes of Flipboard and Instagram, Facebook Paper’s design principles are far more image driven than the company’s previous mobile platform. Facebook’s old mobile user-interface has been stripped down and rebuilt from the ground up, and we’re left with something that most early-adopters have agreed is a massive improvement.
But what does it mean for marketers, and particularly content? In line with contemporary trends, Facebook Paper places more importance on rich content than ever before. Not only is this reflected in its design, but also its content curation process. One of Paper’s key objectives is to consistently get the best content from the best publishers to the most users. If this reminds you of Edge Rank, that’s because it’s similar, but with an even stronger emphasis on rich, diverse, and compelling content.
Facebook Paper looks like it will cast a narrower net in terms of the content it shows its users. By sheer virtue of its design, it is bound to marginalise a greater portion of content, at the cost of only publicising the best. This could effectively mean that we’re about to see the bar raised in terms of how good is good enough when it comes to social content.
For brands, this means allocating more resources and attention to the content they are creating for the social space, which is good for everyone, right? Well, the end-users are probably the people winning here, which is usually a good sign, but it does mean that agencies are going to have to dig a little deeper and really start honing their skills if they want to be able to service their clients properly. Social content will more than ever require clever story telling and high production values if it wants to succeed. We’re seeing it already, but more than ever content will have to be diverse and engaging if it wants to make it onto Facebook Paper.
The flip side is that as these demands increase, brands start taking social content production more seriously, and invest in the skills and resources required to meet high demands. I have no doubt that the Samsungs and Coca-Colas of the world will react appropriately, and we’re going to see an obvious increase in the quality of social content across the board, but brands that hesitate are likely to get left behind, and their content marginalised.