Facebook Paper is simple and elegant--that's the best thing about it. Naturally, fans of Paper have been worried that Facebook will load its new app down with ads, now that it's become so popular, but Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg assured users that Paper will stay ad-free, at least for now.
Facebook says that it is in the early stages of analyzing the way users interact with the app. Before Facebook launches a major ad campaign on Paper, it needs to understand what users want from the app. Facebook's ad strategy is very strategic and based entirely on the company's understanding of how users relate to posts on Facebook. In a sense, Facebook is testing Paper out on users to see how it can make more money from its second big app.
"When we launch products, we are willing to invest for a long time before we put ads in it," Sandberg said at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Tuesday.
Sandberg didn't say how long Paper would exist without ads, but she did say that ads could be in the app's future--if necessary.
"It's quite easy to see how ads could fit into [Paper] ... but there's no reason for us to do that right now -- we've so much to do with the current monetizing of current products we have," she said.
Facebook makes a remarkable amount of money from advertisements on its website and original app. In the last quarter, Facebook reported $2.3 billion in revenue from ads, a 76 percent increase over last year's ad revenue. Clearly, Facebook is getting better at targeting its users with appealing advertisements.
"If we can get ads that are better targeted, higher quality, more relevant, we can bring more value to customers and do so in a way that really contributes to the user experience," CFO David Ebersman said Tuesday. "Our aspiration here is for the ads to be as engaging as the organic content you find shared by your friends."
Making ads appear "organic" on Paper may be a bit more difficult, given the very minimalist appearance of the app's interface. However, perhaps Facebook can integrate ads as if they were posts from friends, instead of the obvious ads you see on the original app and its website. Undoubtedly, Facebook will roll out ads to Paper incrementally so as not to perturb its users. Enjoy it while it lasts, Paper fans.