Social Media

Flipboard: How This Popular App is Continuing to Innovate

Written by Guest Author

Flipboard is an app, primarily for mobile devices, that let users collect images, news, and information that they care about about and keep it in one place. Users can turn their favorite stories into their own magazines or access magazines created by professional curators. A curator’s sole job is to amass information and make it available, via Flipboard, to the masses.

It turns out that Flipboard and its curated content are hugely popular. The analysis below seeks to uncover why Flipboard is popular and what that has to say about trends in app development moving forward. It turns out that Flipboard’s popularity even has implications for social media.


What Is Flipboard?

The best way to think about Flipboard is as a media filter. It takes vast swaths of information from all over the Internet and organizes that information in useful ways. Flipboard refers to itself as a “social news magazine” and has a stated goal of aggregating social media content in a meaningful way. In other words, Flipboard aggregates information from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and other social networks in a single location. Flipboard has caught on thanks to how well it has implemented its mission and because of how useful marketing teams have found it to be.

Why Flipboard Is Popular With Users

For the average user of social media, Flipboard has several features that make it highly desirable. Most important among Flipboard’s advantages is that it is easy to use. Users simply give Flipboard access to their social media accounts and then it does all of the work of aggregating the information and making it searchable, readable, and relevant. Flipboard’s integration with social media platforms is seamless and can be accomplished without instruction in most cases. Ease of use makes Flipboard very adoptable.

Beyond its easy interface and intuitive functioning, Flipboard is also aesthetically pleasing. It takes otherwise esoteric layouts and transforms them into compelling storyboards. Even though Flipboard is just rearranging information, the way in which it presents that information makes it more relevant and thus more interesting.

Before wrapping up the section on why Flipboard is popular with users, its cost has to mentioned. Flipboard is free, which might just be its best feature. Most free apps make their money from ads and Flipboard is no different in that respect. Where it is different, however, is in the way it goes about displaying ads. Flipboard’s organization scheme allows it to present ads in the same way that a periodical would. This presentation format makes the advertisement feel less aggressive and thus less irritating than the typical intrusive banners and pop-ups that most apps and websites use. The lack of irritation in Flipboard’s presentation of advertisements is part of what has caught the interest of marketing teams.

Why Flipboard is Popular With Advertisers

As mentioned above, Flipboard has a unique way of presenting material that makes even advertisements more appealing. What is more, Flipboard’s presentation style comes closer than most social media aggregators do to recognizing the holy grail of marketing, which is to display only relevant ads to users who are most likely to act on them. Because Flipboard is already engaged in aggregating related information into an aesthetic smörgåsbord, incorporating relevant ads is actually quite easy. Marketing teams love this because it means they don’t overstimulate their target audience with too many ads. Instead, audiences see fewer ads, but more that appeal to them. The lack of “ad fatigue” combined with the relevance of the ads that people do see increases the chances that they’ll act on the messages.

The other reason that Flipboard appeals to marketers is that it allows them to build their own content, just as a user would, and make it available to the world. Advertisers can now create interactive, deep magazines based on the content that is relevant to their products or brands. For instance, one popular Flipboard magazine is all about grilled cheese sandwiches. In the same way, a user like could use Flipboard to create an equally compelling magazine about de-cluttering through electronics recycling. These “magazines” bring together like minded people in one location by providing them with relevant, interesting information that is presented in a beautiful format.

Aesthetics Trump All

In the end, Flipboard does a better job of organizing content than many of the social media platforms it interacts with. This is the key to its success. Mountains of information are of no use and no interest when unorganized. Flipboard has made the information that users crave very aesthetically pleasing, which creates an instant affection for Flipboard that keeps people coming back for more.

Mason Williamson enjoys tracking technology trends. He often blogs about software and apps and how to use them.

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