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The Rebirth Of Facebook's Right Rail

Facebook rolled out an update to the iPad versions of its app, which will include a slot at the bottom right that shows popular games and content. Facebook says ads will eventually show up.

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Facebook's old "right rail" — previously, the right side of its desktop website where much of Facebook's ad revenue came from during its pre-IPO days — is all but dead and gone. But it is not forgotten.

Facebook rolled out a new update to its iPad application on Monday that will include a new slot on the right side of the screen, which will show popular content and games that a specific Facebook user might find interesting. Facebook also says that, eventually, this will be a vector for advertisements — including from its new rapidly-growing mobile app install ad business, the company confirmed to BuzzFeed.

"This update will surface content on the right-hand side of the iPad that's relevant to how people use tablets today, which is primarily to read news, watch videos and play games," Facebook software engineer Victor Medeiros wrote in a blog post detailing the update.

The new rail will show up when the user turns the iPad sideways to a landscape view, where it will also show popular videos, trending topics, a section for game updates, and the new popular games section. Facebook says more than 70 percent of its iPad users have played a Facebook-connected game in the past three months.

Those ads, as it happens, should to be a natural fit for the update, as many game developers have found enormous success using Facebook's app install advertisements. The business has gone from non-existent to generating an estimated $1 billion in mobile advertising revenue in the span of a few short years.

As Facebook's mobile savvy has improved, so too has its ability to intelligently deliver ads that have quickly turned it into a multi-billion dollar mobile advertising business.

Matthew Lynley is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News in San Francisco. Lynley reports on Silicon Valley and the tech industry.

Contact Matthew Lynley at

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