Touchdown for Facebook. The social network now has a tool for customizing profile pictures that lets users add a photo frame with the logo of one of eight NCAA football teams.
The update, widely released Thursday, includes a new Web page on desktop and mobile formats where users can see how the photo filter looks overlaid on their current profile pictures. Facebook users tap on one of the eight school logos and can then set for the filter to be removed after one hour, one day, one week, another specified time (such as when the football game ends), or never.
“Starting today, some college football fans will have a unique way to express support for their favorite teams on Facebook, by adding team spirit to their Facebook Profile Pictures,” a Facebook representative wrote in a statement about the feature. “Pro-Tip: Is your support for your team unwavering? You can also select the 'Never' expiration option to leave the frame on your profile picture indefinitely.”
The tool follows on Facebook releasing several expression tools and updates to profiles last week. People can now change their profile photo to a looping video and also add a short bio and five featured photos. The profile is a valued piece of virtual real estate for Facebook. Just as it touts more than 4 billion video views, profiles are visited by Facebook’s nearly 1.5 billion monthly active users more than 4 billion times per day, the company says.
As of now, there’s no money being exchanged, as the schools do not pay to be featured on the screens. But sponsored filters are a viable advertising option. Popular disappearing messaging app Snapchat introduced sponsored filters in June, with McDonald’s taking the first spot. Since the launch, General Electric, Universal Studios and Dunkin’ Donuts have created custom spots. Most recently, W Hotels made a deal with Snapchat for three sponsored filters that will be accessible at hotel locations until Dec. 31.
For Facebook's "Show Your Game Face" feature, the University of Florida was the first partner to test the product, which Facebook calls the expiring frame feature. Seven more schools -- Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Oregon and Texas -- have signed on, and all NCAA teams are eligible.
“When Facebook approached us to create custom profile photo frames for our fans, we were thrilled to be the first in the country to try it. Gators love sharing their orange and blue passion, and these Facebook frames were the perfect vehicle to do so,” Bruce Floyd, social media manager of the University of Florida’s Florida Gators, said in a statement.
So far, tens of thousands of Facebook users added the Florida Gators filter and the school reported millions of impressions, or views.
Facebook has been experimenting more with custom filters. The site released a tool to celebrate gay marriage with a rainbow filter after the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling in June. Within 72 hours, more than 26 million people updated their profile pictures with the tool. That filter's page is still live.