The Facebook team has just announced an important change to their News Feed algorithm that aims to help people find posts and links that are actually interesting and relevant. Say goodbye to click-baiting from spammy websites and check out this new solution. If you’re a marketer, you might want to know this.
The Facebook Newsfeed algorithm isn’t ideal and we may often wonder why a certain story didn’t reach the right audience whilst another one performed much better. You’ve made sure to select the right target audience, used proper key words, prepared a great cop, and images, yet still it didn’t receive enough reach.
Some businesses are far better than others at luring their audiences to click on their headline and visit the website. A great example of such company is Upworthy. I’m sure that you’ve clicked on at least one headline of theirs over the past few months.
Upworthy shares trending topics, often discussing quite sensitive and emotional stories such on diversity, parenting, LGBTQQ, etc. Most of their posts on Facebook are intriguing, leaving a bit of doubt as to what’s going to be presented after the user clicks. That’s the beauty of it. It’s usually interesting and surprising content and the opening copy just makes you want to open it.
That’s exactly what we call click-baiting.
Where’s the problem?
As great as it is, click-baiting isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes users are presented with a good opening copy that starts off like the trailer of a good movie, only to be disappointed as to what’s on the other side. Sometimes (and to be honest, quite frequently), we’re tricked into clicking links that hold no value whatsoever and have nothing to do with what has been promised in the headline.
Since posts that receive many clicks are usually shown to more people on News Feed this turns into quite a big problem. That’s because Facebook doesn’t want people to leave their website for no reason and because stories with „click-bait” headlines can drown out content that people really care about.
On top of that, Facebook’s Team asked their users what type of content they’d prefer to see in their News Feed. As it turns out, 80% of the time, people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.
How will it work?
As Khalid El-Arini, Product Specialist at Facebook says in their blog post, they’ll be looking at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook.
„If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted.”
Second factor that will be taken into account is the number of clicks compared to likes and shares a particular piece of content receives. If users click on a headline, read the article and find it valuable the odds are they’ll share it with their friends or hit like to show their appreciation – at least that’s what Facebook developers believe.
Along with the click-baiting update, Facebook’s team wants to adjust how people share links with their friends and followers. From what they’ve found, people tend to prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions.
The link format show some additional information associated with the link, such as the intro of the article, which makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to click through. This format is also more optimized for mobile devices, where it’s slightly more difficult to click through on buried links.
How does this affect my page?
From what is known, this change won’t be introduced just overnight. Having said this, the good news is you’ll have time to analyze your results and adjust them to avoid the drop in reach and fan engagement.
However, it appears that publishers who tend to post non-engaging stories using click-baiting may see distribution decrease in the next few months. This being said, to stay safe you should definitely diversify your posts and not rely only on technique as updates like these may affect your performance.
The question that is bugging us right now is – how will the link sharing update affect click-through rate?
What are your thoughts on click-baiting? Are you ready for this update?