Facebook clamps down on click-bait

On August 25, Facebook announced that it has once again made changes to its news feed algorithm with the intention of clamping down on click-bait. Facebook’s stated objective with the changes to its news-feed algorithm is that it aims to eliminate the prospect of spammy posts appearing on users’ news feeds. Users will get shown more relevant posts that are of greatest interest to them, says the Facebook announcement. ‘Click bait’, which is a take on the term ‘link-bait’ used in SEO circles, is a term used to refer to posts that are written so as to lure users to click on the post.

In a nutshell, there are two main changes that Facebook has made to its news feed algorithm:
a) Clamp down on click-bait headlines

b) Prioritize links in the “link format” in the news feed and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.

What are the implications of these changes for social media marketers?
Facebook marketers will need to be extra cautious with their post headlines. The headline should be clear, concise and give a fair indication of what the destination page would be like. Facebook claims that one of the ways in which it will be tracking click-bait is user behaviour. For example, if users bounce back to Facebook after clicking through to an external link, it could indicate that the destination page wasn’t very relevant to the user. So, the time spent on the destination page is a factor.

Secondly, marketers should consider how they add links to their posts. Facebook recommends the usage of links in the “Link format” because these get a significantly higher number of clicks than links posted as part of captions or status updates.

Lastly, monitor how the recent changes are likely to impact the reach and engagement of organic posts. Earlier this year- about February or so– the changes introduced by Facebook to their news feed led to a drastic drop in organic reach of posts. Many social media marketers who relied more on organic reach suddenly found their reach curtailed by over 50%. At the same time, it also meant that sponsored posts and ads on Facebook began to yield a much better click-through rate and (surprisingly, to some extent) conversions.

Whether the latest round of changes will further hurt the results from organic posts while positively impacting results from the paid-for options will need to be watched closely.

For the announcement related to the change in the News Feed, click here.

- The NetMarketer Editorial Bureau