Another Facebook Algorithm Change: Click-Baiting Bites the Dust

452213629Another day, another Facebook algorithm change to spice up the lives of marketers, PR professionals, and social media managers everywhere.

On Monday, Facebook announced a few News Feed “improvements,” including an algorithmic penalty intended for click-bait headlines and photos with links shared in status updates or photo captions versus in Facebook’s native link preview format.

Click-baiting has recently become a popular tactic for writing headlines on Facebook, using catchy copy to entice users to click on the link without telling them a whole lot about the actual contents of the website or article. You’ve seen these go by… “and you won’t believe what happened next!” The more people who click on the link, whether they like or want to engage with the article itself or not, the more frequent and prominent the post appears on friends’ feeds.

How will Facebook identify a click-bait headline? According to Facebook, “one way is to look 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.” That, along with the overall user engagement with the post, will factor into how many users see your content.

But Facebook can’t see everything I do on my computer… right?

No, not everything. But it can track an awful lot. Listen as SHIFT VP of Marketing Technology explains just how Facebook tracks you so closely:

What can marketers do?

  1. Optimize posts for high engagement. When you share a new piece of content, engage with users by posing questions and providing. High engagement will increase your post’s reach.
  2. Make your website “sticky.” Once users click on your website from Facebook, you want them to stay on the site as long as possible. Attract attention with insightful information, eye-catching graphics or an easy-to-navigate design. The longer they stay, the better off you’ll be.
  3. Get users to engage with Facebook from your website. Not all visitors to your website are coming from social media. Use Facebook sharing buttons to your advantage to encourage new visitors to share your resources or Like your brand page from your website.
  4. Share your content from brand and personal pages alike. When it comes to organic search, brand pages have been getting the short end of the stick from Facebook for a while now. Share content on both your personal account and brand page, while also encouraging employees and your network to do the same. Your employees can be your best advocates.
  5. Use detailed descriptions when posting links. Avoid click-baiting techniques by clearly summarizing the content you are sharing with users. You can still ask questions and engage users, but do so while remaining informative and insightful.

Facebook, love it or hate it, is the dominant social network. Adapt your strategy to their latest changes, and stay tuned to the SHIFT blog!

Tori Sabourin
Marketing Coordinator

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Posted on August 28, 2014 in Facebook, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media

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