First Facebook makes an announcement that they are banning like-gating; now they are determined to get rid of click baiting as well.
While the like-gating announcement will be more likely to affect a larger percentage of us marketers, understanding the cut backs on click baiting is important, too, and it may affect some of us just as heavily.
Any time Facebook announces changes to the algorithm it is important to take notice.
With both of these changes rolling out, it’s obvious that Facebook is intent on improving the experience for both users and marketers. They want to ensure that users are getting the best content and most relevant content that they can.
While it’s unsure as of yet when this change will start, or if it has already, it’s best to adapt and move on now. We will likely start to see the changes over the next few months, if not sooner, and changing practices earlier will help you stay ahead of the game.
Click baiting is a common practice seen all over the internet, not just Facebook. So why is Facebook getting rid of it, and what does it mean for us? Let’s find out.
Why is Facebook getting rid of click baiting?
Click baiting involves enticing readers to click on your link by explicitly not stating what the story is about.
Sometimes it leaves out crucial information, such as “you’ll never guess which celebrity donated a school in Africa,” leaving you wanting to click just ot know the answer. It often relies more on hype and curiosity than actual interest. It often contains phrases like “you’ll never guess” and “you have to see what it can do.” While tons of articles on Facebook utilize click baiting, you can go to the Huffington Post on AOL anytime you want to see an example off the top of your head. They are almost certain to have at least one example of click baiting waiting for you.
A lot of the time, when companies utilize click baiting to get people to click on their links, readers aren’t actually interested—their curiosity was just mildly piqued. Instead of reading through the entire article, they likely only click to see what the big reveal was, and—disappointed or not caring enough to continue—they click away just as fast.
Though readers rarely stay long on these sites, and though they often offer little value to the readers, click baiting as worked for the simple reason that a lot of people are clicking, so more people are getting shown the links.
Click baiting, while sometimes used to capture users’ attention, is more often used as a way to cheat the algorithm. The more people who click, the more people who see your story, and it’s all about building that momentum. They use click baiting instead of great content, but get the same results.
With a lot of people clicking, it’s showing up in more newsfeeds, and that is keeping users from getting content that they are actually interested in reading. It’s important to Facebook for a multitude of reasons that users get the best content for them possible, and the results of click baiting interferes with that.
How is Facebook going to get rid of click baiting?
When this upcoming change was first announced, the question arose as to how Facebook was going to actually detect click baiting. Facebook isn’t going to read and filter out every post individually, but instead rely on other tactics.
According to Facebook’s own announcement, one method of detecting click baiting is to see how long people actually spend reading the article away from Facebook—if they continue reading, it shows that the content is valuable or relevant to them.
If, on the other hand, they click on a link and come right back, it shows they didn’t get the content they wanted to see, or that it wasn’t of value to them.
Engagement on the stories and articles will be taken into consideration as well. Whether people discuss or share the article with their friends, or comment or like the story, will have an impact on how Facebook will rank each article.
Overall, sites that users spend more time on and actually engage with will be ranked higher and prioritized over those that get clicked away from quickly or have little to no engagement on them. Once again, getting that user engagement is going to be more important than ever.
What is the right way to advertise or share your links?
It can be incredibly difficult to capture users’ attention and interest on Facebook, let alone get them to click. It isn’t much of a surprise that some businesses use the click bait method just to get people to click on their link, believing their content is actually relevant to the users and that all they need is a click.
It’s also not surprising that some businesses have been unable to resist the temptation to cheat the system. Social media marketing can be exhaustingly difficult, and it’s hard sometimes not to take a shortcut when you see one.
Facebook has shared guidelines on the proper ways to share and promote your link that don’t involve click baiting.
When sharing a link, Facebook is favoring links shared with a standard preview, instead of a link with attached photo.
What that means is that some brands were attaching photos and a quick description of the link instead of a preview we’re used to seeing. With the attached photo format, businesses often attach an abbreviated link, create their own description, and attach both to a photo. When the user clicks on the photo, it takes them to Facebook’s photo view instead of the article, reducing the chance of driving traffic to the website. The photo format looks like this:
While a standard preview link looks more like this:
Long story short, Facebook’s research revealed that links with previews were getting double the clicks, and drive more traffic to the website.
In other words, links should be shared in the way Facebook designed for them to be shared, because that’s how they will get the most engagement and traffic to your website. Users share their links the way Facebook designed, and instead of trying to cheat the system, marketers should, too.
This doesn’t meant to stop sharing photos, but it means you should consider what is truly driving traffic to your site.
When you post or create links, make sure the description actually says what it’s about. Instead of attempting to lure customers with “you’ll never guess the super food that helps eye sight,” you can describe your article as “discover carrots incredible benefits on eyesight, and more!”
Instead of users only clicking to your site to hear a quick answer, they will click only if they are actually interested in the content. In the long run this may not get you quite as many initial clicks up front, but it will result in getting your content in front of those who actually want to see it and value it.
Click baiting is nothing more than boosting your numbers through short cuts. It is an artificial result, and even if you were benefiting from it, you probably weren’t benefiting as much as you may have thought. Facebook’s change to the algorithm, just like with the like-gating changes, will ensure that the most relevant users to your business will be the ones who see your content and connect with you. Taking advantage of this will help your business rise, and you can see more of our tips on how to connect with your target audience here.
Those with low quality content but high click rates will potentially be dethroned, giving everyone else a higher chance for their content to appear in newsfeeds.
At the end of the day, that’s really what you want, and that’s what we all started marketing on Facebook in the first place– to connect with those interested in our product and our business.