We’ve all been caught in “click-bait” traps on Facebook. Maybe it was a lost dog looking for a home, a teaser post about a celeb’s baby bump or some other scandalous piece of gossip. Those infamous words: “Click here to see more”.
Most of the time clicking on the link is a rewarding experience – meaning we click and are presented with an article, a video or something equally interesting related to the Facebook post. But lately as more and more links present users with virtually useless, unrelated content, many users are complaining to Facebook and saying, “I don’t want to see this” or “Report this Post”.
In response to the negative response from its users, the social media giant made a public statement on their blog this week to address Facebook’s click-bait issues:
“Today we’re announcing some improvements to News Feed to help people find the posts and links from publishers that are most interesting and relevant, and to continue to weed out stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see. We’re making two updates, the first to reduce click-baiting headlines, and the second to help people see links shared on Facebook in the best format.”
The marketing world isn’t quite sure just how this will impact post content from brands, but there is no doubt the changes could have a significant impact for digital marketers. Facebook is still the king of driving major traffic to sites that have a strong following. According to Shareaholic, Facebook drove 23% of all social traffic in June 2014. Pinterest and Twitter are still ranked numbers two and three, but only drive about 5% and 1% of traffic to sites, respectively.
So, how is Facebook planning to alleviate its click-bait problem?
Time spent on page – Utilizing this increasingly popular metric, Facebook will track user behavior when a link is clicked. “If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests they didn’t find something that they wanted, “ said Facebook employees Khalid El-Arini and Joyce Tang in a recent blog post.
“Sharability” and likeability – Facebook is going to start measuring the ratio of people clicking the content compared to discussing it and sharing it with their network. “If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment…this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable,” continues the company’s blog.
And who will this impact most?
“A small set of publishers who are frequently posting links with click-bait headlines that many people don’t spend time reading after they click through may see their distribution decrease in the next few months. We’re making these changes to ensure that click-bait content does not drown out the things that people really want to see on Facebook,” the blog post stated.
This might just be one of our favorite changes to Facebook yet. If you need help developing an impactful social media strategy for your brand, get in touch.