Facebook rolled out a major News Feed update to reduce click-baiting headlines and ensure that users see links that are in the “best format”. The prime aim of these updates is to help users find the most interesting and relevant posts and links from publishers and filter out stories that are spammy. The changes are quite helpful for users, but Facebook marketers need to ensure compliance with the new update in order to avoid penalization. The focus must be on developing efficient marketing strategies to improve user engagement as well as brand reputation.
The social media giant made the announcement through its newsroom blog post during the last week of August.
When a publisher posts something on News Feed with a headline that prompts users to click to see more without giving them much information about what they are supposed to see, such type of headlines are known as ‘Click-Baiting’ headlines. Posts with such headlines tend to get a lot of clicks so that they would get shown to more people and will be shown higher up in News Feed. However, actually what happens is that the stories with these headlines can obscure the content on pages that users really care about. To avoid this, the popular social networking site decided to reduce such type of headlines. They identify ‘Click-bait’ headlines using the following two methods.
- If the users click on an article after seeing the headline and spend time on it, then it means they clicked through to valuable content. If they come straight back to their Facebook page after clicking on an article, then it suggests they didn’t find something they wanted. The update takes into account the time users spend away from Facebook after clicking a link while ranking stories with links in them.
- The other method used is to look at the ratio of users clicking on the content compared to those discussing and sharing it with their family, friends and acquaintances. If more users click on the link, but few users ‘Like’ or ‘Comment’ on the story while returning to the News Feed, then it means the users didn’t click through to valuable content.
When users share a link on Facebook, it typically shows up in News Feed with a large picture, a headline and some text that gives the context of the link. Some publishers share links in status updates or in the text caption above photos. However, Facebook says their studies have shown that users often prefer to click on links that show up in the link format compared to the links embedded in photo captions; and the former received twice as many clicks as the latter. The link format also displays some additional information (for example, the beginning of the article) associated with the link so that users can easily decide whether it is relevant to click through. It is also easier for users to click through on mobile devices with smaller screen. The update prioritizes showing links in the link-format to display fewer links shared in captions or status updates.
Tips to Comply with New Updates
In order to avoid being penalized, marketers should stop the practice of creating click-bait content. Here are some tips to create good content.
- Create and post only content that is relevant to your brand and at the same time useful to your audience. This will improve user engagement. Understand the interests of your audience first and then develop the content.
- Use the link format while adding links in a post. Double check whether the links actually work.
- Make sure that the post that takes users away from their Facebook page is exactly what you have described in the post.
If marketers aim at bigger marketing goals and lack enough time to take proper efforts to comply with new updates, they can take help from professionals experienced in optimizing social media content.