New Facebook Algorithm Says: No More Clickbait Headlines
Brands and online advertisers have abused clickbait headlines on Facebook and now they’re going to see some consequences. Clickbait has been a topic of conversation at Facebook HQ since 2014 or earlier – the Washington Post even wrote about it. Clickbait is a tactic online advertisers have used to draw in clicks by purposefully misleading readers with their headlines.
The idea behind the “deception” is that by increasing the number of clicks on a post the more their content will appear in timelines. But that is about to change.
Initially covered by PR Daily, Facebook announced in a newsroom post that their update to News Feed ranking will “further reduce clickbait headlines in the coming weeks.” If you’re worried about whether or not you’re guilty of clickbait or want to stay away from it, here are some tips we put together based on Facebook Best Practices:
Don’t withhold information from your reader.
Facebook advises that headlines should provide information to the reader. Posts that read “You Won’t Believe…” like the one shown above will usually be considered as clickbait. The way to correct this example in particular, would be to share the name of the celebrity Kendall Jenner is dating and ensure the article is about their new relationship.
Avoid exaggerated statements that could mislead your readers.
Have a cure-all superfood? Facebook is pretty doubtful. Avoid sharing bits of information that are suggestive to the reader. It will be considered clickbait and could potentially put you in a bit of legal trouble.
As a general rule of thumb, just like you wouldn’t exaggerate the results of a workout routine don’t do the same with your headlines. Copy such as “You’ll be AMAZED by his weight loss after drinking this herbal tea” will most likely be penalized by Facebook. This is because Facebook will believe it to be misleading or untrue.
Engage your readers with your unique brand voice.
The reason Facebook is targeting clickbait is to improve the user experience. They want to connect users with content they genuinely enjoy. Make sure to have an established brand identity, share relevant content and you will connect with the right audience. Consistently providing great images, videos, and stories will be rewarded by Facebook’s Algorithm.
Our stance on this algorithm change? Unfortunately, clickbait isn’t an authentic means of sharing content and we’ve all fallen for it. We think social media should be a way to interact authentically with fans. If you have great content, it will speak for itself.
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For additional examples of clickbait from Facebook here.
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons – Mambembe Arts & Crafts