Is there anything more annoying than reading an article headline, clicking on that article to read it fully, and then quickly realizing that the article isn’t at all what you thought it was? It’s called clickbait - and it works very well. But it’s also something that social media sites like Facebook are trying to crack down on.
Facebook has implemented a new algorithm that attempts to penalize any content publishers using clickbait headlines to capture readers.
Not the First Attempt
This is not the first time that Facebook has tried to crack down on clickbait and other tactics used by marketers to capture reader attention. The social media network has to try and keep users, which is difficult to do when users are always being tricked into reading content that’s not useful.
In addition, Facebook showcases content that certain users want to see (targeting content), which often means that various articles are promoted even if those articles are misleading. So how will the company decide what kind of content is good and what content is nothing more than a catchy title? Page view time.
Facebook will look at how much time users spend reading through content. Users that quickly click on a title and then bounce off of the page are likely users that did not find what they wanted to see. Of course, content that has a valid headline but is written poorly is likely to show various bounces as well, so marketers have to be sure that content is superior.
Any company that puts out content for the sake of getting clicks (with false or misleading headlines) will be penalized by the social network. This may mean that those marketers no longer have the space they once did or they cannot promote posts or other penalties. Depend on what Facebook decides to do as far as a penalty goes, marketers will have to adjust accordingly.
Content Remains King
A few years ago, the term ‘content is king’ circulated and was a popular thing to say. For a while, people really focused on good content. Then, marketers realized that all that was needed was a catchy headline - the inside of those content pieces did not really matter that much. Now, content is important once again.
Facebook plans to put publishers that use clickbait lower in news feeds. This will mean that top publishers will start to drop to the bottom of the Facebook news pile. The company has said that as soon as those publishers stop using clickbait tactics, they will be able to redeem themselves. Facebook will also look at the actual titles that publishers are using. Titles that intentionally withhold information will be seen as clickbait.
Publishers Take Note
What does this mean for you if you are a publisher? It means that your content better be good, it better keep reader attention, and your article titles must tell the truth. Truthful marketing - that’s what’s next. If you are running Facebook content, make sure that you abide by these rules - or head to the bottom of the pile!