Facebook is cracking down on clickbait – headlines that hold back, exaggerate, or skew information to make the audience more curious. They’re rolling out another algorithm that’s going to make sure these types of posts disappear from newsfeeds. And why shouldn’t they? Clickbait is like the sleazy salesmen of net. It promise one thing but actually gives you something completely different.
Facebook can now detect clickbait based on how posts are worded. By classifying as much clickbait titles as they can find and feeding these into their algorithm, they’ve formed scoring system that rates clickbait headlines and filters them out.
So be wary if you’ve got headlines similar to these examples (taken directly from Facebook):
Since the algorithm uses a scoring system, there will be varying degrees of punishment. Those pages that post clickbait ALL the time will be penalized more severely than those that only post them every now and then. But how exactly does Facebook penalize you? If you posts clickbait titles 24/7, all your posts will reach less and less people.
Facebook says it won’t affect people too much. However, if they say that it won’t affect many people, the chances are, it actually will. We all know that they want brand pages to pay to play. This has mostly affected smaller social “news” and entertainment publications. Some pages have already reported from up to 50 to 90 percent less traffic.
How To Adjust?
The 3 main tenets of Facebook’s anti-clickbait algorithm are:
1. Don’t withhold important info from your title.
2. Don’t over exaggerate information in your title.
3. Don’t skew or slightly alter the information in your title to make it more interesting than the article.
But aside from following these warnings, here are more ways you can avoid clickbait penalties and get more organic reach for your posts.
Less Self Promotion and Selling
Are you promoting your own brand or product through your Facebook posts 24/7? It’s time to stop. This was never a good practice on social media anyway. Not that you can’t do self-promotion. You can, but only in small amounts. The same is true for selling, trying to get your audience to sign up email lists, etc. The most important thing is to provide value to your audience. Whenever you’re writing a post ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it provide true valuable information without omitting or distorting important details?
- Will my audience find it entertaining?
- Will it engage people and encourage them to comment, or share it?
If you could do all of these without having to wag your brand on your audiences faces, then your good. But if not, then don’t. Remember, if you spend more than half the time trying to get something instead of trying to give something back, no one’s going to stay interested.
Audience Engagement: Listen and Respond
Social media has always been, social. But for some reasons, brands and businesses forget this and focus on traditional marketing. By this we mean a one way communication style where a captive audience is shown ads. This is not how Facebook works. And now that the anti-clickbait algorithm is going full swing, brand pages need to remember that engaging one’s audience is the key.
Having a sincere connection with your community will help it strengthen and grow it. If you can set aside the urge to sell all the time, you’ll reap the rewards of an active audience who you can learn from, who will spread trust and goodwill for your brand, and who eventually will convert.
Yes, Facebook may sometimes feel like it swipes the rug from under us, but there are ways to adapt. And this is a good thing in general. Because if everyone gets tired of the spamming Facebook posts, then we won’t have an audience at all eventually.