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What The New Facebook ‘Click-Bait’ Posting Rules Mean For Businesses

Facebook recently changed its posting rules in a clampdown on ‘click-baiting.’ Here’s what you need to know…

What is ‘click-baiting?’

“Click-baiting” is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed.

You know those irritating headlines you see in your News Feed sometimes that say things like ‘This totally shocked me. You won’t believe what this poodle did?’ Well Facebook wants to get rid of those. Thank goodness.

Click-Baiting

What’s actually changed?

Before this update the more people clicked on the link, the more that post would shows up in the News Feed – whether people liked what they saw after clicking or not. However the News Feed algorithm (how Facebook decides what content to show you) will now consider bounce rates too. This means that the number of clicks a link receives will not be as important as how much the user actually engages with the content behind it.

So if a link is getting lots of clicks but users are immediately exiting and returning to Facebook and there aren’t a lot of likes and shares then that probably means either the headline is misleading or the content is, well, a bit rubbish. Facebook has decided to take this into consideration.

How does this affect my business page?

The most important thing is to ensure that when you post links, you are as accurate in your descriptions as possible. Focus on quality over quantity and aim to promote your content only to the people who will be interested in it.

To be honest, you should really be doing this anyway. We all want our fans to have a great experience with our pages and with the content we share, and tricking people with inaccurate descriptions is not going to build an engaged follower community.

If you regularly post images and include a link in the caption, then you may wish to consider just posting the preview link more often. A preview is when you include a link to an article and the image and blurb are automatically pulled into your post. Facebook now favours this type of post versus images posted with links and no preview.

“With this update, we will prioritise showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates,” Facebook said in a statement. “In our studies, these posts have received twice as many clicks compared to links embedded in photo captions.”

Not sure what we mean? Here’s an example of an image with a link in the caption:

Facebook image with link in the caption

And here’s a link preview:

Facebook Link Preview

Next Steps

1. Make sure your descriptions are accurate when posting links

2. Don’t post links to rubbish content that won’t appeal to your audience – be picky!

3. Ensure your website provides a brilliant user experience so that when users click they stay there

4. Include link previews to gain more exposure in the News Feed

 

Do you have a question that you’d like us to answer with a blog post? Let us know if the comments or get in touch

 

Bethany Carter,  October 7, 2014

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