You’ll Never Believe What Facebook Is Up To

by Bridget Pooley, Manager of Engagement

Facebook announced yesterday, via press release, two changes to the news feed to help streamline content for users.


First, and most importantly for our collective sanity, it looks like click-bait’s funeral has been scheduled! Facebook will suppress content that they determine is “click-baiting” – for examples, see my title, above, or Facebook’s example, below:


Their reasoning for the change? 80% of users want a headline that helps them decide whether they actually want to read the article. Surprised? Personally, I won’t miss the click-bait articles.

Implications for Your Content

On the surface, this is excellent news – no longer will our newsfeeds be flooded with click-bait posts, but we thought it was worth a second glance to take a look at how Facebook will determine a post falls into this category.

Time: Firstly, Facebook explained they will observe how long people spend away from Facebook on the link. If users actually spend time reading the posted content, it’s likely something others might want to see, too. If users are immediately jumping back to Facebook from a link, it indicates that the material wasn’t what they were looking for, or wasn’t of interest to them.

Clicks: you can expect Facebook to pay closer attention to the behaviors taken by users after interacting with content. If users click the link but aren’t clicking like, commenting, or sharing with friends it’s indicating to Facebook that it isn’t something valuable to the user. The higher the ratio of interaction, the more visible the post will be.

Facebook claims that only “a small set of publishers who are frequently posting links with click-bait headlines that many people don’t spend time reading after they click through may see their distribution decrease in the next few months.” While Facebook seems confident that most posters will be fine, I’ve outlined some ways organizations can adjust posting strategies to avoid any negative consequences:

  • Focus on posting substantive and relevant content to generate authentic engagement on the part of your followers.
  • Pay attention to your headlines – make sure they accurately represent the content to which you are linking.
  • Take advantage of Facebook’s new link preference (more below) by using high quality images, infographics, and other visual aides to encourage interaction.
  • Utilize learnings from our Storytelling research, expected to be released in early September, to craft stories worth sharing on Facebook; our survey results indicate that Facebook is the third most effective channel for sharing stories.

What have I missed? How will you change your posting strategy to meet Facebook’s new parameters?

Don’t Forget – Sharing Links

The second change announced today by Facebook, focuses on how users share links within a post. When a user pastes a into Facebook’s status bar, the site automatically creates a link preview, including an image and text preview for visitors. See our examples below of a sample post with and without the preview:

 In the first example, we remove the link preview, leaving only a URL for interaction.ex2

In the second example, we utilize the image and text preview functionality provided by Facebook; additionally, the removal of the link creates a much cleaner, aesthetically pleasing post.

It turns out that Facebook users strongly prefer the second type of links; according to today’s press release, they receive “twice as many clicks compared to links embedded in photo captions.” Facebook will prioritize posts using their link preview format and will “show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.”