News | 17/01/2018

Facebook is waging war on clickbait

Posted by Lawrence Greenlee

‘You won’t believe this’, ‘Click here to find out what happens next’; these headlines probably sound very familiar to any Facebook users reading this (which is most of you, we expect). Headlines like this are termed clickbait and they’ve been around for a while now. They seem harmless, and to all intents and purposes, they are. They’re just annoying for Facebook users. That’s why Facebook is waging war on them. And they’ve finally had a breakthrough! You’ll never believe what happens next (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
No one likes to be misled, which is exactly what clickbait headlines do. Users and Facebook bosses alike hate this, and rightly so; tricking people into clicking on pointless headlines is not what the platform is all about.
So what exactly is Facebook doing about it?
The days of guesswork about what counts as clickbait are over; this is pretty much how Facebook was determining what was clickbait and that’s why so much of it slipped through the cracks.

After an intense study session of tens of thousands of headlines, Facebook determined every single title that could be clickbait and built an all-powerful clickbait identifying system. So now there’s no more guesswork involved.
Each and every title gets scanned by the system; if the piece is deemed clickbait-y it’s flagged so appears much lower down the feed, if it appears at all. So it’s a bit like an email spam filter. What’s more, if you repeatedly get caught clickbaiting then ALL of your posts go through the clickbait machine.
There are 2 sure-fire ways to get yourself straight on the clickbait watch list
One is signs that your title might be withholding key information about the piece; all of us marketers know that this is not the point of a title. The other one is creating a title that deliberately misleads readers. Again, the point of a title is to let people know what the piece is about, it’s not meant to be totally random. Headlines that are shocking rather than accurate are also under fire.
What does that mean for us?
First, it means that our Facebook feeds won’t be cluttered by clickbait and misleading articles, so that’s good. Second, it means that your relevant, useful content won’t be drowned out by all the spam. It also means that we’ll have to think about the headlines we’re writing, which can’t be a bad thing. To avoid being swallowed by the clickbait algorithm all you need to do is make sure your titles are to the point, give a key detail or two about your content and make sure they match up with your pieces. Easy.
Social media and content team up incredibly to create a formidable marketing strategy. If you’d like a few pointers on steering clear of clickbait pitfalls or need some digital marketing guidance, let us help. Contact Cobb Digital on 01273 208913 for a chat about what you need.