Tired of shady techniques used by publishers to get you to click? So is Facebook. The company announced Monday that it is battling this tactic (click-baiting) by punishing pages who use this technique to get traffic to the website.
In a Newsroom blog post, Facebook explained how the site will determine a click-bait headline:
One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them.
Facebook cited a survey where 80 percent of participants preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before clicking through.
The site also made another change for publishers who rely on links.
The two predominant ways to link to a website via Facebook have been through Facebook’s native link-sharing format and through a link in a photo caption. Facebook is now giving more weight to links posted directly through Facebook, as opposed to a link accompanied by a photo upload:
We’ve found that people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions. The link format shows some additional information associated with the link, such as the beginning of the article, which makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to click through. This format also makes it easier for someone to click through on mobile devices, which have a smaller screen.
With this update, we will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.
Readers: How will these changes affect your posting strategy?