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Facebook Is Cracking Down On Clickbaiters…

… and you won’t believe reason #7!

Just kidding.

But yes, Facebook is going after not just the clickbait articles, but the publishers themselves. This could doom all their content to the nether reaches of the News Feed Abyss.

Clickbait articles fill a unique space in internet marketing. On the one hand, we’re all jaded to the point of being disgusted by the very sight of them. But on the other hand many marketers use the tenets of clickbait articles as the gold standard for blog titles and e-shot subject lines.

The principles, they say, are sound. Write something that grabs the reader’s attention, then make them want to click and read on. You do this by appealing to the reader’s base desires or needs. You can feed their curiosity…

He Wrote An Article About Clickbaiting. He Had No Idea What Would Happen Next

…or feed their ego by writing utter codswallop, leading the reader to click so they can scoff and declare that this is indeed, codswallop.

Why Multiple H1s Will Put Your Page To The Top Of Google

Is a clickbait article the tool of the devil or just the logical conclusion of the principles of advertising in a world of saturated content and instant communication?  Whatever you think, Facebook has had enough of them (again) and is cracking down on clickbait articles. After analysing “tens of thousands” of headlines to identify common elements of clickbait stories, Facebook has adjusted its algorithm to send clickbait content into the nether. If the algorithm identifies your headline as clickbait, it will limit both the reach of the post, and potentially the reach of the publisher that posted it. “If you’re a publisher, or you’re a content farm, and you post 50 things a day and 48 of them are clickbait, you’ll see a significant drop in referral traffic and reach,” said Adam Mosseri, vice president of product management for the News Feed.

It’s certainly a delicate balance to hit. After all, writing compelling headlines is a vital skill in making your content stand out from the crowd. Is Facebook going to reduce all headlines to uninspired, informative titles to save readers from disappointment? They say no and that they are trying to respond to feedback from their users.

What Does Cracking Down On Clickbait Mean?

On the one hand, you get a better user experience. Regular users won’t be bothered by pesky, waste of time clickbait articles. On the other hand, publishers who rely on these tactics to get referral traffic will see a huge drop. Facebook say that they “anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of this change. However, websites and Pages who rely on clickbait-style headlines should expect their distribution to decrease.” We’ve seen this happen the last time they changed the News Feed. The Family and Friends first model had publishers of clickbait-style content seeing a marked reduction in referral traffic from Facebook.

Facebook already strictly monitors branded content and advertising for good reason. Facebook is about sharing ideas, connecting with people and sharing experiences. While undoubtedly a power tool for digital marketing, it is not the world’s biggest billboard. Businesses must be aware of this and make sure that their social media strategy takes this to heart more than ever or suffer the consequences.

At MRS Digital, we’re sociable! We know how to use social media as a force for good, benefiting both users by giving them a valuable experience, and businesses by helping them tell their stories to their audience. If you would like to find out more about how social media can play a role in your digital marketing journey, get in touch today.

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