October 27, 2014
The rise of Clickbait headlines on social networks is a content marketing tactic that we’re all familiar with, and many of us now bored with. From Buzzfeed to Upworthy, Clickbait has garnered some content aggregate sites with unprecedented hit ratios in the last few years. However, Facebook has recently changed its stance with the notorious tactic in a bid to change the nature and quality of its newsfeed algorithms.
The nature of Clickbait – and its primary target of garnering clicks in a bid to push competitors out of feeds, is coming under scrutiny. Accused of “gaming the system,” Facebook engineers are realizing something that most Facebook users already have experienced, that blanket exposure of Clickbait have been preventing users from seeing the stories and content that they actually want to see.
The question now is; how is Facebook going to identify Clickbait amongst what amounts to multiple millions of links per day? Furthermore, isn’t what amounts to Clickbait subjective in the first place? Facebook has surveyed users and begun analysing click-through rates and time-spent on link-through sites in order to answer this question.
“Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them.”
Time spent on page-visits are a popular metric to measure and study now, especially as Social Media analytics gains traction and importance in the industry. By measuring the time user spend on Click-bait sites, the Newsfeed may soon be able to judge the quality and nature of the site. If users return t0 Facebook very quickly, evidence suggests the content is not what they wanted.
By surveying users and finding that 80% of respondents made clear that they prefers links which offers an understanding of the articles’ content, Facebook is gearing up for a change in the way content will be distributed through its Feed. Facebook signals that these changes will be implemented in the “next few months” – meaning we may be seeing less Clickbait in our feeds and more authentic content.
What this means to Content Marketing is severalfold, but in the first instance it does mean that good, quality marketable content won’t necessarily face as much competition from Clickbait as we have experienced in the last few years.