Facebook releases new updates to News Feed, targeting the stories with click-baiting headlines and link posts to provide interesting and relevant content to users and also help them see the shared posts in the best formats.
Publishers post stories either with click-baiting headlines or link posts. The former encourages users to click the link—whether it’s anchored with catchy phrases or direct call-to-action ‘click to find out’ or ‘click here’ without telling the whole story. This practice tends to gain more clicks, propelling the posts to the top. The latter comes with shared links in the posts, showing a large image, caption, and texts about the link or article.
After conducting a survey, “80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.”
In order to provide valuable content, the company will take into account the amount of time spent of users away from the website after clicking through the link—this suggests that the reader click through the link and spends time reading it and found it valuable. However, if the users come back to the news feed quickly, it implies they didn’t find it interesting.
Facebook will also consider another factor: the ratio of clicks and people discussing and sharing it to 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.”
Meanwhile, Facebook is also improving the link posts wherein it will prioritize posts in the link-format, and “show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.” Once the changes take place, Facebook recommends users to share stories using the link format.
These changes will have a negative effect on stories with click-baiting headlines in a few months.
[Photo credit: Facebook Newsroom]