Facebook has taken a step towards killing Clickbait with an update it made to its News Feed algorithm. Though no one likes Clickbait, which offers headlines with just enough info to get users to click, it does unbelievably well online.
No major impact on reach and referral traffic
On Monday, the social networking giant announced that it surveyed users on the content they see and is changing the News Feed accordingly. The Feed Quality Panel found that the stories liked, shared, commented on and clicked on were not the only ones that did well. Some posts had no interactions, but still users enjoyed them.
“Pages might see some declines in referral traffic if the rate at which their stories are clicked on does not match how much people report wanting to see those stories near the top of their News Feed,” the post said.
Referring to Clickbait, Zhang and Chen said Pages should “avoid encouraging people to take an action (such as encouraging lots of clicks),” as it will lead to “temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time.”
What factors will Facebook use now?
Facebook will now rate posts based on what people are interested in seeing at the top of their News Feed through a process that is not very clear. The company started tracking how much time a user spends looking at a post, and it could use this metric or keywords a user posts to determine what that person finds interesting.
Though the social network will continue to take likes, shares, comments and clicks into account, it will also add this new factor that will show posts that may not receive any direct interaction but will improve to its environment. It is definitely great news for the users, but it might not please media sites with Facebook Pages.
With such a move, Facebook is eliminating one tool companies use to get clicks, but it recently added Audience Optimization tools that allow publishers to narrowly target posts on the platform. Now Clickbait will be much less visible to everyone, but users with some niche interests will get to see a completely different set of posts than what their friends see.