Facebook has recently announced an algorithm change to their news feed that will have you seeing fewer of the ‘click bait’ stories. You have undoubtedly seen thousands of stories that tease you with vague information such as, “Two NBA superstars get in fight. You won’t believe over what, click here to find out.” These types of headlines really grab your attention and get your curiosity going, which is why they are such an effective technique.
In most cases, however, the story is quite a bit less interesting than the title would have you believe. In fact, Facebook did a survey which found that 80% of people don’t like these types of headlines, and even though they often click on them, they would rather see a more accurate title that gives a good idea of what they will actually be seeing.
In order to please those 80%, Facebook is implementing a significant algorithm change. The change will analyze people’s behavior after they click on a story. If they don’t stick around long, Facebook will begin to assume that story is just click bait and show it to fewer and fewer people. Obviously the algorithm is much more complex than that, but that’s the basic overview.
Facebook explained the change by saying, “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 suggest 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.”
They also said that they would be factoring in how much discussion on Facebook a specific link is generating. If people aren’t liking or commenting on the story, it likely means that they aren’t that interested in it. This will cause the algorithm to display it to fewer people.
While good news for the average Facebook user, it might spell trouble for some marketers. This is, after all, a very effective marketing technique for getting people to come to your site. While not a good idea for all products, it is still very useful to many.