Clickbait Will Haunt You on Facebook, Marketers
Facebook users are fed up with being served clickbait. So says Adam Mosseri — VP, Product Management, News Feed — to The Washington Post.
Clickbait headlines — so named because the title promises more than the clicked-on content delivers — are getting noticed, Mosseri tells the Post’s Brian Fung in an article published on Thursday.
This statement is especially notable considering Facebook publicly announced on June 29 its News Feed algorithm tweaks to lower marketers’ content and raise posts from users’ friends and family.
Perhaps Mosseri’s comments to Fung are mainly meant to steer marketers away from temptation as they contemplate lowered organic reach.
Here’s what Mosseri tells Fung that Facebook is tallying in user actions: “They'll like a story, click on it, and come back immediately because they feel deceived and un-like it. We do see that reflected in behavior."
Fung further explains: “People who feel misled are actively going back to the News Feed and removing their likes from stories, according to Facebook. That's significant. It's an extra step, an act of commission, one that takes time and thought. And it's an interesting way users who lack other means to voice their displeasure have devised as a kind of stop-gap measure for fighting back.”
So while marketers may see a greater number of clicks from clickbait, they may want to reconsider using the tactic. While Mosseri didn’t mention whether all content marketing from a brand would be considered suspect if there’s one noticeable clickbait headline, it may be a possibility marketers want to keep in mind.
Here are the clues Facebook collects when looking for clickbait, according to Mosseri:
Short Time Periods
Facebook users don’t spend much time on the content. That could mean they felt misled. In other words, the user behavior is clicking on, then clicking back away from the content.
Users liked the Facebook post before clicking through to the content, but then removed the likes after seeing the content. Fung cites psychologists’ findings that “the mere sight of a clickbait headline is enough to trigger the release of happy chemicals,” but that the let-down of the actual content doesn’t yield the happy reward users want. Removing the like is the publishers’ punishment for disappointing Facebook users.
What do you think, marketers?
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