Facebook News Feed Changes: More Efforts to control Bait-and-Switch

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Facebook is not sitting around idle with their 2nd Quarter successes!

The attack on “baiting”, “spam”, and more in the News Feed continues.

On August 25, another Facebook News Feed change was announced that targets “click-baiting.”  This follows-up on the April 10 Facebook change that targeted “Like-baiting”.

What does the Facebook News Feed Change Involve?

Facebook is announcing the pursuit and war against attempts to entice clicks through headlines that are misleading.

click baiting

Like the image above, the “Click to find out…” is being viewed by Facebook as poor quality and bad for user experience.  How do they determine this?

According to Facebook…

“One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook… 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.

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.”

In short, Facebook is monitoring “click and bail” rates, much like a web page where you monitor if the “time on page” is low and if the user left directly from that page they entered on.

Facebook is also looking at what I’ll call the “Shock and bail” approach.  This is the attempt to “shock” the viewer into clicking to see what it’s about but immediately disappointing them with the what’s on the other side.  It’s an attempt at gaming.

I’ve got a number of large publishers in mind immediately who this refers to, how about you??

Link Sharing Update: An Important Note From Facebook

In my opinion this is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of their update!

Formerly, we used to recommend Pages upload a Photo to Facebook, add a description, and then paste the link to the tab or web page in as well.

In essence, this was a Photo post with a link embedded in the description.

Facebook says don’t do this anymore!

Here’s an example of what Facebook says not to do any longer….

A photo uploaded, with description and link to click…

lanconline

Facebook had the following to say:

“With this update, we will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.

The best way to share a link after these updates will be to use the link format. In our studies, these posts have received twice as many clicks compared to links embedded in photo captions. “

Facebook has tried to address this in the past but this appears to be a next-level effort to force a change in user behavior.

They do not want you to use a photo for sharing a link!

NOTE: The new Facebook “Save” feature requires a link in order to save the article, so it makes sense from a perspective of allowing users to “save” a article to read later in addition to what is outlined by Facebook in terms of their tracking data revealing clicks are higher on link posts.

What does it mean for Facebook Marketers?

Just like Google has made changes to stay ahead of those that are trying to “game” the system, Facebook is similarly pursuing means to let authentic, quality content rule in the News Feed.

  • Expect more changes to come!

Because just like search rankings on Google, there are those that try to game the system.  So Facebook will make changes to combat that.  It’s actually a good thing. It rewards those who are putting forth quality, above-board efforts.

  • Review your content and your posting practices.

The goal is to engage fans but do it in an authentic way!  As well, if you have been posting photos to Facebook and adding the link in the description caption, it’s time to move on past that!

  • Keep it classy!

In doing so, you’ll be in good standing with Facebook and will not experience any “hits” from the change.  Simply make efforts to stay true and not get involved in “baiting”.

  • Your Blog Content Matters!

Since Facebook wants links to valid, quality resources, and since Facebook displays link images at a large, visually appealing size in the news feed, then it makes sense for your team to focus on good content and great images in your content!   Images in your content will increasingly impact the way your post is viewed on Facebook.

Great images in your link share, great visual impact on Facebook!

That’s my initial take on the Facebook change.  What do you think?

About Mike Gingerich

Author: Mike Gingerich, TabSite Co-Founder. Facebook and Social Marketer. Part geek, part marketer, total social media junkie. Mike is a writer and speaker, having presented at Social Media Week Lima, Social Media Camp (Canada) and more. He is a regular contributor to Social Media Examiner and Business2Community. Mike is a marketing, social media, and internet enthusiast with 10+ years experience building apps, consulting, and training businesses with winning integrated web and Social Media Strategies. Mike loves deploying tactics to increase awareness, sales, and maximize ROI in both B2B and B2C markets via digital media.

  • garystvshow

    FB = the CIA and NSA

  • Downtonian

    Oh, dear, I need help, please…. I’m afraid I don’t quite understand the difference between the posts FB is saying they DO and DO NOT want. The content on my Page is virtually 100% visual so I’m panicking a bit!

    I generally do one of these things:
    1) Put in a link to a website or a FB page post, in which case an image pops up along with the link (is this is “link-sharing?”). I am using almost all Bitlinks for the links so I can track click-throughs.
    2) Put in a link to a website, and replace the image that pops up with a custom one.
    2) Upload a visual and just discuss it, no link
    3) Upload a visual, discuss it, and include a link to a website where one can learn more and/or purchase a similar item. I don’t do this often, only when I can’t find an exact website, and they are never our own products!
    4) Upload a visual and include the phrase “Sharing from “. (I know this is self-serving but I get better Reach this way, and I AM giving credit in a way that’s actually more visible than just sharing.)

    So can someone tell me which of these things is now going to get me in trouble with FB?? I really appreciate the help!

    (Right now I have my hands full explaining to business owner why our upcoming Sweepstakes may not result in a slew of new Page Likes, due to absence of gate… *sigh*)

    • Downtonian

      P.S. I have a Sweepstakes coming up (run by TabSite). How SHOULD I post information about this, if I can’t do it the way you previously recommended? Can you give me specific instructions? Thanks very much!

      • Greetings. You would complete the “Promotion Tools” Social SHaring Options section, Including 600×315 Facebook Image.This image will be pulled in from the Smart URL.

      • See image.

      • Downtonian

        Thanks, Mike. I just went over and looked at that. You’ve changed a lot on the app since last September when I set up our first Sweepstakes! Question: Is it okay to just edit everything on the old tab and republish for this Sweepstakes? I hope so!

      • Your only issue will be that the entries from before will be there. they will be noted by date in your export.

      • Downtonian

        Got it. That shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks again!

      • Downtonian

        Mike, I updated our Sweepstakes tab and just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for how much easier it was to use this time! Because I had the graphic ready to go, I was able to complete all of the info. in record time. Plus, it went straight on to the FB Page with no hassle whatsoever (I had problems with the last tab for Twitter). This went so smoothly, in fact, I think I’ll be adding another one soon. I really appreciate your service and especially all your great social media tips. Enjoyed the Hangout the other day!

      • Great to hear!

      • Downtonian

        Hi, Mike – Sorry to bother you again but I’ve got a question/problem. My tab is set up and ready to go. If you click on the Smart URL link now, it takes you to the Pre-Sweepstakes page exactly as it should. However, when I include the link when I’m trying to schedule FB posts, it’s showing the image and copy from the OLD Sweepstakes that I ran this spring. Will that automatically update when this one goes live at 12:01 AM on Friday?? I sure hope so, because we’re doing a totally different prize this time.

        Unfortunately, if I put the link in the copy, don’t let it pull in the URL, and plug in the proper graphic, I’m going to be in violation of the new FB posting policy. 🙁

      • Ok, understand that Facebook “caches” URL’s for faster loading…basically that copy what it pulls in the first time to their server and deliver it when a page is loaded. So, you need to clear their system by using their “debugger”. Go here and put your smart URL in it. This will clear it so when you go back and create your post it pulls in the new image. https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

      • Downtonian

        Mike, I have got to be your least favorite customer ever, but here I am again with another question (I’m sorry!). I was able to fix the above issue through the debugger, so thanks very much for that help.

        I could not figure out why my Sweeps was Live, when it wasn’t supposed to start until midnight tonight. I went ahead and filled out the entry form just to see if it was working. I got a thank-you message. It seemed like a couple other folks had entered as well. I went to check for entries at the email address and – NOTHING. So I headed back to tab developer to see what was up, and discovered:

        1) I had the setting for “my time” set wrong so I fixed that. Now the tab is back to Pre-Sweeps where it’s supposed to be.

        2) When I clicked on “Help,” I saw that in Sweepstakes Setup I’m supposed to have a check box for “Enable Email.” I don’t have one! It simply isn’t there. I imagine this explains why my entry never went through? This is not good because I really need ALL the entries/emails to come to me. What do I need to do to fix this?? Right now I think entries are going to disappear into the ether, and this ship is about to sail!

        Thank you again and my apologies if I’m just being dumb about something…

      • Hi. For that, I think you need to submit a support ticket and give our team the details of your Page, App, and what you see so they can review and get back to you. I know emails are sent from notifier@tabsite.com so make sure you add that email address as safe sender and check your spam/junk folders.

    • As long as your starting point in a post is “putting in a link” then you are using the link-share which is what Facebook says you want. I would say you want to watch your reach on what you are doing and see if you notice changes.

      • Downtonian

        Ok, will do. Thank you for being such a great resource for us harried folks trying to keep up with all the latest rules and regs from our friends at FB!

  • Ripple Kindness

    Hi Mike

    That was really helpful. Thank you so much. It’s often difficult to know what facebook is up to but we usually see the results via engagement on our page and wonder what has happened now?

    Can I please just clarify, so I know I’ve got this right.

    I write my post, pop in the link at the end of it and that’s basically it, or does facebook want us to remove the link url in the post after it has generated the picture?

    Thanks so much for keeping us up to date.

    • That’s basically it! By pasting your URL and letting it generate an image from the page you are using the LINK function. That’s the key. Leaving or removing the url text is immaterial. The second key is not using “baiting” language like “click to find out…”

      • Ripple Kindness

        What if there is no relevant pic attached to the link or it’s not appealing?

      • Often times Facebook does let you update the image or add add a new one for the link. This makes it important to have great images in your content!

      • Ripple Kindness

        Thanks Mike. We can’t control the images on other websites, so it helps if we can upload our own, and that’s a great way of getting round it. Wasn’t sure if that was allowed.

      • Ripple Kindness

        Sorry, one more thing Mike. Why is it that when I use the pic in a url, it sometimes posts as a large, visible pic and other times it’s just a thumbnail? That’s part of the reason I started replacing the pictures.

      • A lot of that depends on the source image on the web page (if too small it only shows as thumbnail) and if the web page is specifying the Open Graph tag.

      • Ripple Kindness

        That makes sense. Thanks so much for your help. 🙂

  • Ripple Kindness

    Also, if you’re reposting a comment that’s been left on your page by a follower and posting a picture with it, surely this is okay?

    • I’m not sure why you are reposting a comment from a fan I guess. That would be a status update, not a link update, and is fine.

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