25 Aug 2014

2 Facebook News Feed Changes and How They Impact Us

2 Facebook News Feed Changes and How They Impact Us

Yesterday, on 25 of August 2014, Facebook Newsroom announced 2 important changes on their Facebook News Feed algorithm.

Striving to give Facebook users the content that will be more appealing and engaging to them, they have taken into account the various reports submitted by users and came up with the 2 following changes:

1) Punishing Click-Baiting Content/Headlines

2) Boosting the reach of links shared in the link format

In my opinion the second change is the most important.

Anyway, let’s dive into these changes and see what do they really mean, shall we?

Click-Baiting Content/Headlines

Click-baiting is when a Facebook Page shares content with an enticing title, that taps on the users’ curiosity or another emotion, making it considerable hard for them not to click it and see more.

An example is the following:

Photo Credit

They have shared a photo and included a link in their description (more on this later), along with a vague headline. Users have said that they don’t like this style and prefer to know what they are going to see, before they click on it. So, here is what’s happening:

Most users who click on it, will probably visit the website, scan the article to see who did what (in order to satisfy their curiosity) and leave immediately never to return.

This is exactly what Facebook is going to penalize.

It will start by keeping track of how long users stay on a particular webpage after they click on a Facebook link. If they click and immediately come back to their News Feed, then this is a signal that the content they clicked is of low quality and it will receive reduced reach.

The second tactic that they are going to implement in order to fight click-baiting is counting what percentage of people who clicked and read the article, went back and engaged with it (Liked, Commented or Shared). If people read an article and lots of them like it, after they come back to their News Feed, it means that this article is of high quality and people enjoyed it. Thus, Facebook will boost its reach.

What are the implications for our Pages?
This change will generally affect Pages with thin and attention seeking content. Most legitimate pages and businesses should not be afraid of it. Just make sure that the content of the landing page matches the description of the shared content and you should be fine. Also, I estimate that some viral sites will get hit, but the strong players won’t be affected.

Boosting the reach of links shared in the link format

Upload a picture, write a description and drop a link in it. Does this sound familiar?

Well it is, or at least it used to be, a legitimate Facebook tactic to increase the reach of a Page’s post. Another one is sharing a link as a status update and not as a link.

Photo update with a link in its description:

Photo Credit

Example of a status update with a link included:

Photo Credit

Both of them used to be tactics employed by social media managers and business owners, with the aim of increasing the reach of their shared content.

However, Facebook found out that its users prefer to click on links that are in the link format, since it provides more information and context on what someone is going to read. This means that links shared in link format will be getting a higher reach than before. Also, they found that this format produces double (!) the link clicks than the ones buried in a photo description. In simpler words, if a photo with a link in it, gets 5 clicks for every 100 persons that see it, the link format will get 10 clicks for every 100 persons that see it.

With this change it seems more appealing to share links in their appropriate format and that’s exactly what Facebook advices. Some testing will be required of course, but my estimation is that we should follow their guidelines and we should see a boost in our Facebook efforts.

Another bonus of sharing links in their appropriate format, is that users are able to save them for later reading, whereas in photo or status posts, a user will either click the link and read it or move on and never see it again. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can read the article here.

What are the implications for our Pages?
From now on it will probably be better to share content on its appropriate form. A photo as a photo, a link as a link, etc. I will definitely be sharing links as links especially with this long anticipated change and I suggest you do the same, at least for some time to see its impact. Photos and other formats, still have their place, but for other purposes and not for sharing links.

Facebook keeps moving forward into satisfying its users with content they want to see. Like Google, their algorithm is getting more sophisticated and harder to trick. These changes are definitely for the better.

What do you think of them?
Leave a comment below and let me know.

You can read the original article from Facebook, here:

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