Facebook Continues to Reduce Click-baiting in News Feed

Over the past few months, Facebook has been making continuous improvements to its News Feed, in an effort to only show the most interesting and quality content to its users. Today, August 26, 2014, Facebook announced that it is going to weed out ‘click-baiting’ updates  in their News Feed in two ways.

Click-baiting Headlines

The first update is to weed out click-baiting headlines from their News Feed. “Click-baiting”, as defined by Facebook, “is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed.”


To be able to determine click-bait headlines, Facebook is going to use the “time spent on page” metric, which has already long been used by other social channels, like Stumbleupon, as a signal engagement and quality.

‘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 suggests 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.’

The algorithm also looks at reader engagement level, where they will be measuring the ratio of content click through rates versus content likes and shares.

‘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.’

Sharing Links in Posts

Secondly, Facebook introduces more efforts to encourage publishers to use its own native link format…. (like the example below)


…rather than having a link embedded in a photo caption:


This News Feed tweak will prioritize showing updates in the link-format, and show fewer updates with links shared in photo captions and status updates.

What these Changes Mean to Marketers

Focus less on tricks, more on quality content.

Writing great content definitely takes more effort, but let’s face it…. when you really focus on creating content that is engaging, actionable and relevant, it tends to naturally get more success.

With Facebook’s recent change, getting people to engage is definitely required, so think about creating content that inspires your readers to take action through liking, sharing, and commenting on your content.

  • Engage in quality, audience-centered, and relevant content that would encourage people to participate in the conversation.

Time spent on a content might not always translate to user satisfaction.

Users who are satisfied with your content are likely to stay longer. However, this may not always be the case, as your topic might be short, your page layout and format might be causing confusion, or you might have other elements that make people leave your site quickly.

Facebook addresses this confusion using content consumption metric, where they will be looking at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends.

  • Create a user-friendly layout that makes it easy for people to find and share information they or their friends need.
  • Provide easy ways for your readers to participate with your content and get rid of the roadblocks that might cause someone to leave your page prematurely.

Facebook has been making regular improvements to their algorithm, to eliminate spammy content and keep your News Feed quality high.

Here are some of the tweaks for the past months:


And with these efforts to reduce click-baiting, we are once again reminded that in marketing, quality time content is money and we have to make every second post count.

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