Yesterday Facebook announced an update to their algorithm, which will simplify newsfeed housekeeping by taking additional steps to clear out unwanted spam. It specifically targets clickbait headlines as well as status link posts.
The two main changes are as follows:
1) Clickbait: Headlines, such as “You won’t believe what mind-blowing thing happened next. Click here to find out:” will see their reach diminish. While this isn’t the first update with the goal of cleaning up the newsfeed, what makes it unique is that Facebook now uses “time spent on page” as a key indicator in order to determine if the content is of high-quality. If someone clicks on a link but returns immediately to Facebook, it will allow Facebook to conclude that the content was not relevant and will subsequently reduce its reach. Conversely, if someone clicks on a page and stays there for a while before returning to Facebook, the content will be deemed relevant and its reach will be increased.
Facebook used the post below as an example of what will be targeted:
2) Link posts: There are two methods to posting links (URLs). One way is to post the link, which will auto-populate with the headline and the first few sentences of the content. The second way is to post an image and “bury” the link in the text, meaning the post will not auto-populate with the headline or any other content aside from the photo. Based on recent survey feedback gathered by Facebook, they found that people prefer to see as much information as possible when deciding if they are going to click. Facebook will now reduce thereach of posts with buried links.
What does this mean for affiliates and affiliate marketers?
1) If you haven’t incorporated clickbait tactics into your distribution strategy, then this update won’t affect you much. Small adjustments to copy might be all that’s needed. For example, try to avoid using the word “click”. Use words like “discover”, “explore” or other copy that has been proven to drive results. If you do rely on clickbait headlines to drive traffic, it might be time to go back to the drawing board. If you’re really pressed for ideas, you can always consult an expert.
2) Take posting photos with links buried in the text off your “Best Practices” list and put it on your “Community Management Don’ts” list. This means that extra emphasis should be placed on your optimized affiliate landing pages, copy and imagery.