Facebook Catches Click-Bait To Increase Traffic On Shared Links In Posts
There are many instances where you would find a link on Facebook saying, “You won’t believe what this celebrity wore to the Oscars! Click here for pictures: http://xyido.ly/1b5hkR8.” And once you click on the link, intrigued to discover the whole story, you end up finding out nothing much really happened at all. Posts like these are just meant to get clicks raising their traffic and getting displayed to more users as a result.
In cases like these, the links are referred to as “click-bait”. Sometimes, you might be interested in the caption, and would want to check the link out. However, you find yourself questioning the eligibility of the link, mistaking it for spam.
Facebook does have its own format for converting the links into a little infographic with the title, picture and description of the link the user might be about to open. However, if links are not shared in this format, there is higher chance of the traffic being mislead by assuming the link to be spam.
Facebook officially declared on its blog that sharing links in posts is not helping any party involved. The company may not get the traffic they want, and the reader may be deprived of reading something they deemed beneficial yet fraudulent.
We’ve found that people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions.
With this update, we will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.
How does Facebook aid in solving this headache? Facebook will be noticing how long people actually spend “reading” the articles they click on, and whether number of shares of the post match with its high number of clicks. If a lot of users continue with their session on Facebook after clicking on the link, the story might get choked.
When you share a link by simply pasting its URL, Facebook automatically makes a post using the publication’s title, searching for an appropriate picture, and adding description from the page to let the users have an idea of what the article or post is really about. On the other hand, some companies/Facebook pages will share a picture from the post instead, with a shortlink to the post in the caption of the picture.
The latter trend might have probably come around because of Facebook’s infrequent capability to not find a good enough picture of the post; and users are usually attracted to posts with pictures. But Facebook says that the link format is preferred by its users, something that might clean our News Feeds of the enormous amounts of spam and click baits which bury the actual content from our friends and family.
Explaining in its recent blog post, Facebook said:
In our studies, these posts have received twice as many clicks compared to links embedded in photo captions. In general, we recommend that you use the story type that best fits the message that you want to tell – whether that’s a status, photo, link or video.