Just before Christmas Facebook announced an update to their algorithm… You did know that Facebook use an algorithm to show posts didn’t you!
I’ve been critical of these algorithmic updates in the past as they have sometimes been simply to allow Facebook to gain more revenue, on this occasion, I’m actually quite pleased to see this algorithmic change.
According to a blog post written on Facebook’s newsroom blog on 18 December 2017 they are beginning to demote posts which bate people into responding with likes, comments or shares. The technique is often called ‘engagement baiting’ or ‘Facebook baiting’.
We’ve all seen those posts:
- Share baiting – “Share this post to be in with a chance of winning a new Porsche.”
- Tag baiting – “Tag your friends in this post to be in with a chance of winning a new washing machine”
- React baiting – “Click like to say you agree, click angry to say you disagree etc”
- Comment baiting – “Comment ‘Amen’ to say you agree”
This new engagement baiting algorithmic update is in addition to Facebook’s ‘clickbait headline‘ update which went live in May 2017, Both of these algorithmic updates are to reinforce Facebook’s rule of authenticity.
If people stop using Facebook or get annoyed with these posts then ultimately they may use Facebook less and Facebook will lose revenue…I admit that I have used engagement baiting techniques in the past and they’ve worked well, (I used the reaction buttons to get people to vote on whether they wanted a marketing club or not) but this technique could now potentially see my posts demoted as a result.
If you create a post on your page on Facebook it is not necessarily shown to all of your fans, Facebook uses their edge rank algorithm to calculate who to show that post to, if your post uses either engagement baiting or has a click baiting headline you may find that the post gets completely demoted… If you continually use this technique you may also find that your whole page gets demoted and none of your posts get shown!
I welcome this update, I welcome the authenticity that it brings and am looking forward to a less spammy news stream on Facebook.