Content – Relevant Information vs. Online Click Rush
Sensational! You will not believe what Facebook wants to do!
We should expect such titles to disappear from our Facebook newsfeeds soon, following the company’s decision to develop an algorithm to detect and reduce newsfeed clickbait posts. Most of the times these are just disguised ads or news running exaggerated or misleading titles with no connection to the actual content, specifically designed to generate as much traffic as possible.
Facebook’s approach is designed to encourage meaningful and engaging content aimed at generating organic interactions between network users. However, this is an initiative already announced two years ago, the novelty this time being the introduction of new factors in the algorithm, besides the number of clicks recorded by such postings, user interaction with pages posting this type of content or the time users spend on these sites following clicking on the posts. In an attempt to promote meaningful and relevant content for users, Facebook has also included detection and analysis of clickbait posts in its algorithm, which will no longer allow them to generate the same impressions or appear high in users’ newsfeeds.
But what happens to brands already using such tactics to promote their campaigns, products or services? Facebook comes to their rescue with a recently published guide on how to create relevant and effective content that drives reach and referrals while avoiding manipulative and misleading clickbait posts. Although the frequent changes in Facebook’s EdgeRank have influenced brand pages’ relevance and organic reach, the social network still encourages brand promotion, but through value-added content that will inform, educate and entertain.
This further determines a shift in the debate surrounding content creation, instead of only discussing the form under which it is being disseminated to users. A battle has been going on for quite a while now between the full-of-hot-air content devoid of real value aimed at grabbing people’s attentions and clicks - in an attempt to develop brands based on the numbers and figures reporting - and the high-quality content, with intrinsic value to consumers.
Brands need to tell a story the audience can identify and resonate with, they need to initiate an honest conversation with their consumers to stay relevant. That does not mean online banners or ad-sponsored post must go all of a sudden. Nevertheless, expectations and communication tactics must be reviewed and aligned in order to reach the best outcomes both in case specific situations and long term.
Judging by the evolution of digital and social consumption of information, it becomes more and more clear that, in order to have a strong impact, brands will need to deliver quality content, relevant to their audiences, and measure success in organic interactions with their consumers. They will need to generate confidence in the brand, instead of chasing clicks and pursuing artificially-created referrals.
In a heavily digitized and continuously evolving world, communication must adapt to the latest trends to stay relevant and the frequent changes in the Facebook algorithms are just another confirmation of this fact. However, we must not lose sight of the essential role of communication, that to inform, irrespective of the channel used or the audience.