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Facebook News Feed Update: “Engagement Bait” Will See Reduced Reach

We knew it would happen sooner or later – and it seems that Facebook decided to make the change “sooner.” Today, Facebook announced that it will begin reducing the distribution of posts in the News Feed that encourage people to take specific actions to boost engagement – it’s what they call “Engagement Bait.” The change is expected to roll out in the next few weeks.

What’s “engagement bait?”

According to Facebook,¬†posts that ask people to vote with emojis, like a post, share a post, or tag a friend can be considered “engagement bait.”

To help us foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed. – Facebook Newsroom

Courtesy: Facebook

What does this mean for news organizations? Among other things, Pages that have gotten hooked on reaction polls are expected to see a drop in reach in the coming weeks.

What’s NOT engagement bait?

Facebook says that posts asking for help or recommendations, fundraising for a cause, and helping to share a missing child report will not be impacted by this algorithm change. So if you’re sharing content from local law enforcement to help find a missing person, go ahead and add “please share.”

What should I do?

Don’t panic! As always, content is king – so make sure you give your fans something meaningful, accurate and authentic, and the reactions will come in naturally. If you’ve been using “engagement bait” to boost your engagement, the honeymoon is over. It’s time to get back to basics.

DO:

  • Ask open-ended questions to encourage answers in the comments.
  • Post about “news you can use” – consumer information, helpful tips, important traffic and weather updates. Things your audience will naturally want to share.
  • Post emotional, authentic content.
  • Use Facebook Live to build a direct connection with fans.

DON’T:

  • Ask for a like, comment or share (this has been the case for a while).
  • Ask fans to use a reaction to vote for an option.
  • Ask fans to tag a friend.

Our Client Strategy team is always here to help make sure your content shines. Have questions? Let us know.

 

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Sarah Loyd

Director of Client Strategy
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