Blogging has matured from a nascent personal online journal to full-blown pseudo-journalism, so much so that the 9th Circuit Court says bloggers are journalists; because many bloggers offer high-quality content that is untainted by a periodical’s biases. According to Social Times, consumers trust content marketing (blogs) more than regular news sources; except when they know it’s nothing but marketing. Moreover, journalists and the media scour websites and blogs for news sources and stories (read, Journalists Want Your Blog!) So why is Facebook trying to shut up the bloggers, unless they’re willing to pay for advertising? That’s right, Facebook wants to use their bully pulpit to force businesses to buy advertising.
According to Tech Hive, in an article titled, You’ll never believe how Facebook plans to fight Click-Bait, states that headlines written to attract will be penalized (paraphrasing). While some people use this tactic to drive traffic to their websites that offer no valuable content (just to make a sale), let me ask you this question. What are bloggers writing blogs for, for their health? No! To drive traffic to their websites! Consequently, it also says in the article that no mention was made in their announcement that this will apply to those paying for advertising on Facebook.
First, as David Ogilvy (founder of Ogilvy and Mather, one of the world’s most prestigious advertising agencies) once said, “If I have nine days to work on an advertisement, I spend eight days on the headline and one on the ad.” Now why would he do that if not to come up with the best, most alluring headline? Guess what, journalists (and bloggers who know what they’re doing) do the same exact thing. What good is an article that does not attract a reader? So the implication is that legitimate articles offering valuable content will also be penalized. After all, 100% of the people who click on an article, whether from an online newspaper or blog, do not stay and read it. This is why a 50% bounce rate on Google Analytics is considered pretty good (read, What does Your Bounce Rate Say about Your Website?).
While Facebook claims it’s to make sure quality is being delivered, unlike Google+ who has created a quality-based infrastructure and algorithm, it seems that this is more a manipulation to garner more advertising revenue. If it were about quality, why won’t they demand the same standards of their advertisers? It’s economics 101: punish what you don’t want; reward what you do want. If you want more advertising revenue, let the people know you can use your successful click-bait if you are willing to pay for advertising. However, no tickey, no laundry. You don’t pay, we don’t play.
Now don’t get me wrong. I hate the spammy click-bait as well; but to come up with an algorithm that will hurt posters of content with headlines written to do what a headline is designed to do, pull, without looking at the content source to see if it’s garbage or quality content is just another attempt to minimize the returns they already watered down with their last algorithm change (read Is Facebook still relevant for social-media marketing?)
While every social-media campaign I’ve ever managed, to include my own, has garnered little to no leads from Facebook—LinkedIn is the lead winner, followed by Twitter and then Google+—one has to be on Facebook because it’s the 800 lbs. gorilla of social media. While I make no sales on it, to hinder my ability to share high-quality content that does create awareness and branding, so I will spend money—really chaps my hide. And trying to paint it like you’re doing me a favor is the height of hubris and insult.
Maybe the teenagers are wiser than we give them credit for; after all, they’re leaving Facebook in high numbers. What does the Bible say about truth coming from the mouth of babes?