...Zynga was trying to be clever, but its strategists learned two things the hard way. One is that people will quickly get sick of a repetitive and formulaic call to action. The other is that it’s not wise to rely exclusively on a third-party platform -- especially a free one -- as a channel to market.
And now BuzzFeed is learning this lesson the hard way, along with similar sites like Upworthy and ViralNova. These companies, as my MediaPost colleague Jamie Tedford reported earlier this week, are about to penalized by changes to Facebook’s algorithm. Facebook is aiming to “weed out stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see,” by reducing “click-baiting headlines.”
“ ‘Click-baiting’,” said Facebook’s blog post, “is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed. However, when we asked people in an initial survey what type of content they preferred to see in their News Feeds, 80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.”
Of course they do. People will quickly get sick of a repetitive and formulaic call to action. And it’s unwise to rely exclusively on a third-party platform -- especially a free one -- as a channel to market....