15th April 2015

Time’s Up for Like-Baiting and Spam Sharing

There’s a certain breed of Facebook post which we’ve all seen that drive us bonkers every time we do. They’re the posts created by brands that have taken the rules of Facebook a little too literally: the ones that are obsessed with likes and shares.

For example, how many times have you seen one of the below, in one form or another? (And screamed inside?)

19.4 a

19.4 b


19.4 c


I must see at least ten every day.

To be fair, for many companies it may seem that the easiest way to achieve KPIs around reach, interactions and clickthroughs is through posting desperately annoying calls for engagement. Now, don’t get me wrong, achieving a high engagement rate is great BUT only if the reason for engaging is genuine.

For example, the likes and shares and so on that these pages inevitably receive are usually from users who are looking for some split-second amusement. These users will see the cute image of a bunny versus the image of a parasite and their train of thought will go something like this:

“Aw! Cute.”

“Ew. Gross”

“I like cute.”


“Oh em gee, Harry from school is married! Yuck, look at that wedding dress…”

And they won’t think of that picture again, never mind who posted it. This is because the content has no real value to the user and there is no incentive to explore it further. On the other hand, a post from a company that reveals some exciting information about a new product will likely see less interaction rates, but those that do choose to spend time liking, commenting or sharing are genuinely enthused by the product and (here is the crucial point) are therefore much more likely to either buy it or act as a brand advocate.

It is a fact that these sincere engagements from prized audiences are harder to achieve than those gained from like-baiting (but that’s how it should be). However, it is still frustrating to see all these attention-seeking posts in timelines – until now..!

Yes, it’s true, the irritating pages such as,  ‘I know how it feels to be in love with someone who doesn’t know I exist <3’ and ‘Like if you wish cancer was dead’ will now see their posts penalised by Facebook’s latest algorithm update that aims to get rid of like-baiting. Basically, what this means is that any posts that appear to be asking users to take an action will rank lower than other content, making them less likely to appear in timelines.

I don’t know about you, but I LIKE that.

By Jess Matthewman, B2B digital strategist