Facebook Update 2018: 'The Facebook Apocalypse'

Last night while you were sleeping, social media marketers around the world were losing their dang minds.

Now, I want to share it with you.

Facebook is Fighting 'Enagement Bait' in 2018 - What to Do About It - Facebook Marketing - Social Media Marketing - sweatywisdom.com

Here’s what’s going on with the new changes to the Facebook algorithm.

Maybe you’ve seen links about this or a little bit of panicky backlash on social media within the past week or so. Facebook recently announced that they are unrolling some algorithmic updates to prevent engagement baiting and the social media world went into uproar.



1. What is engagement baiting?

Basically, it’s telling people exactly what to do (“like if you agree, comment / share if…”) in hopes that they’ll do it.

”Facebook gives a handful of examples to illustrate what it means by “engagement baiting,” including “vote baiting,” “react baiting,” and “share baiting.” These include posts requesting you to “Like this if you’re an Aries,” or “Share with 10 friends for a chance to win a new convertible.”
— venturebeat.com
 Examples of 'Engagement Baiting'

Examples of 'Engagement Baiting'

This can be used for purposes like giveaways. Many companies see great success with asking people to "tag two friends in the comments for a chance to win” their giveaway. In the past, it's worked amazingly well.

For example, one of my clients posted a giveaway the week before Christmas, and had over 200 comments and over 13 shares within 30 minutes of posting. This is on a business page that they hadn’t updated or posted to in three months.

Pretty fantastic results, right? This won't be the case anymore in a week or so.

2. So WTF, Facebook?

The deal is this: Facebook is trying to crack down on fake engagement (meaning a reaction that isn’t completely genuine and at will of the user). 

So, if you are voting for your favorite TV show by choosing the “Haha” reaction, you aren’t actually laughing at that content, you’re doing a provoked response to answer a question asked by the company. Facebook doesn’t like this because they don’t know how to take it. They’re not getting any additional data on what you actually think it’s funny when you drop a “Haha” on an image that’s telling you to do so. Make sense?

It all comes down to the company’s desire to promote higher-quality “authentic” content. Engagement baiting is often used as a means to game Facebook’s algorithms — if people are liking, commenting, or sharing a post, Facebook uses this as a signal that the post is organically popular and may automatically show the posts to even more users as a result. However, in these cases, users may simply have reacted to a post because they were asked to, without actually considering whether the post was worth engaging with — and this is the scenario that Facebook is looking to prevent
— venturebeat.com

3. How do we prevent getting our posts hidden and keep engagement up?


You can still include (and definitely should be including) calls-to-action on each post. You can genuinely ask a question to your audience and have them respond to it in the comments. There’s nothing wrong with provoking a response if it’s genuine. However, stay away from phrases like "tag a friend in the comments" or “say yes in the comments if _______”.

As with all Facebook and Instagram algorithmic updates, we can’t really know exactly how they’re going to work until they’re rolled out and in play. So I’ll be keeping a close eye on both my business and my clients business accounts over the next month or so and report back to you.

How will these changes affect your company? Do you have any questions about engagement baiting? Let’s start a conversation in the comments!


Chris Emmer

Grand Rapids, MI

Graphic Designer / Branding and Social Media Strategist / Yoga + Meditation Guide / Your New BFF.

West Michigan based, small business + wellness obsessed.