Engagement bait: your silent enemy on Facebook

All content creators want to increase engagement levels with our social media followers. However, the practice known as “engagement bait” is penalized by the most important social network in the world: Facebook .

The use of such techniques can be accidental or unintentional; Despite this, Facebook’s algorithm detects them and applies sanctions on the scope of the publications. Let’s see how!

In this sense, your organic strategy or ad campaign may not be having the result you expected. One possible reason is that your publications have content designed with engagement baiting. 

But don’t worry, Facebook has designed a guide on how your News Feed works to guide you on how posts should be. Are you with me

What is bait engagement?

Engagement bait (lure of interaction) is a kind of call to action applied in social networks like in Blue world City. It could be considered as a “call to interaction “. This technique consists of using words or phrases that encourage users to interact in some way with the publications. For example, some of the phrases that would fall into this category of decoys are:

  • Like …
  • I love …
  • Follow me …
  • Follow…
  • Share …
  • Comment …
  • Label…
  • Subscribe …
  • Vote for…

Here you can see more examples of engagement baiting .

Sometimes, the tone of these phrases is tax, creating the feeling that orders are being given to users. However, accompanying these phrases with words of cordiality such as “please” or “thank you” does not reduce the bait engagement condition.

Types of engagement bait on Facebook

In the Facebook ecosystem there are five types of bait engagement . Each of these categories is born from the types of interactions that can be generated on the platform. Therefore, it is expected that the more functionalities incorporated into this social network, the more the rankings of engagement baiting will increase.

At the moment, the five types of interaction decoys on Facebook are :

  1. Tag bait
  2. Comment bait.
  3. Vote bait
  4. React bait
  5. Share bait

Tag baiting

engagement bait tag baiting

Source: Facebook Newsroom

The baiting tag occurs when users are asked to tag other users in a post. It is a very common practice, especially in contests that use phrases such as “Tag two friends and you will be participating in …”.

The problem with this bait engagement is that it prevents real and natural conversations from being generated in the publications. On the contrary, the bait tag only encourages a very long list of tagged profiles of Capital Smart City Islamabad to appear in the comments, none generating value conversation. 

Comment baiting

engagement bait comment baiting

Source: Facebook Newsroom

Comment baiting consists of asking users to comment on a post . In principle it may seem a method that encourages conversations, but it is not. This technique is usually used in such incipient ways as “Comment the letter by letter the name of the brand and you will be participating in …”.

With these types of interaction decoys, real conversations are practically non-existent . The comment bait promotes the generation of texts without any value for the users or for the brands themselves.

React baiting

engagement bait react baiting

Source: Facebook Newsroom

In 2016, Facebook incorporated the functionality of the “reactions”. Some complements of the traditional I like (like)  through which users can express their emotions regarding a content. The currently available reactions are:

  • I love (Love)
  • I have fun (Haha)
  • It amazes me (Wow)
  • It saddens me (Sad)
  • It makes me angry (Angry)
engagement bait facebook reactions

Thus, react baiting is the practice of asking users to use these reactions (or like) in a publication. For example, through phrases such as “Da like to participate in …” or “Dale I love if you like the …”.

In these cases, the bait engagement of the reactions causes the real sense by which they were designed to be lost . This is because the react bait encourages the improper use of these options, which should serve to show sincere reactions about a content.

Vote baiting

engagement bait vote baiting

Source: Facebook Newsroom

The vote baiting is a submodality of the rea baiting. This is to design a content especially to encourage users to vote through reactions .

For example, in a publication that has the image of a hamburger and a pizza, the vote bait would be a text like “Give it a thumbs up if you like hamburgers or I love it if you prefer pizzas.”

This type of interaction decoy, like the react bait, encourages an unnatural use of reactions . With this, the publications are saturated with forced interactions that do not express the true emotion of the users about the contents.

Share baiting

engagement bait share baiting

Source: Facebook Newsroom

Finally, the share baiting is the request that is made to users to share a content . For example, by using expressions such as “Help me share my page” or “Share this post if you want to get …”.

The use of this bait engagement generates an uncontrolled proliferation of shared publications that do not add any value. As a result of the share bait, many users see their News Feeds saturated with items shared by their friends because of contests and promotions.

Why did interaction decoys work well on Facebook? 

On Facebook, one of its main News Feed values ​​is “authentic communication . ” This means that the algorithm prioritizes the appearance in the news section of the users those contents that are relevant and that generate conversations .

Understanding this, the bait engagement techniques were created as a way to “cheat” the Facebook algorithm . This deception is produced by encouraging a series of interactions to “demonstrate” to the algorithm that a certain publication is relevant and, therefore, deserves to appear in the News Feed.

For a long time, engagement baiting proved to have very good results. In effect, the platform overvalued those publications with high levels of interaction, even when they were unnatural interactions. With this, many people and brands achieved spectacular reach with their contents.

Why and how does Facebook currently penalize engagement bait?

Over the years, Facebook noted that the use of interaction decoys was affecting the quality of the publications featured in the News Feed . Therefore, the efforts of the social network have focused on updating the algorithm to avoid these bad practices and to promote sincere and natural interactions.

In this context, Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Head of News Feed, notes :

“Today we use signals such as the number of people who react, comment or share posts to determine where they appear in the news section.

With this update, we will also give priority to publications that trigger conversations and meaningful interactions between people. ”

Thus, the team behind this social network analyzed hundreds of thousands of publications to identify the characteristics of engagement baiting . These publications were used to train the algorithm with machine learning models so that it could detect bait engagement on a massive scale and automatically.

In this way, the contents that have interaction decoys are penalized by automatically relegating them from the news section.

Currently, the platform detects engagement baiting in 23 languages . In order to update the algorithm, they are the following:

  1. English.
  2. Spanish, Arabic, French, Italian, German and Portuguese.
  3. Mandarin, Hindu, Indonesian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Thai and Turkish.
  4. Bengali, Bulgarian, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Malay, Polish and Romanian.

How to succeed on Facebook and avoid engagement baiting?

Facebook becomes increasingly rigorous in its fight against baiting engagement. In fact, its algorithm is already so powerful that it can detect bait engagement in the audios of videos . An impressive feat that makes us wonder what will come next …

The answer will undoubtedly not be encouraging for those content creators who do not know this topic or who prefer to use bad practices.

As we know that you are not one of them, our main recommendation for you is that you focus on generating interesting content and that it adds value to your followers. Facebook will reward you in scope if it detects that your posts are capable of generating natural conversations and reactions.

Therefore, in InboundCycle we have created the following guide to help you create an effective social media marketing plan in just 7 steps.

Still have doubts about bait engagement? Share it in the comments section so we can resolve it. Who starts?