Facebook cracks down ‘clickbait’ ads

Oct 22, 2018 | Content marketing, Facebook marketing

Facebook is expanding its efforts to demote low quality ads on its social network, with a new scheme to penalise any ads containing sensationalised language or headlines that withhold information.

The platform will more strictly enforce restrictions on ads with low-quality and disruptive content, including those with “spammy content” that asks users to engage with it by requesting likes, comments and shares.

It will also be cracking down on ads that purposefully withhold information to encourage people to click on them to understand the full scope, and ads that contain exaggerated headlines or bring about a reaction from people but fail to deliver.

Ads with low-quality characteristics will have reduced distribution in the Facebook ad auction or will not be approved.

The move applies to all advertisers, but ads related to media, entertainment, politics and issues will be impacted more, according to Facebook.

Advertisers with multiple ads flagged because of low-quality characteristics may see the performance of all of their ads impacted.

Three key types of ads were listed by Facebook:
Ads that withhold information. See the examples shown above. Any Facebook ads that include sensationalized or exaggerated headlines to generate a reaction, but fail to deliver the anticipated response on the landing page will also be demoted or disallowed.


Engagement bait ads. Another type of advertisement that will be penalized is any ad that withholds information to get people to click on a link to understand the full meaning of the post.

Advertising headlines like “You won’t believe what happened next” or “You’ll be shocked when you see the results” are prime examples of this type of clickbait.

Ads with sensationalized language. Facebook says advertisers trying to promote ads with any of these attributes should expect to see lowered distribution in ad auctions. Ads flagged for low quality content may also be disapproved.


Facebook says this heightened enforcement applies to all advertisers, but media, entertainment, political and issue ads may be impacted more as these are ad categories more likely to use such methods.Advertisers with multiple ads flagged for low quality content may see all of their campaigns impacted — meaning if Facebook identifies an advertiser habitually trying to post low quality ads, all of that advertiser’s campaigns may be penalised.

These latest updates are an extension of Facebook’s 2014 move to fight clickbait headlines. The company has since made improvements to cut back on the amount of spammy content in the News Feed.

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