Meta Warns Against Using Watchbait

Search marketers and publishers have heard of clickbait, but what about watchbait?

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, defines it as “withholding key information, sensationalizing content, or misleading viewers about the true nature of the video.”

Meta claims people can use these tactics in any part of the post or video -- including the text, thumbnail, or content of the video. Just like clickbait, it is used to lure or bait people into watching the full video.

Facebook has tried to eliminate clickbait in the Feed. Now Meta warns marketers to avoid what they call watchbait.

“We encourage publishers to avoid watchbait tactics and instead generate distribution with original, authentic behavior and high-quality videos,” Meta writes in a blog post.

Based on the preferences or users and “the baity nature of watchbait videos,” Meta uses a system that detects watchbait across a video post, and if detected, reduces its distribution.



These types of videos typically are not recommended to viewers and/or may receive limited ranking. Repeatedly posting watchbait videos may result in the page’s overall distribution being reduced.

Meta provides several examples:

  • His Reaction Was Priceless!!
  • And then his GF did this!!!
  • Absolutely mind-blowing details in the latest recipe from Kai!
  • Your bestie just sent a crazy message to your girlfriend!
  • SHOCKING weather phenomenon could explode your plans!!!

Suggestions on making the video posts informative and that set accurate expectations include:

  • Using informative headlines and captions to give people a clear understanding of the video
  • Using thumbnails that are actual clips from the video content and not photoshopped or cropped images that don’t appear in the posted video
  • Adding the creator’s voice to help drive genuine conversation. This helps establish originality and authenticity in your content and enables people to decide how they want to spend their time with your post.

Meta for Business has an entire section that explains explaining watchbait.


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