There’s always one isn’t there? There’s always someone who has to ruin the party. In the case of digital marketing, there’s a heap of them – people who seek to exploit every loophole and trick to get you to click-through, increasing their metrics.
Google’s been combating such schemes for years, and Facebook had to introduce the News Feed algorithm to reduce the reach of spam and junk content. But still, there are always more cropping up.
And you can’t blame them, really. Clicks = $ in many cases, so it makes sense that some will try anything to get your attention.
Here are four particularly interesting digital marketing tricks, worthy of note for their approach – though equally, worthy of avoidance in your marketing plan.
1. Static video
Video content generates better response than any other on Facebook, and is growing on all social platforms, so it makes sense for all businesses to be considering how they can tap into video themselves.
But some have found a trick on Facebook, which gives them the reach advantage of video, without actually being video content.
This is a clip from the Facebook Page Lilyon Memes, which has over 500,000 Likes. As you can see, what Lilyon does is they post a static image, with very basic video elements overlaid, then post it as a video - giving them the reach benefits of both the meme itself and a video post.
Well, kind of. Facebook has already announced that they’re looking to crack down on misuses of video, under which this type of content would likely fall, though their focus has been on static image Facebook Live content, not general video posts. Still, you’d think at some point this will come under Facebook’s microscope – and if it does, and you’re driving a significant amount of traffic from Facebook, that could be a big problem for your business.
2. Fake live videos
Speaking of Facebook’s crackdown, as noted, their main focus has been on this culprit – Pages posting live videos with static images, normally with Reactions polls, or videos they purport to be live, but which are actually pre-recorded content.
Part of the problem with the static image posts has been that they’ve proven popular – as we’ve reported previously, five of the top ten Facebook Live streams in 2016 were these type of static image posts.
But still, they’re not really what live-streaming was intended for, so Facebook rolled out a News Feed algorithm tweak in August which automatically detect and restrict the reach of static images posted as video content. So, probably not a good idea.
Posting pre-recorded videos and presenting them as live is a bit more clear-cut, and Facebook has started to take action, removing these false live posts as they come up (and are reported).
As Facebook continues to expand their push into video, you can expect them to take more action against such violations.
This is one of the more interesting click-luring tactics I’ve seen in recent times.
Image via Imgur
See that hair on the screen? That’s actually part of the ad – in order to get the hair off, what are you gonna’ do? You’ll swipe up, which will take you through to the next stage of the ad.
It’s an interesting tactic, but you’d think it would prove mostly ineffective. It’s possible that it could inflate your metrics somewhat, but you’d also think that the people accidentally swiping through are not likely to be actual, interested buyers – and are instead simply annoyed by the trick.
I don’t see any real benefit in using this one. Unless you’re an ad agency being measured on click-throughs only…
4. Naming conventions
And this last one is pretty flat – but somewhat clever. At least a little bit.
Image via Reddit
The name of this YouTube Channel is ’14,999,999 Views’, though the video, as you can see, has only been viewed a fraction of that figure. But on first glance, you probably thought this video was far more popular than it is, which may have made you more inclined to click.
It’s a trick you’d think wouldn’t have a long-lasting effect – people would wise up to it fast. But still an interesting use of naming conventions to gather a few more taps.
As noted, none of these ‘tactics’ is recommended in any way, as all will no doubt be subject to their own form of punishment from each respective platform. But they’re interesting – it’s interesting to see how people are coming up with ways to cheat the system and win.
But the risks are significant – and the long term brand impacts are likely going to be negative.