According to Wikipedia, clickbait is defined as a text or thumbnail link that is designed to entice users to follow that link and read view, or listen to the linked piece of online content. Facebook, Google, and all other social media platforms have tried to reign in clickbait because of the harm it does to their networks and to the community at large.
The largest search engine rolls out a number of updates, after a few months designed to sift through clickbait, and subsequently punishes the pages and websites associated with clickbait titles sending them deep into the deep web oblivion.
The social media giant unveiled a new algorithm update, last year, which finds clickbait being posted by companies, and then prevents these same posts from showing up in users’ News Feeds.
Although these companies try to stop them, there is a necessity for this kind of content in the digital media of today. In the past, there were magazines and newspapers which used to have crazy titles that made our heads turn and get our attention. Likewise, clickbait articles do the same thing.
The reason they are still relevant in 2019 is that the average internet user has a very short attention span and s/he has become numb to advertisements (using ad blockers and banner blindness). Also, the user doesn’t respond to email newsletters as they did before. As a result, digital marketers have to come up with a way of grabbing the attention of the user in order to deliver a message.
Here is how they work
In a recent study that was done, around 70,000 headlines were deemed to be polarizing. The headlines seem to pander to one group and at the same time making another group very angry. This is commonly seen in political discourses. They would say politician A is a fool for doing x, y, and z, the people who are against politician A will be glad to read that article. The people who are for him or her would also read the same article to see how their candidate is being attacked.
Clickbait articles normally have strong headlines and they make empty promises that when you click on them you will find the information you are looking for. Most of the time when the links are clicked, the information that is presented has nothing to do with the title. In some instances, you will find a close resemblance to what is being talked about but the connection is lost at best. For example when you are a headline which says “Earn $100 as passive income” when you click on the link you are directed to a page that has scant information about affiliate marketing.
Headlines are emotional
The people who write clickbait articles know that when a person sees the headline they will automatically know it’s a clickbait link. One way to get around this hitch is to come up with headlines that appeal to people’s emotions and curiosity rather than intellect. For example headlines like:
“This man filled his washing machine with puppies and carpet tacks. What happens next is horrific . . . ”
Fiction vs Truth
Everyone knows that clickbait articles are mostly lies but they still click on them. The reason for this is because the click bait articles have an element of truth in them that makes them believable. The headline could start out describing an actual fact but it tails off to something quite different. A good example of this is
“This guy rear-mounted a jet engine to his El Camino. You’ll never guess what they peeled him off of . . .
However much we hate clickbait, they do serve a function. Many websites like BuzzFeed make hundreds of millions of dollars using clickbait. As a digital marketer, caution should be taken when creating clickbait articles
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