Clickbait EXPLAINED: This blog may change your life!

Written by Ben Leach on

HeX investigates the ins and outs of clickbait and whether using clickbait is a good strategy for businesses to use or not.

Over the last ten years, a new type of content marketing has come to fruition, a way of attracting the masses. Lovingly referred to as clickbait – it has completely overhauled the way that content is shared online.

But what can content writers and marketers learn from it, and why is there such love/hatred for it?

What is clickbait?

By now, most people should be familiar with the art of clickbait. If not, expect to see headlines like these ones:

And, yes, those are 100% real articles. Hopefully, you’re now understanding how ‘clickbaited’ the world has become.

Does it create a curiosity gap

All clickbait articles appeal to the same psychological process – whether they’re subtle or not, us humans are curious creatures and if we are intrigued by an article, no matter how much we might think it’s fake – we’ll still read it.

Think of it as one of those large red buttons that say ‘DO NOT PRESS’ – no one wants to press it, no one should press it…but it’s that curiosity of ‘what happens if I press this button’ that makes us press it. This is the same concept as clickbait – people are fearful of missing out on information – so they’ll click the article.

Are clicks the goal?

Anyone not wanting to be guilty of clickbait should provide all of the relevant information in the heading and synopsis. If someone can get all the information they need to know about the article, without reading it, then the only ones who do click, are those who have a genuine interest (yes, judging by this blog we’re hypocrites).

But if the goal is to measure clicks – or perhaps, your analytic strategy is to measure impressions rather than anything else, then clickbait is a great form of getting those clicks and impressions.

Many clickbait intensive websites, like the ones we took the article snippets from above, employ an impression-based advertising strategy, i.e their advertisers will pay a cost per 1,000 impressions. This means that clickbait literally pays. The more people that click, the more money the website can charge the advertisers.

Is clickbait good, and should it be used?

There are many arguments for and against clickbait. However, the strongest argument that goes for clickbait is that the majority of social sharing sites (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc) are all set up to encourage clickbait-type headlines.

The fact is, is that marketers want their headline to stand out from the crowd of similar articles. But, to get clicks and shares, a sensationalist approach is perhaps not the way to go.

If, for example, you’re writing an industry-specific guide, like a guide for good blog headlines you may want to call it – ‘The Best Guide for Making Your Blog Headlines Stand Out’. This is a form of clickbait, but, with all intent and purpose, it does what it says in the title – even if it isn’t ‘the best’.

It’s an issue that has no definitive answer, there is no solid yes or no as to whether clickbait is OK as it largely depends on how you use it. Good clickbait is when your title/headline, image/thumbnail are provocative and enticing, yet true to the content of the article or video.

Concluding

Despite the contrasting arguments, we can all agree on the one principle: Create the great, accurate headlines that entice people to click, and, when they do click, make sure that they aren’t disappointed! And that is click-worthy!

Still unsure if social media is for you?

We get it, as a business, all this clickbait business on social media can be annoying and daunting, we can explain why it might be a great addition to your business’ marketing mix:

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