We’ve all seen them and we’ve all fell for them – clickbait titles have mastered the knack of drawing us in.
But what is it about them makes articles and web pages irresistible?
It’s definitely a question that many digital marketers have asked themselves as they dedicate their job to finding ways to engage audiences and funnel clicks and views their way.
Although widely used across the web, clickbait has earned a ‘Marmite’ representation amongst both content creators and the audience it is made for. This comes from clickbait’s tendency to be unreliable as where content is made to engage and inform, clickbait ‘[tricks] people into consuming your content by making them believe it will be better than what it really is.’ And this kind of thinking is probably spurred on by typically audacious clickbait titles like;
‘A Lion Got Into Their Kitchen – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!’
‘This Kid Ate A Crisps Every Day Since He Was Born – This Is What He Looks Like Now!’
‘This Video Of A Cat Will Have You Crying In Seconds!’
And whereas most of us have just learned to look and ‘tut’ at how ridiculous they are, we can’t help but admit that there is something inside of us itching to see what all the fuss is about. And it’s this curiosity that companies like Buzzfeed have tapped into and use to achieve their 10m unique users in a single day.
But why are we so inclined to know what all the fuss is about?
As stated previously, one of the main reasons why clickbait always gets us clicking is our instinctive, curious behaviour as online consumers. We can’t just let something that seems so ridiculous yet so intriguing pass without further investigation!
Many examples of clickbait involve titles such as ‘You’ll Never Guess…’ or ‘2 out of 3 People Can’t Do This’ or ‘This’ll Have You Laughing In Seconds’. And as an online consumer who constantly feels secure and reassured when the power is in their hands, we can’t help but want to defy what the internet is trying to tell us. So we click and read, just to see if we can prove the title wrong.
For those of us who see straight past the clickbait, we still click due to our need to know the true content that lies behind the sensationalised title. We need to know what content is worth having such a title and why the author desperate for us to read it.
Many clickbait titles involve hinting at ‘exclusive’ news surround trending topics and often they can elude to something ‘scandalous’ or ‘controversial’.
As a society saturated by media, we don’t enjoy being involved in drama but we certainly love watching it unfold. So of course, when a headline hints at some juicy gossip that either surrounds celebrity news or even the latest in your preferred industry – we have no choice but to click!
Will you be using clickbait?
We’re not encouraging those looking for the next marketing hack to start littering their web content with ludicrous, unbelievable headlines just to get people clicking. But what we are urging you to do is recognise the attributes of a clickbait title and what makes them so effective so you can start weaving it into your own strategy so you can start seeing the traffic flowing in.