Updated June 1, 2023
What is Clickbait?
I know you must be surprised after coming across the word clickbait, but you will be amazed to understand its meaning. Any content on the internet whose main and exclusive motive is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page is known as Clickbait. It is a medium to entice users to read, view, and listen to a linked piece of online content. Using clickbait headlines is often the only method for many organizations to exploit the curiosity gap. It leads to the content of dubious value or content. These are attention-grabbing headlines used for Web or mobile content to lure readers into clicking on usually uninteresting content. Many websites, organizations, news journals, and much more use clickbait as a mechanism or profit tool to gain popularity via higher click-through rates.
A highly attractive headline with a hyperlink specifies a website that, when clicked, presents content that is significantly less interesting or appealing than the headline suggests. It is the only way to increase the number of views to a particular Web page, website, or link portal. More briefly, I am explaining clickbait through an example,
Let us consider any non-clickbait headline, say – “See how this celebrity lost 10 pounds last month”. Then, the same headline, when written as a clickbait headline, can be redesigned and written in the following way :
- Celebrity weight loss secrets are finally revealed!
- You’ll never believe how much weight this celebrity lost in a month!
- Shocking details of this celebrity’s latest diet!
You must have nearly understood the curiosity gap clickbait headlines create when users see that link. So It is essentially baited that websites place for users or visitors. It is the most profitable medium for social media marketing and news marketing. They allure users with their lucrative headlines to view uninteresting content, which the client pays off.
Why is Clickbait Used?
Having explained what clickbait is, I now want to delve into why organizations use it and why it holds such importance. So here are the reasons associated with this :
- It is self-explanatory
- Baiting And Switching is too easy to manipulate visitors or users
- Standing and Not Really Delivering the desired output
- Making Empty Promises
- Baiting the Hook stands as one of the most promising clickbait tools in use today. Using this tool, you can write clickbait headlines simply combining half an actual idea with a generic provocation. So, for example, you can consider the following:
- “Do just this one thing, and you will never have to go to the bathroom ever again . . .”
- “You wouldn’t recognize these entirely anonymous people whom you’ve never heard of now…”
- “Drinking these household cleaning fluids with club soda could be deadly. #8 will shock you . . .”
- “This guy rear-mounted a jet engine to his El Camino. You’ll never guess what they peeled him off of . . .
- “This man filled his washing machine with puppies and carpet tacks. What happens next is horrific . . .”
- Redirection between Truth vs Fiction
- Not Clickbait but Definitely “Clickbait-y”
Now I can assume that you must have understood both the real meaning of clickbait. Regrettably, the widespread use of it has escalated into a trend where people use it excessively, baiting visitors with attractive headlines to uninteresting articles, links, or websites.
Clickbait headlines are the changing face of online journalism, publishers, social media, and digital marketing. So let us discover some psychology behind it:
- Affective and Suspenseful Language
- Empty or Unresolved Pronouns
- Overuse of Numerals
- Action Words
- Reverse Narratives
- Incongruent Images with Emotional Load
Not only these publishers are using 5 tactics of clickbait psychology ethically to lure visitors who are:
- Use Clickbait-Style Content Humorously
- Use Clickbait Features in Moderation
- Make Sure You Have Variety in Your Content
- Use Clickbait Tactics to Link to Other Relevant Articles on Your Site
- BuzzFeed Headline Tricks to Steal
Pros and Cons
Most people firmly state that clickbait tactics cause more harm than good, thus necessitating a discussion on both the pros and cons of clickbait. Coming to the pros or benefits of it are :
- More Pageviews
- Higher Potential for Social Shares
- Increased Brand Awareness
Whereas the cons or dark side of it are :
- Misleading Clickbait Damages Brands and Erodes Trust
- Pageviews Aren’t Even That Important – under this comes factors which are :
- Total Attention on Site
- Total Attention per Piece
- Sensationalism Is Getting Old
Content marketing is all about generating traffic. If you can’t attract or lure visitors to your site, your chances of online success are virtually non-existent. But using clickbait is also very dangerous or bad for us; it is so because :
- Web page bounce rate increases which decreases your website rating
- It can be an invitation to fake news so people might not see that
- A new algorithm update can mismanage everything.
- Updation of the website or web portal decreases.
Here are the 7 ways to analyze it:
- Was the title a list?
- Did the title include a reference to “You,” “I,” or a personal storytelling element?
- Was there an animal mentioned?
- Did the topic receive recent media attention, or was it a news piece?
- Was there a pop culture or food culture reference?
- Did the title mention an unknown or novel concept?
- Was there an element of shock or excitement?
So, at last, I would like to say that we must be very active in analyzing whether clicking a clickbait article will benefit us or will be a degradable aspect for us in the present and future. The last line I would like to add is that we should be able to differentiate between a good or a lousy clickbait headline.
We hope that this EDUCBA information on “What is Clickbait” was beneficial to you. You can view EDUCBA’s recommended articles for more information,