If you usually don’t read my blog, but clicked into today’s title with a hint of curiosity and wondering what happened, congratulations, you’ve just been click-baited
Before we move forward, thank you for your concern. All is fine, except for the fact that my 1+ year old daughter is turning into a nocturnal being and I’m not getting enough sleep. I just wanted to elaborate a little on click-baiting today.
So what’s a click-bait?
Clickbait is 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. Click-bait headlines typically aim to exploit the “curiosity gap”, providing just enough information to make readers of news websites curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked contentWikipedia, the reason we all passed college
Click baiting is becoming more and more common nowadays. Just yesterday morning, I saw a news article from a legit, mainstream news website. The thumbnail of the news article was DJ Soda in a skimpy bikini with the title saying ‘Two Coconuts, about to fall into the pacific ocean”. Was DJ Soda becoming and environmentalist and saving coconuts? Were coconuts becoming endangered? Was coconuts polluting the Pacific Ocean? I wouldn’t know for sure unless I clicked into the article
So why are more and more companies, and even mainstream news website resorting to tactics like this to get clicks? It’s because with more and more information available on our fingertips, we become increasingly blind to online content and impatient in the way we consume content. Our attention is becoming a rare commodity and businesses and people are desperate for a small piece of it
Do click-baits work? Short answer – yes. I kid you not, there’s even a research to back that up!
Although click-baits ‘work’, it being ethical is a different question altogether. Very often, click-baits are misleading to readers and content consumers. Like how you just clicked into this post wanting the sweet details of the fire burning down my life but instead got a lecture on click-baits. Er.. sorry not sorry? The only fire in my life right now is the fire of passion (I actually LOL-ed when I was typing this)
This is also why Facebook and Google has made click-bating their public enemy number one. Facebook have constantly made changes and tweaked their algorithms to detect click-baits and reduce their distribution, they have also been very upfront about wanting to totally eliminate click-bait materials. Google, in 2016, removed 1.7 billion ads that it viewed as click-baits. On top of that, both of these platforms developed strict guidelines to curb and remove advertising content that is baiting in nature.
Despite all this, there are many experts that claim that click-baits work and that you should use it for their business. One of them includes Neil Patel. My take on this – Tread carefully if you are using click-baits to build your business. Click-baits tend to build the wrong kind of crowd in the long term, and this might be harmful to your business. Reason being that click bait traffic typically is not quality traffic and the audiences are not here to stay for long. They might not be interested in the content you have to offer and are just here to satisfy their curiosity and say goodbye
Click-baits will also tarnish a brand’s reputation and trustworthiness in the long run. People no longer believed the boy who called wolf by the third time, imagine how a user would feel being exposed to 30 of your articles per day that are click-baiting in nature. Remember the mainstream news portal earlier? The one whom coconuts were about to fall in the Pacific Ocean? I used to think that they are a respectable, trust worthy agency, now I just think that they are a distributor of irrelevant gossip news
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you if you have any experiences of being click-baited or click-baiting other people.