Although clickbait may be a four-letter word to some, it can be useful. The next time you browse the internet, pay attention to the headlines that catch your eye (like the one you clicked on to read this).
Even if you were annoyed by clickbait, chances are you’ve fallen for it at some point, and that’s exactly what it’s meant to accomplish. However, if clickbait is executed improperly, it can potentially backfire. Learn more about clickbait by the best digital marketing company in Singapore.
What is clickbait?
Clickbait, as the name suggests, is content written to get as many clicks as possible. Clickbait can be applied to any content.
You can make any content on the web clickbait-worthy by using news stories, blogs, interviews, infographics and videos. Clickbait usually has the following characteristics:
- A compelling headline that grabs attention
- It is easy to skim
- Video/images that are funny or memorable
- Humorous tone or appeals strongly to a particular emotion (more details soon).
- This is intended to encourage social sharing.
While not all clickbait is created equal, most have at least one or two characteristics.
Content marketers from almost all industries have tried to create their own viral success stories by copying the clickbait style and format popularized by BuzzFeed, Upworthy and other top clickbait sites.
Clickbait: A Brief History
Clickbait is relatively new, but the practice of getting users to click on web pages was born out of Link baiting. Like link bait, which was and still is content that encourages other sites to link it, clickbait aims to get as many pageviews as possible.
Higher page views usually translate into higher ad revenue, which means more profit for site publishers. The traditional newspaper industry is familiar with many clickbait concepts and has used them to sell papers for more than 100 years.
Despite being widely criticized for their lack of journalistic integrity, British tabloids use many of the same clickbait techniques to increase their circulation. Link baiting is becoming less popular as ethical search engine optimization rules have evolved.
However, great content will continue to attract a healthy number of external links. Clickbait is very popular right now.
Clickbait: The Benefits
Are you thinking of creating clickbait content? Not sure how to go about it? Let’s look at the benefits of clickbait by the best content marketing agency in Singapore.
- More pageviews
Clickbait is a single goal. It should not surprise that clickbait has the primary purpose of generating more pageviews. Clickbait is a great way to achieve page views if that’s your sole goal.
Clickbait is a great way to generate more pageviews, whether used on your blog or in guest columns for other publications. To gauge the effectiveness of clickbait on your site, you will need to monitor the source traffic to your site using an analytics platform like Google Analytics.
- Greater Potential for Social shares
Clickbait that is good or effective is just as appealing to people to share it on social media as the original click. People won’t share anything because their perceptions of themselves and the content they share on social media are closely linked to their personal opinions.
It is important to appeal to people’s emotions to encourage clickbait sharing. The more people share content, the stronger their emotional response.
While it is hard to pinpoint the emotional triggers that social media experts should target, six main emotions are associated with sharing social-friendly content. These are:
This list is based on the work of Paul Ekman, a renowned psychologist. It is widely considered the best checklist for content creators who want to manipulate viewers’ emotions into sharing content.
Combining a strong appeal for one of these emotions and well-structured content and headlines can make you the next viral sensation.
- Brand Awareness Increased
Brand awareness is the third benefit of clickbait. Clickbait can result in more pageviews or social shares. Your brand will be more widely known as people spreading your content across the internet.
Content marketing is all about increasing brand awareness. Clickbait is an excellent way to do this. Content marketing is a continuous cycle.
Brand awareness plays an important role in many stages of that cycle, especially when it comes to trust and to help people remember what you have written. Clickbait content does not have to be viral to increase brand awareness.
Content that drives pageviews and encourages sharing on social media is already doing this. The greater your content’s reach, such as if it goes viral, the higher the chance that people will remember your brand.
Good clickbait vs bad clickbait
It’s easy to believe that clickbait is all bad. You’ll be left feeling satisfied, and with a few minutes, you won’t ever get back. Before we get into the details of good and bad clickbait, it might be worthwhile to re-examine or gain a different perspective on clickbait.
And where better to do this than from a site that only contains clickbait? In 2014, Buzzfeed claimed in a blog post that the company did not “do” clickbait. The reasoning is convincing. Clickbait, by definition, is content that promises too much and delivers less.
The popular website doesn’t technically do this. It uses clickbait to make sure the headlines are accurate. Sensationalist headlines, are you ready? Check. Practically useless information? Debatable. Was it a waste of time? It’s obvious. It’s fun to read. 100%.
Although the site has grown in popularity, it produces unquestionably superior content than any clickbait. However, it is still a grey area. However, good clickbait would be this. This “partial clickbait” method is not limited to Buzzfeed. This is also common in reputable publications.
This tactic is used all over the internet, from tech blogs to movie websites. This is Screen Rant’s Ten Jump Scares in Horror Movies that Still Shock Us article. Although it isn’t clickbait, the title has a strong hook.
Clickbait can be found in many of your favourite news magazines. You may find a section titled “sponsored content” on a website that covers movies, games, or pop culture. These titles are not published on the website.
These articles could also be considered “good” or “harmless” clickbait. Clickbait doesn’t just apply to articles. Clickbait can be used to generate revenue online, but it can also be used to attract attention to YouTube and other video sites.
It is easy to find a thumbnail that exaggerates the video streaming platform to make it stand out.
What is “bad clickbait”? These are as easy to spot as the others. Avoid articles that claim to offer money or require you to download a program.
Although it may seem harmless and legitimate, it could lead to your computer being infected by malware or other undesirable results. We assure you that the danger is not worth it. Clickbait can also affect your SEO rankings.
Your SEO ranking can be negatively affected if you promise the whole world in your headline but offer only a small amount of value. This will increase your bounce rate and decrease the time spent on a page. These can cause your pages to be sent lower in search engine results.
Use clickbait to get good
How can Clickbait be used to increase impact? Here are some ways stated by the content marketing company in Singapore to make the Clickbait headline format a source of good.
- You must know!
What are the core values of your organization? What are your vision and mission? What is your “about” page? To play into the reader’s FOMO, combine key terms such as “facts about”, “signs and symptoms,” or “history of” with “need to learn” to create a page that is both informative and engaging.
To make the number stand out from the rest of the text and show the reader what it is, add it to Facts about Whales.
- [Insert Celebrity name here]
Keep up to date with current events by keeping a list of all the content on your website. You can tie your company to the topics people are discussing, whether it’s a holiday, celebrity, or something else.
Because these celebrities and popular topics are top of mind, it is easy to draw attention to your headline by simply using a trending phrase or celebrity name. Here’s an example of how we used a trending story to drive traffic to an existing piece of educational material.
- You won’t believe what happened next!
This format is for you if you have amazing stories of success or impact. The story or person should be introduced mysteriously. You can reveal one interesting fact about them and encourage readers to click through for more information about your amazing work.
THE COMMON FAILURES WRITERS MAKE WHILE CREATING HEADLINES
Before we get into my headline creation process, let’s talk about common mistakes writers make when creating headlines. These mistakes could make all your content creation efforts void.
This is because it’s very likely that your audience will ignore your article if any of these are committed. This means that all your efforts in planning, brainstorming and writing your content will be wasted. Your audience won’t get to read it. The top errors to avoid are as follows:
- THE PROMISE OF THE HEADLINE DOES NOT MATCH THE CONTENT.
Do you know what I mean? Your audience will ignore your content if your headlines are poor-crafted. This mistake can have a far worse outcome than your audience ignoring you.
Your audience may criticize you for making this mistake, as they might feel you have betrayed their trust. “The 7 Unbelievable Truths About Collecting Coins” should be your title. The article must contain 7 facts. They should be “unbelievable”.
Your unbelievable facts must also relate to collecting coins. Think about it. While you managed to get them to click on your headline due to the promise you made, they didn’t find the content that matches the promise you made in your headline.
It’s frustrating to think about it. It frustrates me, and you can bet your family jewels it will frustrate you too.
- A READER DISABLED
Your expectation when you publish an article is that your audience will stop doing whatever they are doing and take a few minutes to read your article. Given how busy everyone is, isn’t it a daunting task to expect them to do what you ask? It is, you bet!
You need to prove yourself first. You need to show them the benefits they will receive if they stop their current activities so they can read your content. It is almost impossible to convince them to spend their time with you if you don’t establish the benefit.
- THE HEADLINE LOSES SPECIFICITY.
People consume content because they are looking for information. This is why it’s important to ensure that headlines convey to readers that the article has all they need. Because our audience lives a fast-paced lifestyle, the headline must be specific.
They don’t want to waste their time reading your content only to find out later that it does not contain the information they are looking for. They want to be sure they are reading the correct thing. Your headline should give them that assurance.
Let’s take an example. Let’s suppose your audience is searching for email marketing tips to help them in their marketing campaigns. What would your audience think about your headline, “Digital Marketing Conversion Tips“?
I know email marketing falls under the digital marketing umbrella, but you won’t be able to tell by reading the title if it contains the information, you are looking for. You’re busy and don’t have time to read through an entire article.
You might skip it and find other articles if it doesn’t. These mistakes can be fatal to your marketing efforts. These mistakes can be costly, so take note and avoid them.
Clickbait’s Dark Side
It’s almost obvious that every content marketing strategy, even clickbait, has its flaws. While clickbait is a powerful tool for content marketers, you need to be aware of the pitfalls. Below are the mentioned thing you should be aware of by digital marketing company Singapore,
- Sensationalism is ageing
BuzzFeed was first launched in 2006. It became very popular very quickly. BuzzFeed’s unique strategy of luring people with compelling headlines was not widely known.
Clickbait is now used by everyone, including their grandmothers, to exploit the above-mentioned benefits, which has led to a waning interest in audiences.
We simply can’t believe what will happen next. Every reaction to everyday events is priceless, and you can accomplish almost anything with just one trick. Frankly, it’s getting old.
The saturation of sensationalist clickbait has reached its peak. Even trusted news sources like CNN can’t help but publish highly offensive clickbait in a misguided effort to increase pageviews.
Publishers are using increasingly desperate methods to get heard, which is not sustainable in the long term.
- Clickbait lies can damage brands and the trust of customers.
Intentionally misleading your audience is one of the fastest ways to irritate them and undermine their trust. People expect to see content when they click on content.
They will bounce away if you try to trick them just for the pageview.
Your brand may be perceived negatively if they do. Search Engine Journal recently posted a similar example.
Apart from the fact the author and a few other commenters don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between linkbait and clickbait, many comments on this article were left by angry readers who felt misled for the sake of proving their point.
Although the post received a lot of social shares, it is worth taking a moment to evaluate whether it is worth the risk to your brand.
- Pageviews aren’t that important.
Content marketers are jumping on the clickbait train and creating dull content to increase their pageviews. Experts believe page views may not be as important anymore.
Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile stated in a Time magazine article that many publishers are shifting away from the “click web,” where clickthroughs and pageviews were the dominant metrics, to what he calls the “attention web,” which is where audience attention and engagement are becoming the key indicators of content success.
Haile points out several sites, including BuzzFeed rival Upworthy and blog platform Medium, that is moving away from click metric models. Medium uses Total Time Reading to measure the success of content.
Medium posts are often accompanied by an estimate of the article’s length. This is calculated using periodic scroll depth and position readings, taking into account pauses or inattention from readers and switching tabs.
The medium can then measure how long it takes for a reader to read a piece. The medium then uses this data to determine the most popular posts. This is a much better indicator than pageviews and social shares.
Upworthy has also decided to abandon the click/pageview model and instead focus on a metric it calls attention to minutes. Upworthy data scientists calculate attention minutes using two distinct metrics:
- Total Attention to Site (per hour, day, week, month etc.) This tells them what topics are receiving the most attention across the site in much the same way that unique views and total pageviews.
- Total Attention Per Piece This is calculated by combining how many people see a particular page on the site with how much they actually read/watch it. A page view doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been read.
Compare the performance of three content samples based on the attention minutes metric to the pageview model. See the figure below. You can see the difference.
Publishers are increasingly moving away from pageviews being the defining metric. An attention-based model could soon be the norm as audiences become more fickle and content production continues to rise.
Clickbait can be very fun for content marketers. Content producers can use their creativity to create funny and sensational headlines. It’s also a great way to get social shares and pageviews spikes when clickbait content is performing well. As we have seen, clickbait has its pros and cons. Only you can decide if the potent trial benefits are worth the risks. If you like this blog check out our previous blog 10 ways to promote your website.