Why do we keep falling for Clickbait? #noclickbait

Lea Heming

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Probably everyone of us “fell for” Clickbait at least once. It is usually pretty obvious but the titles make us curious so we click to open a video or an article that will probably just disappoint us. But why does it still work? Why do we click on it even if we know it’s just a Marketing Strategy and we can’t really expect a serious article behind it? Sorry for the cat by the way. Get the joke?

What is Clickbait?

Most of us probably know, but for those who have no idea or usually can’t identify Clickbait titles, here you go with a few examples how a Clickbait title for this Article could sound:

  • You won’t believe these 10 tricks behind Clickbait! Number 8 will blow your mind!
  • You’ll be outraged how easy it is to let you click this headline!
  • These 7 weird facts about Clickbait will change the way you see your Facebook Feed!

Kind of obvious isn’t it? So why do we still click at them?

Why does Clickbait work?

The purpose of a such titles is in first place, to make you click on the link. They aim to exploit a “curiosity gap”, which means that they provide just enough information to make the reader curious without actually satisfying their curiosity enough to not click on the link. Usually, behind the title you find exaggerations of news events, sensationalism or weird videos that actually have nothing to do with the title you clicked on. This phenomenon showed up big on YouTube this year. Titles and Thumbnails made us click on Videos we usually wouldn’t watch.

Here are some typical phrases that are used in Clickbait titles:

  • ..will make you cry
  • ..will restore your faith in humanity
  • ..Number 5 will blow your mind!
  • These 7…
  • You won’t believe…
  • Things nobody tells you about..

Who is using Clickbait and why?

Pages like Buzzfeed have turned Clickbait into a Marketing Strategy. Unlike most digital marketing forms, it is not the goal to produce content that serves a long-term goal. Instead of aiming for a high SEO ranking, engaging the reader or sending a message, Clickbait title just aim to get traffic on the page they are used on.

Buzzfeed managed to turn Clickbait into an Art form. Did you ever catch yourself being stuck in the Buzzfeed Quiz Section for an hour? For Pages like that, Quantity comes before Quality. But who doesn’t want to get their age guessed based on their dessert choices (Apperently I’m 31 years old. Was is the Strawberry Cupcakes?)?

Sad but true, most of us are very prone for Clickbait. How often did you catch yourself clicking on a headline in your Facebook feed despite knowing it’s probably nonsense?

Couldn’t Clickbait titles be used to gather attention to important topics too?

Well now, we have to admit something here. Clickbait doesn’t have to lead to nonsense posts. If used correctly, it is actually a great strategy to convey your interests or concerns to a bigger group of people. You don’t believe us? Here you go: “You can help saving the environment with these 5 unbelievable easy tricks!”

We know that it works, so why isn’t everyone using it to convey the important topics of society then? Why don’t newspaper use them? Well there is an easy reason for that: Would you think a newspaper that uses titles like “See what Donald Trump secretly really thinks about Immigration!” or “What the Hell did just happen with the Brexit negotiation?” is trustable? Not really (That Brexit article was actually interesting by the way). Titles like these seem untrustworthy thanks to the thousands of bad examples we can find on Facebook every day.

So what does that mean now?

What we all can agree on, Clickbait is annoying but it works. The titles use your own curiosity to make you follow a link. While there can be actually interesting stories behind it (See the Brexit article), you could as well find out about 26 bathroom products that could save your relationship.

So what kind of title do usually “fall for”? Which one was the most disappointing you ever clicked on? Did you have any good experiences with Clickbait Titles? Tell us in the comments!

(If you are searching for the kitten, here you go)

 

 

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Lea Heming

  • Jeremy Chassang

    I still don’t know what I fall for but I swear I’m going to think about

    • So apperently you’re one of those blessed people who don’t encounter Clickbait that often!

  • Sunniva Batalden

    Why did I click on this? I want my life back.

    • I should have chosen “You’ll be outraged how easy it is to let you click this headline!”. Would probably have worked too!

      • Sunniva Batalden

        Yes. It would. But the kittens did it. Can’t stand those adorable fluffy faces.

        • No one can! I catch myself clicking on every cat-video on Youtube! I don’t even know how I end up with those.