Clickbait is a form of false digital advertisement, specially designed to lure visitors into clicking on a link while misleading their attention through false promises, exaggerations, or deceptive headlines. Today with all the media and its consumption moving online, media outlets or content creators must compete for user attention at unprecedented levels contrary to traditional offline media. In order to keep their click-through rates up and to increase the visibility of the ads, they had to come up with catchy but not-informing headlines called clickbait. While it can really increase the short-term traffic count, its long-term effects are bad for brand recognition, credibility, and search rankings.
Most clickbait titles are harmless and there to increase the overall engagement, but when people lured into clicking on one, they feel upset and disappointed. After not finding what they hope for, they are inclined not to use the content from the relevant website. So now, let’s examine how to avoid it both while creating and clicking.
Why Should You Avoid Using It?
Some websites and content creators use clickbait regularly to attract more traffic to their website. However, this can damage business and brand credibility in various ways. We listed some of the negative effects of using it below:
Bounce Rates: Most clickbait articles do not contain valuable information or useful content for the users, so they do not stay long on the page, leaving it within seconds. High bounce rates are almost always a bad sign for search engines and their algorithms to rank your content.
Disappointed Audience: Even if your clickbait content gets a popular start, its traffic will plummet over time, and may even get penalized by social media networks or search engines. Since clickbait targets the “curiosity gap” of users to get more clicks, your audience will be disappointed when the content cannot fill their curiosity properly. This will affect your long-term metrics negatively because the users return because of the honesty, not for frustration and deception.
Losing Potential Followers: User experience is one of the most important things to consider thoroughly to create a successful digital strategy. If users have negative experiences with your content repeatedly, they will most probably stop following and sharing your content. That is to say, using clickbait to attract more visitors can harm your business in return.
Not-reliable Metrics Data: While monetizing your content, marketing specialists would look onto many details of your analytics. Although having a large number of clicks might be valuable data for them, it does not begin to cover the whole story. Clickbait content muddles those important analytics data such as demographics, location, gender, or age.
How to Create Good Titles?
While we covered reasons to avoid using clickbait in your content above, let’s see how to create good yet not-clickbait titles since every creator wants to come up with original and creative titles for their works. There are a couple of tips below to create informing and appealing titles while avoiding clickbait:
- It is important to make the reader feel something, such emotions like awe, fear, amusement, excitement, or hope in subtle ways,
- A useful title can offer practical tricks, tips, or tools that are detailed in the article,
- Dynamic use of language that is concise, and promises a valuable read/watch,
- Should be able to describe the content in a short but comprehensive way.
How Can You Tell If It Is a Clickbait?
Although clickbait is getting less and less used because of its negative effects on the user as well as on its creator, there are still many clickbait articles and videos being published every day. If you don’t want to waste your time with it, we can offer some tips to recognize one instantly:
- Does the headline designed to shock you, or to exploit your curiosity without any real information,
- The title contains extreme exaggerations or is highly ambiguous,
- Piggybacking, usage of the well-known figures or companies as if they endorse the content,
- Punctuation is off with informal patterns such as ??!!, ****, !!!!, …., etc.,
- If it is using too much of internet slang such as LOL, LMAO, WOW, etc.,
- If it is too good to be true,
- If it is posted anonymously,
It is perfectly reasonable to have greater doubts about the content if it contains one or two of these features.
In addition to its typical features, clickbait titles exhibit a pattern in its usage of the language. Some of those templates are listed below:
“You won’t believe what happens when…”
“Your mind will be blown…”
“The last X you’ll ever need”
“You won’t believe…”
“This is what…”
FAQ About Clickbait
It is safe to say that most clickbait links are virtually harmless, but there are many others out there that can harm your computer, especially if they ask you to download a file.
Although false advertising is illegal in many countries, clickbait is not. It is considered unethical in general since it can be used to harm the reputation, make fake news go viral, and can spread misinformation.
Clickbait ads tend to have unrealistic promises or offers for attention. Most of the time those ads will mostly redirect you to a scam, so it is important to always check the URL of the website.
How to Avoid Clickbait in Short
Clickbait used to be a very popular phenomenon until the users and search engines got wiser. Nowadays, it is much more beneficial for content creators not to go for that path while users can avoid it by only following a couple of tips.
If you like this article and want to know more about SEO related topics, you should check other Dopinger articles.