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What is ‘clickbait’ and should we use it?

In a world of trying to shout the loudest, we now have the rise of ‘clickbait’ posts, articles and videos. What exactly is clickbait you ask? It is defined as ‘content intended to attract as many click-throughs – and page views – as possible’. At one time, clickbait was considered a good thing. It made your articles stand out, and as long as they weren’t detracting from the truth too much, it was gaining clicks to your site. But now that we are in a world where you can’t always believe what you read, clickbait has become more of a nuisance which can harm your online presence. Dominant clickbait ads can be seen on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. But with Facebook cracking down and starting to penalise these types of misleading ads, it is time to get clued up on how to get your clicks without the bait!

Let’s break down what a makes an article ‘clickbait’ and how to spot one!

Firstly, a clickbait article will always have a loud and dramatic headline. This is essentially the hook on the end of their fishing rod for clicks. Think of the last time you saw an article with ‘You will be shocked when you see this’, or ‘you won’t believe …’ in the headline; you probably don’t because you closed that tab as quickly as you opened it. These posts will have eye-catching images, an easily skippable short video, a humorous tone and be emotionally reactive in the hope that the reader will share it.

In a world of trying to shout the loudest, we now have the rise of ‘clickbait’ posts, articles and videos. What exactly is #clickbait you ask? Click To Tweet

Not only can these sensationalistic articles hurt your website bounce rate, making your website a less valuable place to spend time on, it can also hurt your SEO. Nash Riggins writes, “Every couple of months, Google rolls out a number of updates designed to sift through clickbait, duplicate content and fake news, and subsequently punishes the pages and websites associated with that low-quality content by pushing them further down the results pages”.

There was, at one time, a silver lining to the clickbait grey cloud!

Results do show that these ads and articles often churn up social engagement through shares and clicks, and lead to a spike in your site traffic. Especially if you are using Google Analytics to track the sources of your incoming site traffic, you will see how effective an ad with a catchy headline really can be. Obviously, a huge benefit of positive clickbait is going to be increased brand awareness by the sharing of your content, especially if something were to go viral.

So, should you use clickbait as a tool for your business? No. We believe that, ultimately, this would hurt the trust between your customers and your business. It can also harm your reputation to any future customers that will see your online posts as misleading and not worth following. As a company, you want to ensure that anything you post, whether it be an article, a blog or social media post, is professional and truthful which shows the morals of your business. That way, people who have seen your content before will want to work with you because it is dependable and engaging. Plus, it will show that you know what you are talking about, and that your business doesn’t need a false headline to gain traffic to your site. Social shares and page view spikes might seem great at the start, but this can only end badly for the longevity of your business. Invest in your content, and your future customers will want to invest in you.

Do you agree that clickbait does more harm than good? Let us know via Twitter @CariadMarketing or leave a comment below!

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