Every day people see up to 3,000 ads. To get to potential customers, catch their attention and attract interest among such a great diversity of competitors, traffic arbitrage specialists (arbitrageurs) resort to various methods and one of them is clickbait.
What is clickbait
The word “clickbait” consists of two words: click and bait. Clickbait is about headlines and creatives made in a way to evoke curiosity or any strong emotions like fear, anger, or astonishment, and, as a result, make a person click on such an ad.
For example, there can be headlines containing such words as “SHOCK!”, “Breaking news”, “You won't believe it!”, or any provocative unusual statements. The aim of clickbait is to use all possible means so that users open the text or ad, click, and go to the offer.
Headings may not reflect the actual content of the news or text. Under the title “Shock! A woman died during a workshop!”, you may find an advertising article of an information businessman containing a participant’s review “Thanks to the workshop, I’ve transformed. Previous me is gone.”
Since clickbait misleads and manipulates web users, many authoritative advertising platforms like Facebook forbid them.
Who uses clickbait and what’s for
Clickbait is mainly used by marketers creating ads and arbitrageurs. The main goal is to increase traffic and profit through advertising some goods, services, or offers.
Also, there are so-called “black” ways of using clickbait: attackers try to get users' data and distribute malware.
Clickbait headlines affect the triggers of a broad audience, hitting a nerve and manipulating typical problems and needs. These can be the following:
avoidance of negative situations – spending money, health problems;
having fun, satisfying curiosity;
being more aware than others, having superiority;
being successful in romantic relationships.
If users' explicit or hidden need resonates with the theme of the clickbait, they are more likely to open the ad for a detailed look. For example, people who are interested in the life of celebrities often click on headlines mentioning the name of their idol.
Most often, clickbait influences basic low-level emotions such as indignation, fear, resentment, and pity. It is used to advertise nutraceuticals and medication whose effectiveness is overestimated and embellished, adult content, financial schemes for effortless money making on the Internet, and other “gray” offers. Such content can be seen on porn sites, news portals, and entertainment platforms.
Some examples of clickbait
Let’s take a closer look at this example. It captures users’ attention with an unusual heading and image and offers a solution to such a complicated problem as the payment of a mortgage. The message points out an unusual image that nevertheless corresponds to the ad sense.
This example is about realtor services, and in the ad headline, there is used hyperbole. But the image is personalized a lot and therefore attracts users’ attention.
This ad, in its turn, contains some bait elements and at the same time shows the product and demonstrates how to use it. There is given a value proposition of the device and the text describes the result – overcoming hearing loss. The introductory text uses the phrase “minicomputers” to ensure potential readers that the quality has not been compromised, as often happens with tiny devices.
Tips on creating a “right” clickbait
In a clickbait headline, in the foreground, there is a fact that is over-exaggerated and affects emotions. It contains no precise information, thus keeping the intrigue. To learn the details, users should follow the link. Clickbait may use:
● non-existing quotes;
● rumors, gossip, loud statements;
● multiple punctuation marks;
● unfinished offers;
● appeals to “you”;
● demonstrative pronouns “this”, “such”, “here”;
● proverbs, sayings, colloquial expressions, hyperbole, jargon;
● challenges and provocations;
● calls to be the first to take the desired action;
● shocking photos and videos;
● misspelling of words, for example, with obvious mistakes, imitation of illiteracy;
● mentioning of media personalities.
To create an attention-grabbing headline, one can rephrase the title of any ordinary promotional article by adding the aforementioned clickbait elements. The following may also be used:
● taking into account the pain points and desires of the audience;
● attempts to evoke emotions;
● using ellipsis, unfinished sentences in headings;
● using bright contrast images;
● making people believe that the text under the heading has a solution to a problem or a piece of advice on how to deal with pain points;
● using personalized appeals to representatives of the professions the ad is aimed at.
To find the most converting option, it is recommended to create some versions of headlines and creatives, test them, and thoroughly monitor the indicators.
Clickbait: advantages and disadvantages
1. “White” clickbait – the one that does not mislead – is a really effective way of increasing traffic. For example, a headline contains an unfinished sentence and the text of an ad has its continuation, corresponding to the meaning, as well as a solution to the problem in the form of an advertised product.
2. It works well in push and teaser ads and retains the audience on entertainment platforms.
3. It can increase CTR. But it is always necessary to pay attention to CR, since the ultimate goal is not just to attract lots of people, but to sell the product described in the offer and get payment from the affiliate program.
1. It is misleading and therefore may cause negative reaction of users. As a result, there are a high bounce rate and pessimistic ranking.
2. It may cover not all segments of the audience. Clickbait will be useless when it comes to people with developed banner blindness or increased critical thinking: they just won’t believe a “cheap sensation”.
3. In large sources of quality traffic (like Google or Facebook), the use of clickbait won’t be easy due to their advertising policy.
Clickbait is a marketing method used for attracting users’ attention to an offer. If you don’t want to deceive the audience and your aim is to offer people a solution to their problem, it is more efficient to use “white” clickbait. Sources of traffic that are loyal to clickbait are teaser and push networks. Such headlines can also be used on personal websites or blogs when working with SEO traffic.