As the internet becomes ever more crowded with content and video, many marketers may be tempted to use clickbait article headlines to entice people to click through to a web page.
Clickbait has been described as, “content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page“.
The headlines are often of the “you won’t believe what happened next” genre – we rounded up a few recent examples from Facebook to make our point:
With 500 million tweets sent daily, 4.3 billion Facebook messages posted daily and 6 billion Google searches each day*, some might argue that a clickbait headline makes perfect sense to get more visitors to a web page.
A few years ago, when people saw the occasional bait click headline, they did excitedly click to find out exactly “what happened next“. But as time has gone on, most people have been less and less inclined to click for a variety of reasons:
1. People are becoming desensitised to these types of headline – they are so common they no longer stand out in the crowd.
2. Experience proves that these headlines rarely deliver was what promised – have you ever truly found it hard to believe what happened next?!
3. Companies who rely on clickbait headlines extensively have started to be seen as less trustworthy – if the content being shared is so darned wonderful, why does it need a clickbait headline?
4. Marketers have discovered that whilst a high number of clicks is satisfying, the fact that the visitors aren’t highly engaged with the content and bounce rates are high is a big downside.
And so the demise of the clickbait headline is nearly upon us, nicely helped by Facebook.
Facebook has never favoured clickbait posts – and has recently upped its battle to ensure Facebook users aren’t bothered by these lowdown tactics. At the beginning of August, Facebook announced an update to its news feed ranking to reduce the number of clickbait headlines seen by people. They are implementing a system that checks if a headline withholds information required to understand what the article is about, and whether it creates misleading expectations for the reader.
So if you’re a marketer and want to get more visitors to your website, don’t rely on clickbait article headlines! If you’ve spent time crafting great content, spend time crafting a great headline that does it justice, makes it stand out from the crowd and get clicks on for its own merits, not for its curiosity factor.
And if you want to get your posts seen in Facebook newsfeeds, the clickbait tactic is now dead and buried!
* Stats taken from https://www.gwava.com/blog/internet-data-created-daily
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