What is Clickbait?

Clickbait is a term coined to describe a type of online advertising that involves publishing provocative, misleading or otherwise attention-grabbing headlines with the intention of getting readers to click on links to promote products and services. Understanding how clickbait affects your life can help us reduce our exposure to this malicious content and be more selective about the sites we visit for news and entertainment.

The word “clickbait” was first used by Internet users in 2007 as an adjective describing hyperlinks that are presented as being “too good to be true”. The practice became much more prevalent after 2010 when it evolved into its current meaning because publishers discovered they could create publicity for their content through social media shares.

Clickbait has become so common online that it has expanded to a new definition, describing any website or engaging content that uses sensationalist headlines to attract visitors.

We have all seen very interesting news stories with enticing titles about celebrities or some other cultural phenomenon that we want to learn more about. It’s our curiosity and intrigue that causes us to click on these links, not knowing until after we have clicked what exactly is going to be presented on the following page.

Effectively identifying the best time for posting your articles can help engage your audience and boost sales conversions. With the right marketing strategy, you can engage your audience to click on your content.

There are various ways in which you can use this practice to help your business grow. Content marketing is one popular way that businesses are using clickbait in their strategies; articles with titles like “You won’t believe what happened when I tried this…” or “What she did next will make you never want to ____ again” often go viral through sharing across social media platforms because they pique our interest and make us feel invested in the unknown content to come.

Another example of clickbait is a picture of a baby animal with an extremely clever caption for Internet users to share on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Reddit.

Whether the content is funny or just cute, it works because it evokes emotion from its viewers and encourages people to want to learn more about what they are seeing through clicking.

For over 10 years now, clickbait has been a popular marketing strategy employed by online publishers who have learned that their success depends on how many clicks they receive for their articles.

Regardless of whether you think clickbait journalism is unethical because it misleads readers into clicking on stories that don’t meet their expectations, you can’t deny that clickbait journalism isn’t effective.

When done well, it turns casual browsers into loyal clients who are eager to read anything else lure them in this way. The site BuzzFeed has created a name for its self by posting shareable content that the majority of people are eager to click on, including hilarious GIFs or images with simple quotes.

For example, “14 Photos That Look Dirty But Are Not” is just one out of many articles featured on the site with outrageous titles meant to invoke curiosity and engagement from readers.

With so much content being shared throughout all social media platforms every day, it’s becoming harder for both publishers and marketers to capture the attention of their target audience.

Clickbait will continue to be popular as long as it works because it helps brands gain visibility through quality shares. It takes very little effort to see how clickbait can go wrong; once you realize that an interesting article you are reading includes a link to download malware or send you to another site that wants your credit card number, the consequences of using this kind of marketing can become much more serious than disappointing your audience.

Understanding how clickbait affects your life can help us reduce our exposure to this malicious content and be more selective about the sites we visit for news and entertainment.

Clickbait isn’t going away any time soon because it works, but that doesn’t mean that you have to worry about clicking on every headline that sounds too good to be true.

If something really is too good to be true, chances are there are plenty of marketers out there who will make money off of you through sharing their content.

You don’t want to fall into that trap, so avoid the “news” sites that offer information about celebrities and their wild antics.

The less time you spend on these types of sites, the better idea you’ll have about which ones are worth your time and which ones aren’t.

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