You may have to continue the activity aggressively for many hours to see any benefit, but keep trying. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about clickbait. Maybe you have been a recent victim of it. Perhaps as recently as visiting this page.

Clickbait is not new, and the concept predates actual clicking. My first experience was a circus sideshow that failed to deliver on the dog faced boy I anticipated from the barker. In today’s page view economy, your clicks are the equivalent of the two bucks I forked over for disappointment. You have seen the headlines:

  • 11 things that will shock you about BLANK
  • You Won’t Believe Where These Child Actors are Now
  • This Berry Found in The Amazon is the Real Fountain of Youth

We’ve seen clickbait on news sites, using salacious language in headlines that doesn’t always reflect the facts of the story. This doesn’t consider outright Fake News that we saw surpass mainstream news views on Facebook last year.

For marketers building long term engagement strategies, we need to forgo the temptations of clickbait to boost numbers and focus on quality content and the user experience. Now there is nothing wrong with writing snappy headlines or showing CB memeimages of your product with puppies, especially on #NationalPuppyDay. There is an art to crafting headlines that catch attention, but there are also instances of going too far. The point is to pay off your audience for that click, and keep them clicking. BuzzFeed has mastered this beautifully. They quickly identified Facebook and Twitter as the new office watercooler, and served up their content in easily digestible and shareable formats. They focused on the organization and interest of the content, and the headlines naturally fit.

The five problems identified with clickbait advertising apply to all marketing communication. It isn’t going away, although there are some that promote “bait shaming” of perpetrators. It comes down to something Peter Shankman said, “stop chasing likes, and just be likeable.” Clickbait is short term gain at the expense of long term engagement. Be better than that.