October 6, 2014 / Melissa Faudree

We’ve all seen it. Perhaps we are even guilty of writing them ourselves. Clickbaiting. Manipulating language to lure readers in. Most online magazines do it. Buzzfeed and Upworthy are huge contributors of clickbait. They only give enough detail to make a user click on the link to read more, just so the website can get more web traffic. Readers are more often frustrated that they wasted their time by clicking on the link, when they could have been doing something else.

Here are some clickbait examples I came up with:

  • You will be shocked when you see what face this former model made
  • 5 reasons why you’ll never get on a train again
  • Are you addicted to your cell phone? Found out now!
  • You’ll never guess who this dog’s best friend is

What happens if we stop clicking? If we can’t get people to click on content, then what is the point? However, what we really need to do is make headlines and titles less ambiguous. We need to include more context about what the link will be about. The headline should avoid exaggerated language. Leave out phrases such as, “you won’t believe what happens next” or “this will blow your mind” or “your life will be changed forever.” People want concise but detailed information.

Clickbait spoilers are on the rise. They are trying to stop or rather save people from clicking on those vague headlines. There are many Twitter and Facebook accounts trying to stop clickbait from happening. Twitter accounts like HuffPoSpoilers, Upworthy Spoiler, and SavedYouAClick are some of the many spoiler accounts out there.

If you have a good story, don’t try to hype up your title just to receive more traffic. And if you see a vague headline, don’t be another victim. Stop clicking! What are some the most memorable clickbait headlines you’ve seen?

Posted In: Blog, Content Marketing