Clickbait is one of the digital marketing practices that the marketers are generally advised to avoid. This is because the general notion for clickbait is negative. I mean of course, it’s click-bait.

For those wondering what is clickbait?

As the name suggests, clickbait can be any image, thumbnail or text charged with external hyperlink that is designed to entice users to click on it. Clickbait is by its characteristics deceptive, misleading and/or sensationalized.

The concept of clickbait isn’t new. Clickbait-ish type of text have existed for a long time. This is one example-


Why clickbait is considered bad because for the most part, it is a one sided deal. Through your misleading heading/image, you trick users into thinking that you have some interesting content to offer so as their part of the deal, they click on that link. However, when they follow the link, they find themselves on a shady website with poor content and don’t receive what they were promised to.

On the other hand, clickbait also does what digital marketing seeks. It encourages the user to click on the desired link. Actually, many marketers think that-

Clickbait isn’t all that bad

Integrity of clickbait is subjective. It’s totally relative to how you use it. Andrew Selepak, a professor at the University of Florida who specializes in Social Media says that clickbaits are considered bad because they are generally associated with fake news and online hucksters. However, if an online company does fulfil its end of the deal and introduces some solid product that can actually help the consumers, it isn’t all that bad.

For example, a clickbait may say “best digital marketing agency in Ottawa” but it might not really be the case. However, upon opening the link, the user realises that the company does provide some great digital marketing services that he/she would love to avail. In this case, clickbait helped both the customer and the business.

So basically, if you do have something valuable to offer to the consumers, using clickbaits may be justified.

How can you put clickbaits to use without being evil?

Through the following ways, you can use clickbaits in a positive way-

# Fulfil your end of the deal

Okay, we have been through this one. But this is the first and foremost principle of positive clickbait advertising. If you do not deliver your promise by providing something that equals the hype your clickbait advertisement has created, it will have a negative impact on your business’s image.

# Take advantage of the ‘curiosity gap’

There are broadly two types of clickbaits (with examples)-

  • Mysterious- “This man divorced his wife after seeing this photo…”

There is a great chance that you are already familiar with this one. Yes, have taken this example from that very famous photo that has a seemingly innocent woman sitting on a bed. However, upon a closer look, you find that a man is hiding in the bed. This is an excellent example of using clickbait in a positive way.

  • Spectacular- “Marketers tried these insane SEO hacks… the results are astonishing!”

If yours is an online marketing agency and you do have some great SEO services to provide that you’re confident the visitor would find valuable, you can use such a clickbait to drive traffic to your website. In this scenario, it’d be ideal that you do talk about some insane SEO hacks briefly and then tell the audience how your agency comes into the equation as a crucial factor. But again, you have to make sure that you do have something valuable to provide that equals the hype you created through this clickbait.

Now let’s talk about-

Things to avoid while advertising through clickbaits

# Don’t exaggerate too much

Okay, exaggeration is characteristic of clickbait but too much exaggeration can have an adverse effect. If your offering doesn’t correspond with what you promised in your clickbait ad, it might help you get a higher online traffic for a short span of time but in the long run, it can be detrimental for your business’s image.

# Don’t make false promises

It’s simple. You lie and lead the user to your website, he/she finds out your claim was false and bounces back and there you earn a spike in bounce rate and negative rating and reviews. Along with disappointing your visitors and spoiling your company’s reputation, such tactics can lead you to Google’s spammy sites list.

# Don’t use clickbait just to increase traffic on your website

Using clickbait just to increase traffic on your website when you have nothing valuable to offer leads to two things sequentially-

> disappointed audience,

> higher bouncer rate,

> and hence, lower ranking

And we’re sure you want none of these.

Final words

Clickbait has negative connotation assigned to it as it is popularly used for spreading hoaxes, fake news, false and misleading information and so on. However, clickbaits are not essentially bad. I used right with consideration for the audience’s emotions, clickbait can be a great medium of digital marketing.

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Somya Sharma : Regardless of being a Delhi University graduate with a major in English Literature, Somya's interests are not limited to poetry and drama. As a person who loves researching, discussing and writing about topics rooted in various disciplines, the list of subjects that tickle her fancy is ever-growing. She finds the power of psychology in marketing particularly intriguing and has set out writing blogs with the aim of helping budding marketers polish-up.