The Perils of Using Clickbait in SM Strategies

Clickbait is well-known to be effective in a variety of situations. When people start sharing an eye-catching headline piece and millions of people are drawn to it, you ask naively ‘so what can be the harm’? Here we’ll take a look at some of the pitfalls you may not have considered when using catchy clickbait on your social media channels.

It started out with good intentions and even the big business caught onto it pretty quickly and found many people lured to their pages like a moth to a flame. However, businesses didn’t reckon on the fact that human beings often find something interesting for just a few seconds or minutes before their attention fades- turning them into cynics of clickbait rather quickly than you’d like. Facebook has even hit back with the promise to put an end to spam content which gets reported as annoying content farming- something the readership just doesn’t appreciate. In fact, new algorithms are in place already which detect fake and clickbaity article headlines.


Why is SM clickbait so self-destructive?
In one line- it’s all mouth and no action. Any Journalism graduate will tell you that the purpose of a headline is to attract attention and generate intrigue with the aim of reading the whole article. In times past this was a great skill to possess, especially for tabloids, but now it has become synonymous with dodgy clickbait content that serves no real purpose.

While it is true that some headlines still lead to a pretty great story of immense interest, more often than not they’re linked with this annoying clickbait-style attention grabber which over-promises and then lets the reader down by under-delivering. In the mind of the clicker, the old adage ‘once bitten twice shy’ is brought into full force.

It is due to this that the reader who visits your site through one of these alluring pretences is actually losing trust in you to give them what they need- and for the most part they can smell it a mile away now.

A highly manipulative tactic
Content that claims to provide quick satisfaction for the reader better do so or it risks being classed as not only misleading and worthless, but worse still outright manipulative. Treating your supposedly valued customers (i.e. readers who click) as idiots doesn’t fare very well and humans are incredibly perceptive to these cunning wiles. They’re only good for short-term engagement and will not win you friends in the long run guaranteed.

Fighting back against annoying clickbait, Twitter users such as @SavedYouAClick, @UpworthySpoiler and @HuffPoSpoilers have saved lots of people from clicking on these deceitful  headlines and been rewarded with thousands of followers in return.

Get real customers, not just clicks
A potential customer who is led to your site through a clickbait article who ultimately finds it of no use and a complete waste of time is going to have a worse opinion of you than if they’d never clicked. They aren’t going to tell their friends about you, and they’re never going to visit your site again with the purpose of buying you product or using your service.