We’ve all had some sort of experience with clickbait, whether we’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of links or even used it to bring traffic to our site, we’ve all been there. Although it often gets a bad rap, clickbait can be an effective tool if used correctly. Catchy titles and eye-catching images can lead to more clicks and draw in viewers, with headlines including questions having an average of 150% more clicks than a declarative statement as a headline. It is a tactic that is prevalent in the marketing industry and most people have caught on to its occasionally sensationalist ways.
So why do we keep falling for clickbait?
1-Clickbait makes us curious
Humans are naturally curious creatures. When we are given a small amount of information, we have a desire to find out more. This is what makes clickbait headlines so effective. They provide us with one half of a story and leave the second half for us to discover by clicking on the link. Even if the story isn’t particularly interesting, our craving for more makes us click. Titles including phrases like, “you won’t believe what happens next” or “see what happens when” are some classic examples of clickbait playing into our natural curiosity.
2-Clickbait plays with our emotions
Whether its anger or happiness, clickbait taps into our emotions to get us to press on a link. By playing with the extreme sides of emotions, titles can drive us to take action and click on an intriguing link. We can especially see this with outrage clickbait. This happens when something fires us up so much that we feel driven to check it out in hopes for some sort of resolution to our emotional discomfort.
3-We have a love for lists
Lists are something we’ve all encountered before and have clicked on countless times. Psychologically speaking, lists do well because they make it easy on our brains by spatially organizing ideas and quantifying the length of the story. Numbers also tend to stick out among the endless amount of headlines we scroll past in a day. So the next time you see a “top 10” or “15 reasons why” list, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.
4-We want to feel like we are right
Being told our beliefs, morals, opinions, and actions are right is something we all want to experience and clickbait can give just that. Titles that seem to affirm our life choices tend to grab our attention and make us want to read more. We want to feel like the decisions we make on a day to day basis are the right ones, and an approving headline does just that.
5-Clickbait makes us want things
Whether it’s more money or better health, we all have a strong desire for things. The list goes on and on and we are constantly looking for ways we can get what we want. When a headline seems to give us instruction on how to get that we feel even more tempted to click on it. We crave resolution for our desires and if an article claims to give us that resolution,. There is no stopping us from pressing our finger down on that mouse!
As much as we try to avoid it, clickbait it everywhere and we tend to fall for it. It stirs up our emotions, affirms our actions, and taps into our curiosity. And as much as we dislike the sensationalist headlines, we seem to find ourselves clicking on them time and time again. Clickbait, when used right, seems to work and can bring in more traffic to your site.