Have You Been Caught Out by Clickbait?

Clickbait is the name for eye catching links  on a website that when you click takes you to a website that has paid for traffic but maybe unrelated to the graphic or text on the link.

Generally these rely on sensationalist headlines or eye-catching thumbnail pictures to attract people to click and to encourage forwarding of the material on social networks. Clickbait headlines typically aim to make people curious enough to make that click.

Why do people want traffic to their website?

The obvious answer is because they believe their website has something worthwhile to offer. But money is also a big reason for many. The more traffic a site appears to have then the higher the charges that can be made for advertising.

The Most Popular Types of Clickbait

1. Lists

e.g. “The Top Ten Celebrity Haircuts” or “The Top Twenty Places in Surrey to Visit”

The user expects this will be a list as described above, but often it’s a page full of adverts with a small reference to one of the top items and the user has to click to get the next one and so on. So, you have to visit lot of pages to see the total list.

2. Humour

Everyone likes a good laugh.

3. Nastiness

e.g. “Celebrities With Ugly Partners”.

This is just sad.

4. Sarcasm

E,g, “12 Reasons Not to Visit New York”

People who like New York want to see what they’ve missed and people who want to know about New York will click to see what to beware of.

5. Kittens and Puppies

Anything that appears ‘cute’ can make large numbers of people click to see more.

6. Pictures of Scantily Clad Women

Using pictures of women dressed in very little is nothing new but it still attracts the attention.

7. Controversy and Shock

Some people will use a falsely controversial headline to lure people in, and then backtrack on the headline in their article.

e.g. “You’re Going to Lose All of Your Customers”

Even if the content is interesting, this just annoys people.

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