The history and acceptance of Clickbait

The history and acceptance of Clickbait

What is clickbait exactly?

In the traditional sense, clickbait refers to an exaggerated piece of text backed up by an image in most cases. The piece of content is highly sensationalized and misleading in nature. Click baits draw the attention of the audience due to their intriguing nature. For example, would you click on a video titled “You will never believe what happened…” or “A day in my life.” If you are someone drawn to the former, then the fact remains that click baits as a concept are definitely working!

Although clickbait has garnered popularity recently, the fact of the matter remains that it has been around for quite a few decades! Yellow journalism, its forerunner, was established more than a century ago. Yellow journalism is news that is sensationalized to pique the reader’s interest.

Let us explore the history of click baits and how they came to be

A brief history of clickbait

Back in the day, newspapers competed for circulation figures in the nineteenth century, much like social media sites compete for viewers now. During the 1880s, The New York World and The New York Journal were neck-deep in Yellow Journalism. They were competing to improve their sales by publishing increasingly absurd headlines. To outdo the other, they came up with bizarre and over-exaggerated headlines that were often misleading in nature.

If you have reached here and are still wondering what Yellow Journalism means? The word Yellow journalism stems from an old comic strip that appeared in the New York World. The comic strip was referred to as the “Yellow Kid.” The yellow kid was used as a medium to distribute news and was highly popularised. The information was often meant to sway public opinion and discredit other newspapers. 

A look inside: Evolution of clickbait

Now that we have covered a brief history lesson on how click baits originated let us explore how they evolved over the years. Although the word clickbait has a negative connotation, its usage has become widespread among social media influencers and netizens worldwide.

Click baits were soon enough adopted by influencers all over and became a new norm on social media. People started noticing how they were being lured into watching videos on their YouTube and Facebook feeds. The video titles were completely over-exaggerated and supported by a video thumbnail.

Gradually, people started to utilize such click baits more smartly and suitably. Instead of coming up with entirely misleading captions and images, they began to use subtle but effective ways to lure their followers and viewers into clicking on a piece of content. 

Let us read a few examples of clickbait to get a better understanding of the subject: 

Imagine you find yourself scrolling through your socials, and you are presented with these titles –

  • “You will not believe who I met at the mall?!” vs. “I met x celebrity at the mall.”
  • “Something bizarre happened to me today” vs. “A day in my life.”

As you can tell, the former titles tend the lure a larger audience. They sound intriguing and would cause users to stop scrolling down their endless feed and click on the video itself. This does not mean that we come up with baseless titles unrelated to the actual video itself. 

Why do click baits work?

We are all wired to be curious creatures as humans. Click baits tap into that part of human psychology as they pique the curiosity of people consuming such content. People usually look to learn something new or watch something engaging and exciting. If used ethically, it will most definitely help you reach a larger audience and help impart your knowledge and content to them. 

Boost your social media presence 

Suppose you manage to effectively incorporate click baits into your social media strategy, chances are that your content will reach out to more people. An effective clickbait strategy is what you need to boost your content. 

Fear, disgust, joy, sadness, anger, and surprise are six primary emotions linked to social-friendly content. These emotions, which are based on prominent psychologist Paul Ekman’s work, are widely regarded as the ultimate checklist for content creators looking to influence their audience’s emotions. These emotions coupled with an enticing headline and supporting graphic is a recipe for a successful clickbait. 

Secure better engagement 

Making the headlines or captions of your videos more personal will help you engage your audience. As discussed previously, click baits play on the primary emotions of people; hence making headlines more personal will help attract more attention to your content. If you scroll through your socials, you will notice how clickbait headlines or captions include a personal story attached to it. Example: “Storytime – Finally meeting my crazy stalker.” As you can see, such captions have a personal story and emotion associated with them. The key is to understand your viewers and modify your click baits in a way that is suitable and attractive to them. This will keep them engaged with your future content and create a loyal follower base as well. 

Tips and tricks to create the perfect clickbait

Even though we have been told to never judge a book by its cover, often, it is impossible to abide by this proverb. Hence let us understand a few tips you can use to create a recipe for success. Graphic content and text-based content are the two major components that comprise a clickbait. To finesse your game, you must be able to strike the right balance between the two.

Visuals and graphics 

A video thumbnail is the first thing that pops up when scrolling through your endless social media feeds. An attractive video thumbnail is thus all the more critical if you want your first impression to have a lasting effect on your viewers. Speaking about thumbnails, it is essential to ensure that the content within your video also conforms to the thumbnail and caption you decide to spend a reasonable amount of time on. 

To ensure that your viewers return to your future videos, it is advisable to avoid coming up with misleading titles with no correlation to your thumbnail. We click on videos based on the visuals we are initially exposed to; hence misleading titles can cause your viewers to brand you as not trustworthy. 

Express the right emotions

An expressive face is something that immediately draws the attention of a user. Thumbnails that are heavy on emotions and showcase a real human face tend to get more attention in general. 

Another key trend that has emerged is the requirement for brands and people to reveal their human side and develop relationships with their customers/audiences. By infusing human character into the material, even technical and seemingly “boring” businesses have the potential to develop connections. Hence expressing emotions is imperative to create that personal touch and connect with your audience. 

Textual content 

Your caption and text are equally important if you want to create a robust clickbait idea. The video title and description, along with the actual image, are where you can add text-based content. It is important to note that overcrowding it with text will not be beneficial due to today’s short attention span. The text on the thumbnail and the video’s title should complement each other rather than duplicate the content. 

An element of surprise and curiosity is what you need to pique the interest of your audience. People often use phrases such as “You won’t believe…”, “Find out how….” as it instantly draws the attention of viewers. It creates an element of suspense for the audience. Although such click baits always tend to work, let me reiterate that your content must not stray away from what your title promotes. 

Now that we have covered the essence of click baits, all creators and aspiring creators can create ethical click baits to support their next masterpiece. You can now create using the Rizzle app with the help of various features available for you to explore. If you found this blog helpful, do leave us a comment and tell us about any practices you found useful! 

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