Clickbait. We know it. We love it. We hate it. We nonetheless click on it. Anyone who has been online in the last decade is probably all too familiar with clickbait. The word itself is a pejorative term for content that is aimed at generating a quick buck without caring much about accuracy, quality or anything else. The key is to lure in the reader, usually with a sensational headline, and basically do anything at all to make sure that reader clicks.
Somehow clickbait has taken over the Internet. In 2016 it seems to be totally ubiquitous and almost impossible to escape. This is probably largely down to a journalistic change in incentives. Many online publications offer their writers payment that consists of a flat fee plus a commission per clicks. At its center this focuses on the heart of most online content today – keeping readers interested. The more clicks, the more people are interested, the more money can be generated. The problem is that clickbait has become something that panders to the lowest common denominator. It has moved very far away from journalistic morality and has shifted the focus of writing to trivia and nonsense rather than real news.
Apart from anything else, clickbait is incredibly irritating, yet it seems to have become the default language of the digital world. There are increasing ways of producing it and various strategies of getting precious clicks. These include cat GIFS, missing words in story headlines and never-ending quizzes. It’s actually hard to remember a time when an endless stream of clickbait didn’t exclusively define the online world.
But all of this might be changing. There is now a growing backlash against the clickbait culture. This movement has seen readers across platforms demanding a return to real reporting and a move away from trash stories designed only to manipulate users into clicking. The movement was mainly grassroots but now that seems to be changing too. Facebook has changed the face of clickbait by rolling out an anti-clickbait algorithm. With the anti-clickbait movement now working on a top-down and bottom-up basis, perhaps the face of journalism online really will be undergoing a transformation.
And if you want to do your part to move away from aggressive clickbait type advertising to more effective forms of connecting with your users there are some simple things you can do. For starters, you can use native advertising which is much less intrusive and organically refers users to adverts related to the content they are actually interested in. Another way of joining the anti-clickbait movement (albeit on a small scale) is to focus on generating quality content.
Now quality content is often too time-consuming or expensive to generate in the quantities that might be needed. However, there are a few helpful shortcuts. The main one is to shift away from brand generated content towards user-generated content. Not only is it less work intensive, it is also more authentic. In essence, it is the polar opposite of clickbait. And what can you do to start generating authentic high-quality user content? The answer is simple; find a fun and easy to use platform where your readers can comfortably share their thoughts questions and opinions on your website, business, product or service.
Heyoya is a unique comment and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
For more information about Heyoya, click here.