Clickbait, also written as click bait, is online content that uses sensationalized headlines and text descriptions to tempt a person into clicking to view the original web article at the source publication. Clickbait tends to spread quickly through social media and sharing sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Clickbait is Revenue
Each click through and view of the source article typically generates advertisement-based revenue for the publication. The more clicks an article receives, the more revenue earned. For this reason, clickbait is designed to attract a large number of readers and rarely uses quality guidelines and researched sources. Some clickbait articles will use a large number of images or video clips spread over multiple pages to further increase the number of clicks by the user. Each page in the clickbait will contain multiple advertisements.
Clickbait Headlines and Content
The headline of a clickbait article is the most important element. Clickbait headlines are often written to manipulate feelings or grab attention. For example, the headline may raise emotions of anger (“You’ll be outraged at what happened to this little girl”). Other types of clickbait are cleverly designed to make people curious (“This man found a sealed envelope. You won’t believe what was inside!”).
Often, the clickbait headline and content is of a sensational, provocative or controversial nature. These types of headlines, along with eye-catching images and social media sharing and commenting are all common elements of clickbait.
Clickbait Examples (Facebook search)