How Clickbait Can (not) Grow Your Brand

Posted by Ka-Lok Ho

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Marketing should be helpful. Content marketing should strengthen brand loyalty. The fastest way to destroy any of this is clickbait.

10 ways to _______ 

This one trick that will _______ 

Why you need this  ________


Listicles, ‘life-hacks’ and too good to be true promises; clickbait is a practice in disappointment, the value pay-off is rarely ever what the title professes.


One of my predictions for content in 2019 will be a drastic increase in content quality from brands.

Audiences have become wise to clickbait through too many disappointed experiences, and brands are now picking up on this.

When there are so many other options and so much noise fighting for attention, your customers have developed an efficient spam filter.

Clickbait attention is stolen attention. Stolen attention is not a true connection. 

Through these (click)bait and switch experiences, consumers have become more protective of their trust. The hope now is, yes, to still get their attention, but first get their permission for attention and hope that they can spare your brand some trust too. 

This can be achieved through better content – honest, helpful and relevant content that align with their beliefs and assist them in getting them closer to achieving their goals. Then perhaps you will have a successful engagement.

YouTube and blogs running off ads are a big culprit of the clickbait movement. When CTR’s and views were the algorithm that determined what content was popular, and Adsense dollars were given per impression as opposed to per engagement and view through rate (VTR).

Brands will buck the trend of clickbait, the smart ones already have.

However, YouTubers will still use this tactic moving forward, as they’re fundamentally different. You can argue that some YouTubers are also brands trying to build trust, but the difference is their agenda ostensibly isn’t as apparent as their content falls under entertainment. In other words, when a customer clicks on your clickbait content, they’re aware you’re a brand, they’re aware you ultimately are trying to close them into some sort of a sale if not now, in the future. 

You don’t have the same permission to convince them that behind all the smoke and mirrors, you might be a good business. And if you’re trying to convince anyone in the first place, you’re probably doing it wrong.

It’s easy to fool yourself into believing clickbait is still an efficient tool by measuring the wrong metrics. Sure your click through rate is incredibly high, but are your conversions low in correlation? Maybe your brand recognition is fantastic through your relentless awareness ads, but is that always a great thing?

I’m sure there are brands you have a disdain for that you know as well as the brands you love simply because of their marketing, ads, or ethos.

‘No such thing as bad press’ is a thing of the past in a world where a scathing review is less than one click away, as it’ll pop up when they Google your brand or it’ll appear in one of their many feeds anyway.

Are your customers engaging with you? Are you making a true connection? Or are you just stealing cheap attention?


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