What is clickbait?
Clickbait consists of attention-grabbing web content headlines that trick the reader into clicking on normally uninteresting content. Many websites use clickbait as a mechanism to gain popularity through higher click-through rates. Clickbait is characterized by a very enticing headline with a hyperlink that, when clicked, points to a website whose content is not nearly as interesting as the headline. Clickbait is therefore seen as a strategy to increase the number of visits to a particular website.
Clickbait is used to direct the user to a page that may require payment, registration, or a series of pages to increase page views for the website. Clickbait works with the principle of the curiosity gap. The clickbait's sensational headline helps pique readers' curiosity and thus get them to click on the link to the website. For example, consider an entertainment website. An example of a non-click link could be, 'See how this celebrity lost 10 pounds in the last month.'
Clickbait headlines for the same story could be:
You will never believe how much weight this celebrity lost in one month!
Celebrity Weight Loss Secrets Finally Revealed!
Shocking Details of This Celebrity's Latest Diet!
Clickbait is essentially bait that websites place for visitors. They are often used in the context of social media marketing. But the rising popularity and ubiquitous nature of clickbait has led many to view it as a dishonest strategy that lives up to the expectations it is building. The term is viewed as a derogatory term that represents a deterioration in the quality of web content. Audiences, whose curiosity has been lured by the catchy headlines, don't find the content worthy enough to satisfy their curiosity.
Many popular news and entertainment sites feature clickbait alongside legal articles. While many websites claim they do not use clickbait and present satisfactory information, general readers consider it a widely used strategy as many social media sites are filled with such hyperlinks.