This jaw-dropping article will knock you out of your chair. Wait until you read the whole thing. It’s chilling! You will positively not believe the words you read.
Wait for it…it’s a heart-stopping moment…
Clickbait doesn’t work.
Over the past year or two, native advertising has come of age to become a critical component of any comprehensive content marketing effort. As with any innovation, there was a trial period when publishers and advertisers learned what works for securing high-quality traffic to websites — what doesn’t.
There was a period of time when native advertising hung its hat on clicks as a metric for success. What happened after that click? That wasn’t as important.
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So, in order to feed the “click monkey,” clickbait would be used to draw visitors in with sensational headlines that were often not relevant to the content itself. These types of clickbait tactics would lure visitors with excessive expectations, manipulation, and sex while delivering little or no information about the topic at hand.
But as with any marketing gimmick, the results of this tactic were short-lived at best. At worst, they created distrust for advertising and brands. Audiences don’t like irrelevant content and, more importantly, they do not like to be misled.
Visitors vote with their browsers and if a link effectively (but disingenuously) lures them to a site, they bounce out. What good is traffic that doesn’t stick?
The advertising industry has learned from this experience and, with the maturity of native advertising, has reached agreement on certain ethical standards. But ethics aside, the effectiveness of ads must be measured by more than clicks alone: the key is whether visitors stay around and engage with the content itself.
For native advertising to succeed, visitors cannot feel like they’re being tricked. Media outlets are adjusting to this reality as well:
Advertisers that still think clickbait is the way to go should look at their traffic data: how high are the bounce rates? Do visitors leave for other pages? Do they get routed through “conversion funnels?”
Clickbait-free content may reduce traffic, but the visitors it does receive are more likely to be engaged and interested.
Still, there is another side to this coin. In an age of native advertising maturity, marketers may be too quick to avoid exciting content or titles altogether. Any news organization will tell you that boring, clinical headlines are not effective at all; they must describe the content while enticing the reader.
People don’t want to be tricked, but they also don’t want to be bored — so we should aim for a balance between sensationalized headlines and watered-down summaries.
Ask yourself: what headline/image combo will grab readers’ attention by being both interesting and authentic?
On that note, here are five tips for native ad headlines:
- Use questions. Audiences respond well to “how” or “why” headlines.
- Choose emotional words and intriguing adjectives.
- Select interesting images that stand out while relating the core messages of the content within
- Entertain and use humor whenever possible.
- Be honest and authentic — in other words, human.
Don’t succumb to the lure of clickbait.
Native advertisements are meant to fit into the audience’s experience as seamlessly as possible, and the fact that readers click on something doesn’t mean it’s good.
Remember why you’re producing this work in the first place: to reach your target audience.
Everything is just…you know.