Content marketing's clickbait problem is fueled by addiction to clicks

POSTED BY Greg Keating ON Apr 13, 2015 9:06:00 AM

Clickbait might get a boost in page views but could be harming your brand and reputation while taking the time to create valuable content can form a relationship with your customers.


Content marketing has a clickbait problem.

Spend any amount of time on the Internet, and those promoted stories start popping up. They're not particularly subtle.

"Putting a girl in a bikini, putting a cut cate picture -- all the tactics that get you to click on promoted content -- but that is clearly just click-baiting you into something you didn't expect," said Peyman Nilforoush, CEO and co-founder of inPowered, which helps companies promote stories on the Internet.

Clickbait has recently become a flashpoint, with Facebook announcing a crackdown on it, and BuzzFeed proclaiming that it "doesn't do" clickbait.

It's an issue that is well-recognized in the marketing community. Barry Feldman, an online marketing consultant, said the promotion of clickbait has as much to do with poor-quality content, as it does with tricking users into clicking.

"Every media channel and the content delivered through it is littered with painfully high levels of crap. For the consumers of the media, it's a nuisance we must (and have learned to) live with," Feldman told Mashable in an email. "The real owners of the problem are the brands publishing the junk. They fail to make deposits in the trust bank, so their credibility takes a beating."

The classic definition of clickbait -- an article that doesn't end up delivering on its headline or photo -- has expanded to include this kind of "crap" content. Nilforoush said content marketers frequently change headlines and photos on articles that they are promoting to attract more clicks.

The result is a decline in effectiveness. Internet users have caught on, and bounce away quickly as a result. Nilforoush said 33% of users who click on promoted content tend to leave before 15 seconds, and less than one-fourth scroll down the page, according to Chartbeat, which provides real-time analytics for publishers and media-content creators. In comparison, 71% of users scroll down regular editorial content.

A major issue is the reliance on clicks as a metric. Many content creators have already moved away from clicks in favor of metrics, such as shares and time spent on a page. Content marketers have been a bit slower.

"It's totally an issue with how we're measuring it," said marketing consultant Brian Honigman. "If you solely base your metrics for success on one measurement, it's going to be flawed."

In an attempt to shift away from this model, Nilforoush said inPowered is changing how it charges customers, from clicks, to shares and time spent. He sees the move as necessary to avoid the pitfalls of other, now defunct online advertising strategies.

"Over time, you're losing trust, and as a result, you're not going to click," he said. "And native will go the route of banner ads."

Read more from the source: Mashable

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