What makes you stop endlessly scrolling and click on a piece of content on social media? Let’s be honest... in this era of fake news and online drama, it’s probably clickbait. If used correctly clickbait is a fantastic way to get your audience's attention.

Clickbait is just a new adaptation of traditional marketing strategies:

  1. Attract: Gain a stranger’s attention on a social media post, blog post or web page. Make them curious to find out more about your message.
  2. Convert: Using a call to action, encourage this stranger to visit your web page, sign up for your email list or read your blog post! They have now become a visitor of your business and are no longer a stranger.
  3. Close: Convert this visitor into a customer by showing that your product or service can fulfil their needs.
  4. Delight: Now that you have gained a new customer. Form a lasting relationship with them, they will then be more likely to promote your business to other potential customers.

Your potential customers are seeing hundreds and hundreds of social media messages daily. This is known as clutter, in order to cut through this clutter you must create messages that catch your audience’s attention at the right time and place. So how can we use clickbait to do this? Let’s look at a good example from everyone’s favourite website:

Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Buzzfeed is really good at clickbait. Your article may be on the most boring topic in the world but using a clickbait headline you will get clicks, this is exactly what buzzfeed does. The first article “23 Things That’ll Make You Say, ‘Hey, Maybe The World Isn’t Such A Terrible Place.” We would be lying if we said that we didn’t want to click on this! But why do we want to click on it?

Numbers (You Will Not BELIEVE Number 8!!)

The use of numbers in the title is a classic form of clickbait. The best or funniest pieces of content are left until last, to keep you reading, just like any good book or movie. This article has left the cute animals till last, classic!


Humans seem to be obsessed with the world being a terrible place. We will click on anything that seems awful and find out how humans have made this awful situation better. We all love a hero, even if it is just a teacher making his students sandwiches before an exam. Buzzfeed knows that their audience are regular people that want to see other regular people do good things, that is why this piece of content works great!


This is the image used below the headline to encourage you to click on the article. Buzzfeed here uses two images our favourite sandwich making teacher! This is used as it is one of the most heartwarming stories featured in the article. It is also featured halfway through the article… so you have to read 4 other stories before you can find out more about Mr Johnston. The text used in the thumbnail provides the context and changes the image of a man making sandwiches in a school into an emotional story, making us want to click.

Call To Action

At the end of the article you are encouraged to share it on social media or add a comment. Meaning that you can promote the article to your friends and family, sound familiar?

We can act as smart and professional as we like but at the end of the day we are simple creatures with short attention spans. Clickbait works by dumbing down topics into a language we can all understand, emotions. Whether it’s love, anger, jealousy or greed we love reading about the extremes, as a form of escapism from our mundane lives. Wow… who knew clickbait could be so deep.

As a marketer you have the power to gain your audience’s attention using clickbait, to gain engagement on your content we recommend you include it as a part of your social media strategy.

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