5 Reasons I Hate Clickbait (Number 4 Will Shock You!)
Actually, this isn’t going to be a list. Because…I want to keep you on your toes. Or because the title was meant to be ironic and I’m too lazy to actually follow through. My goal is simply to talk about my love/hate relationship with clickbait, and how it ties in with what we do at Element Studio.
First of all, I don’t hate clickbait as it should be. In some form, clickbait is necessary. When you create something, you want it to be seen. So it’s important to do what you can to make people want to check it out. At Element, we know this very well. We’re constantly trying to find ways to catch people’s interest so they will watch the videos we make for our clients. However, there’s a line. And it's crossed ALL the time.
We see it all over the place. We can’t even check the weather without being bombarded with “WATCH CITY DISAPPEAR IN SECONDS” or “WATCH: CRAZY CLOSE CALL”. There’s always an overly dramatic, vague title that sets you up to be horribly disappointed. It’s all over YouTube and on the sidebar of practically every website. Sidenote: I’ve never found out why dermatologists hate that woman who looks like she’s peeling dried Elmer’s glue off of her face.
Clickbait is all over the Internet. And it kind of makes sense when you think about it.There have never been so many options for entertainment and information as there are at this point in history. People have to find a way to get their content noticed in the midst of all of the noise out there. The worst part is, the amount of content is only going to grow. So, it makes sense that the amount of clickbait will also grow. Just think about how bad it’s gotten over time. Clickbait in some form has been around for ages. But can you imagine if it was this bad 100 years ago?
The point is, it’s gotten much worse over time, and that trend will probably continue. Again, let me clarify that clickbait is not inherently bad. Only when the titles are inaccurate, manipulating, and overly dramatic is it an issue. It’s gotten so bad that trust of the Internet is at an all-time low. I don’t have data to prove this, but I think most would agree with me.
So, at Element, when we create content, we try to find a healthy medium. We want to catch people’s attention with our content, but in an accurate way. And if we’re being honest, coming up with interesting titles is not our forte. For example, we entered a bunch of our titles into an online title analyzer and got failing grades on almost all of them...so we should work on that. In the meantime, we rely on eye-catching thumbnails for our videos to do most of the work. But coming up with great titles is definitely something we, and I’m sure most other content creators, think about all the time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, clickbait, in some form, is necessary. But you should never title something that the content can’t live up to. The title needs to be interesting, but it also needs to be accurate. We can't control what others do with their content, but hopefully as everyone wises up to it, it will no longer be effective. That's the only way it's going to stop.
- Trevor Davis