The so-called clickbait is a practice that consists of making up the headline of a news and thus inducing the reader to enter its content to read everything. It comprises, together with fake news, one of the phenomena strongly related to information and the present, paradoxically called the “information age”.
It would be, in general terms, like a transliteration of journalistic sensationalism (saving distances) to the Internet .
Among the techniques used by web pages that use this method of manipulation, we find exaggeration, playing with the reader’s ailments (not only with their sexual option, but for any subject), the mystery that glimpses the headline as if just reading the content we could access insider information and certain natural fears.
Generally, after reading the news that is often not expected, the reader feels cheated.
In this technique to get hits, a good headline must be powerful and attractive to induce the reader to click through to see your content, which is what matters most. In the end, what is sought is to “sell” irrelevant content at a gold price, to give it a higher relevance than it actually corresponds.
It works for several factors, both for the techniques of writing titles and for the low educational level to be a consumer of content that has many internet users.
The truth is that many of us (and whoever writes these lines is no exception, but I try to be selective with what I read) were not educated to select what we want to consume in terms of current affairs and we easily fall into the networks of telebasura (term Spanish derogatory meaning junk tv) and on clickbait.
For, after all, if before I compared this practice with the journalistic sensationalism, its transposition from the media communication for audiovisual reflected in “telebasura”, which often has the clickbait as a direct heir.
And it’s not because a click on a headline necessarily leads to general and absolutely irrelevant news, but its real relevance compared to what the headline sells us is very different.
A widely used resource is to resort to the phrase “what happened next will surprise you to complete the headline”.
This sentence is like a synthesis of the clickbait philosophy: generate in the reader a reaction of need to access the content.
Let’s imagine any minimally spectacular headline with this note, for example, imagine that on a rainy day a person records a video with his smartphone of a woman dragged through the water of a flood resulting from a clogged manhole and ends up colliding with a parked car. There’s nothing curious here other than the detachable, right?
In fact, if I were a journalist and they passed me a notice like this, I very much doubt I would publish it. Now, however, let’s do a clickbait exercise and write a headline to make such “news” catchy and clickable:
“Almost killed! A woman is dragged by the rain! And look what happened later, you’ll be surprised!”
Well, honestly: just reading the headline, wouldn’t you be curious to know what happened to this poor woman?
Certainly, reading the “news” you would ask yourself how to justify the headline. Well, maybe I would say that the woman was lucky because the car was parked and not moving and so nothing worse happened.
Annoying, right? Yeah, but they managed to sell a headline that doesn’t match the body of the news. Of course it corresponds to the essence of what happened (a woman is swept away by the rain, but if you weren’t surprised by what happened next… well, not everyone is surprised by the same).
Justified? Absolutely, but the means that clickbait undoubtedly consider it justified.
Clickbait often takes advantage of absurd and humorous events, that is, simple or funny facts that would only serve to post on YouTube, or, for those who write, it becomes something pseudo newsworthy.
In fact, in many cases, what we read is based precisely on these videos posted on YouTube, or on real stories that oversize the headlines.
Another technique commonly used in clickbait is to make lists that include, for example, a photo for each element, placing each photo on a different page and even linking them.
This way, and even the Internet user not going through the entire list, the medium can get more views on the page.
An example would be the before and after of 10 Hollywood actors and actresses who had cosmetic surgery . Here the content doesn’t deceive, it’s what sells and, in fact, the list can contain more than a dozen examples, it’s something that doesn’t matter or even benefits.
In this case, attaching the most eye-catching photo to the headline that will appear only as the last element on the list is a common tactic to gain more views on the page.
The reader starts visiting the list thinking that they will soon see the content that seemed to promise the headline, but after 20 or 30 pages looking at other photos, they realize that the promised content is largely hidden and hard to reach.
What is the ultimate goal of clickbait? Get visits, but for what? To earn revenue from advertising.
With more page views, a medium can better sell its ad space by simply displaying its numbers, in addition, it can earn more revenue through clicks on ads because this increases the chances of a reader clicking on one of the ads displayed in their ads. pages.
It is also intended that readers share this content on social networks, but in some cases they are deceived and end up clicking on some element to share, even Facebook putting an end to these practices.
To promote these clickbait contents, the bottom parts of the web pages are often used, which are linked to various contents of this type.