Click-Bait Advertising : Pros & Cons

As the name suggests click-bait is a marketing tool that baits prospective viewers into watching or reading content using shock tactics. Whether the headline or cover image is funny, scary, or disgusting, marketers appeal to the audience’s curiosity to get them to click the link. Love it or hate it, click-bate has its pros and cons, businesses have to take both the good and bad into consideration when deciding if this tactic is right for their brand. Here are the positives and negatives of click-bait, read at your own risk. (See what we did there… click-bait)





Most people acknowledge that click-bate is at best misleading, but at worst a flat-out lie. For some brands and their audiences, sensationalism is expected; however, for other brands knowingly misleading their audience is damaging to the company. Brands that use click-bait tend to cultivate distrust and suspicion among their audience; after all who likes to be tricked into viewing something that is not as advertised. For example, news outlets walk a very thin line when it comes to click-bait; while BuzzFeed and The Onion gets a pass when it comes to sensationalism, The New York Times and The Washington Post is not allotted the same leniency. Misleading click-bait can ruin the relationship between a brand and its audience, businesses have to gauge their audience’s reaction to click-bait content before deciding to employ it as a marketing tactic.


Everyone knows that the purpose of click-bait is to amass the most clicks… but do the clicks really matter? When someone opens click-bait content only to find that what they thought was one thing ends up being something else, the content is relatively ineffective. For example, blogs that measure the time it takes for someone to read through the content from start to finish have reported users that clicked on click-bait content didn’t stay on the page long enough to read even a fraction of the blog. Simply getting a user to click on your link is no longer how brands measure their content’s success.




Page Views

If bring people to your site is your company’s primary goal, then click-bait is a strong tactic! Usually, people see a funny header and try to find the source. A user can only assume that by going to the website of a brand that has interesting headers, they will find similar content that’s also interesting. The trick is to not disappoint them, make sure your brand is consistent. When a user views your page, they should be able to easily find more content that’s up to par with the content that got them there in the first place.

Social Shares

The more outlandish the headline is, the more likely people are going to share it.. with or without reading it first. Some would argue, social engagement is the most favorable outcome of click bate. Creating a share-worthy headline or picture can garner a lot of engagement on social media, especially among millennials. It’s also important to note that, while a good headline can get people through the door, so to speak, it doesn’t mean they’re going to stay. Catchy click-bait is only half the struggle, good content is the other half.


As we’ve seen, there are pros and cons to using click-bait as your content marketing strategy.  Only you can decide whether the potential gains are worth the risks to your brand’s identity.