Teasing the social media audience just enough to compel them to click on the post to get the rest of the content promised in the tease.
I don't like it.
It's too antisocial.
Take the above Facebook example. "Unreal photobomb occurs at surf competition". The photo in the post is a stock image of an ocean. Wouldn't it make sense for the photo in the post about a photo to BE THE ACTUAL PHOTO?!
Instead, if we want to see the real photo, not the fake photo, we have to click through to the site. That's click-baiting.
The site wants traffic so it can capture the browser's interest in hopes of building brand association and loyalty. It also wants traffic so it can sell advertising on the site.
I get it.
Doesn't mean I have to like it.
Here's the antisocial part. They're using a social experience (in this case Facebook) for purely promotional means. They're engaging in tactics designed to boost revenue, within the social channel. That's not what the social channel is for! People already hate Facebook for the advertising they allow on the site (again, see image above), and now we add this advertising-tactic-in-disguise to the experience?
Imagine you're at a party and one of the guests says "Hey, I've got a great joke! But to hear it, you have to come to my place". That's bad social behaviour, and it's no different than click-baiting on social media.
What can we do about it? As social media participants we can ignore it, we can choose not to click, and we can accept the fact that it's happening. Web sites gotta make money, and they're going to use whatever means possible.
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
But as marketers, we can make change! Post the photo! Give away the content! Make your audience so happy to have immediate access to entertaining, enriching and enjoyable content that they will use THAT as the reason to engage with your site. Who knows, it may even be more effective than click-baiting in the first place!
What do you think? Is it a necessary evil for marketers starved for opportunities to engage with an audience? Or is it antisocial behaviour that needs to be combatted?
NOTE: Facebook is combatting this issue to the extent that they can. But it will be hard for them. Here's an article explaining their plan to stop... or at least diminish... click-baiting.
This blog is written by Glenn Cressman, Share Of Marketing's founder and Chief Share Builder (bio). It covers all things marketing. Feel free to comment!