In the last couple of years, content providers like buzzfeed have come up with a new sort of content. It's absolutely useless to the majority of viewers but for some reason, it still gets viewed. Alot.
Like... seriously. A. LOT.
Fondly referred to as clickbait, reminiscent of a digital fisherman, reeling in an audience member, clickbait has plagued homefeeds across many, if not all, social platforms. From the second you see it, you know it's barely going to add value to your life but hey, you've got a lot of work to finish and it's better to get the procrastination in now, rather than later.
Two hours later, you find yourself watching videos of cats singing in a barbershop quartet and your deadline is all but forgotten.
But hey! You at least you know what the 87 year old's secret to weightloss is.
Spoiler: It's eating a balanced diet. Shocker.
If it's so horrible, why does it work?
Pretty simple. People are gullible. It's a sad little fact of today's world. The other reason that bolsters this is that people are almost always bored. When's the last time you went on Facebook because you were interested in doing something?
It spreads like mayonnaise!
This has always boggled me. If it's so horrible, WHY DOES IT GET SO MUCH RECEPTION D@MNIT!?!
The only thing I can think of is that, it sorta hacks the algorithm that social media platforms use to present viewers with related material. Clickbait generates clicks. That's a given - but very few people actually like or share (compared to the number of clicks) however, the sheer brute force ability of getting millions upon millions of (disappointed) clicks sends the content hurtling through cyberspace, plaguing homefeeds. Basically, it gets the algorithm to think, "Hey if this many people viewed this content, there must be something worth seeing" and publishes the content as relevant to other home feeds - and the result is exponential.
You'd never believe the secret ingredient to this asymmetrical burger!
Spoiler: It's Mayo
To better understand this, lets make a teeny tiny assumption. Say every time someone viewed clickbait, the post gets published on two other's homefeed and those two generate two more unique views each so the total number of views would go up by powers of 2. 2, 4, 6, 8, 16 and so on. 30 such repetitions in, 1,073,741,824 have seen the post. That's 1 billion people!
It's other people's content
It's about how you wouldn't believe what this teen genius did with a cardboard box or what this Japanese octogenarian did for the first time. It's about other people. This saves the trouble of having to create fresh content and is really just writing a concise, descriptive article with a headline that blows the content WAY out of proportion with source links included, of course.
This company creates content in the best possible way! Number 4 blew my mind!
They aren't long term and add little value
They sort of leave you with a "Huh. That's nice" feeling - which is quite a let down from all the hype the topic brought around and you'll probably never bookmark it and go back to it. It's always quantity and not quality - it doesn't matter if audience doesn't return for that article as long as they return for other articles. This all roots back to the purpose of clickbait. It's about getting a mind-boggling AMOUNT of content out, not to have mind-boggling content.
So how did Clickbait come to be?
Generating website visitors which, in turn, generates revenue. Not every article gets a million views but having 10 articles that get 100,000 views are just as good and this really boils back to clickbait articles being short and built off other people's content. Having to churn out proverbial tonnes of articles a day means there isn't very much space for creative thinking so do away with coming up with the content altogether. Paraphrase, Title and cite.
What's the money like?
Well if your CPC (cost-per-click) is $0.25 and you get 400,000 clicks per year, then 400,000*0.25 means you get $100,000 an year. Considering that buzzfeed commands 5 billion clicks A MONTH, at the same values, buzzfeed would make $ 15 billion. But buzzfeeds current worth is put down at roughly $1.5 billion so it's CPC is definitely far less that $0.25 but if you're getting 60 billion clicks an year, who cares right?
If there's anything you want to know more about, talk to us!
You'd never believe- okay okay, I'll stop.