Steer Clear of Click Bait

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from ogilvydo.com

Every online publication needs visitors to their site and each approach to accomplish this is different. Some devices are appropriate and some unsavory. Where is the line? Native advertising is about making paid advertising feel less intrusive to the user; the less intrusive the more likely they will click on it. Using an approach like click bait can draw in readers but also push them away. Click baiting refers to the practice of showing prospective readers attractive headlines that don’t accurately represent the actual content it is linked to.

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Lure your users in honestly and save the bait for the lake [Source: Flickr/ Derek Gavey/ CC]

Why Use Click-bait?

The motive behind using click bait is to bring in unsuspecting web users for advertising.  The hope is that once you’re on the site after “taking the bait,” you’ll stay to click on other ads popping up and continue reading other stories the site has to offer. Also, when sites receive traffic from click baiting it appears they have more organic visits.

How Does It Affect Users?

While the idea seems good in that you’ll draw in plenty of users, it will damage your sites integrity. If you have tricked and disappointed users, they will be far less likely to click on anything else. Even worse – they may never return to your site in the future. Fooling users does not mean you instantly have new subscribers.

And it’s clearly wearing on some people including HBO host John Oliver. He spoke out about native advertising on his shosw and described the mingling of news and advertising as akin to dipping Twizzlers in guacamole – really gross.

They’re On To It

Many popular social media sites such as Facebook are taking note of click baiting and taking steps to reduce it. They have adjusted the algorithm to measure how long readers actually stay on links they have clicked. Links with short visits are downgraded and shown less. With 665 million active users a day and potential users of your site, you probably want a site like Facebook on your side.

Seen these around? Examples of Click Bait ads Source: thesempost.com
Seen these around? Examples of Click Bait ads [Source: thesempost.com]

The Quality Approach To Native Advertising

It may seem like blurry lines when it comes to good native ads that aren’t going to turn your users away.  As Content Strategist Jusinte Webse states,Unless readers find real value in the content, they won’t hang around long enough to sustain genuine “native” ads that businesses will pay for, nor that will actually work.”

Even conglomerate companies like GE are happy to admit they use native advertising and that it works well for them. “Great content can come from a lot of different places, but funnily enough, it seems to be traditional media can get a little more attention when it comes to native,” GE’s executive director of global brand marketing, Linda Boff said. They have used the “brand as a content creator” trend to transition GE from” just a brand that makes big machines, but rather a brand that cultivates and supports a culture of innovation and invention.”

An example of this working well for them is the collaboration with Jimmy Fallon for a segment called “Fallonventions.”  In this high-profile example of native advertising, GE uses the expected format and flow of a Fallon-hosted show intertwining their segment smoothly into it.

When it comes to your site and the use of native advertising, it’s all about finding a balance. You need to engage your audience but there must be a marketing strategy behind it. Without strategy involved, like any marketing effort, it will fail. Put a couple versions in to test the waters. If performance and reception isn’t where it should be, tweak it. Stick to what your users will want to see, be honest and you won’t need to rely on or even try tricks like click bait.

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Don’t leave your users in the dark with advertising tricks. [Source: Flickr/ Caden Crawford/ CC]

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Written by Desiree Armstrong

Desiree is a Writing, Business and Film graduate from the University of Victoria. She received an Award of Distinction from the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business upon graduation. All through her studies, she worked for UVic Corporate Relations as a Brand Ambassador and was the Director of the non-profit dance company Victoria Dance Theatre. While living in Montreal, she was the Promotions & Marketing Manager for the band Tofu Stravinsky. Now living in Vancouver, Desiree is working as the Marketing Coordinator of NativesAds. Her social media skills are topnotch and she is also a writer with a diverse range from lifestyle & entertainment to advertising & marketing. Additionally, she’s an avid dancer, who loves to take the stage and entertain a crowd.