The art of clickbait: 7 good ways to use clickbait—must read!

Examples of clickbait

What is Clickbait?

Clickbait is any content (video thumbnails, article headlines, etc.) designed to capitalize on our curiosity gap and attract internet users (viewers and readers) to click on web content from news articles to blog posts, infographics, videos, and more. Links that lead to content of uncertain value or interest are usually called clickbait. The content is often misrepresented or overpromised, leading readers to expect more than they will receive.


The hate on Clickbait

We cannot make up for the few minutes we wasted while waiting for the video about aliens to include the specific alien we saw in the thumbnail, nor can we be more upset about how insignificant “…number eleven will surprise you” is. Clickbait tends to damage the reputation of brands in the long run, so it is only effective for short-term boosts in clicks for those who use it.

What makes a clickbait a clickbait

If the content underdelivers when compared to the title, it is clickbait. We can’t have an overarching judgment that all good titles that generate clicks are click baits, as what makes a title a clickbait shouldn’t be judged by the title alone. That leads to…


Legitbait is seen as clickbait that is enticing, but does not mislead the user. It is legitimate and delivers on what it promises to show. Also known as Type I clickbait, the term was originally suggested by Brady Haran (Numberphile on YouTube).

How to Legitbait

  1. Don’t lie. Provide your audience with the truth, and avoid misinformation.
  2. Exploit the curiosity gap. Provide just enough information to pique your audience’s interest and make them click.
  3. Deliver on your promise. Clickbait’s biggest problem is the content doesn’t always live up to the promises made in the title. Your audience will stop interacting with your brand if they feel they can’t trust your claims.
  4. Use numbers in your headlines. Numbers give your audience a sense of progress and actionable steps to achieve the goal of learning from your content. Additionally, numbered lists make it easier for readers to scan content and digest it.
  5. Test and analyze. Pay attention to your data. Test your clickbait headlines against other headlines to see which ones perform better. Don’t waste your time and energy on a strategy that won’t work.
  6. Write for more than clicks. The headline is just the beginning. What matters most is the quality of your content as a whole. The headline may attract readers, but the content will keep them on your page — it’s all about the attention economy.
  7. Provide more direct, plain, and descriptive information. Attention is more fragile than ever. The majority of readers skim, and most viewers skip your video if it is dull for the first few minutes (or seconds).

Mildly interesting



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Ahmed Arigbabu

Ahmed Arigbabu

Developer and user experience designer with a keen interest in cognitive and behavioral sciences, philosophy, and how things work.