Why Clickbait Works? The How and Why of Clickbait

As the name suggests, Clickbait is a headline or a thumbnail that acts as bait to attract readers to click on the link. The question is- why is it considered bad? A clickbait is just a content strategy used to get those clicks and page views. What makes it worse is the people behind the content. Often, content providers end up not delivering their promises and providing bad content. Why clickbait works then?!

The thing is, when done appropriately, it can be used as a good way to gain attention for your content. Here is why you should be using clickbait headlines for your content.

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How Clickbait works?

The answer to this question is really simple. Click baiting works on the principle of manipulation. Content providers structure clickbait headlines in a way that pique the curiosity of the readers. It takes advantage of our behavioral science. Most of the authors design clickbait headlines to evoke our emotions like fear, anger, excitement, and so on. According to some studies, these emotions play an important role in making us click on certain content.


Articles that start with provoking statements tend to get more clicks and page views in general. That’s why many people find it rather hard to ignore content with headlines like “Do this one thing, and you won’t have to…” or “You won’t believe what happens next…”.

Clickbait contents are often considered bad, but people fail to notice how they provide a momentarily satisfaction to the reader. These contents make us forget our real-life worries, even if it is for a few minutes. As marketers, the whole concept can be a boon for us, depending upon how we decide to use it. If you know that your content is good and worth people’s attention, then using clickbait can be beneficial for you and them.

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The Beginning of Clickbaiting

To know Why clickbait works, one must consider its history. Clickbait has developed a lot of popularity in the past few years, but its ancestor was born in the late 1800s, over two centuries ago !! Yellow journalism of the late 1800s lured readers by publishing sensational news with overly exaggerated headlines. They valued sensationalism over research. Modern-day’s clickbait follows a similar strategy. It helps you get those clicks and page views. But the catch is, sometimes it may provide you read-worthy content.

buzzfeed posts have clickbait-like headings
buzzfeed posts have clickbait-like headings

For example, articles with titles like, “How to earn a hundred dollars a week?”. They may look like clickbait titles. But there’s no denying the hope they give to a lot of people. A good clickbait never lies; it’s the people behind it that do when they fail in delivering their promises.

You can take some ideas from BuzzFeed posts. Their articles contain overly exaggerated headlines and easy-to-read content with numerous cute gifs. There is no lie that they are doing their business like professionals. And that’s why they are so popular and why clickbait works. Using clickbait can help you gain the right audience for your content. You may provide amazing articles and content, but as long as you don’t have something to catch people’s attention or use as bait, it will go unnoticed.

Some common Clickbait examples

Clickbait headlines are often misjudged and considered bad. There is no denying that some are sensationalist and misleading, but they can do wonders in getting clicks and pageviews when used properly. Their catchy headlines is the actual answer to Why clickbait works.

Some of the best clickbait examples are listed below:

“10 Reasons why…”

The first example is a numbered list. This is a very common example of clickbait headlines. They develop a sense of curiosity in the reader’s mind, tempting the reader to click on the content.

common examples of clickbaits
common examples of clickbaits

“11 things you need to know…”

This is also an example of a numbered list, but it is more specific to the reader. It attracts readers to find out more about something of their interest.

Piggyback marketing

This is basically about using a successful brand or company as a reference to your post or content. For example, “Microsoft shares ten tips….”.

clickbait marketing
clickbait marketing

This can help you grab a lot of attention and clicks.

“You won’t believe….”

These often come under bad clickbait headlines, but when done appropriately with proper description, they can help your content get the attention it deserves. While also increasing the productivity of your work.

These are some examples that you can use for your website to grab people’s attention without threatening your site’s reputation.

How to use Clickbait headlines?

Clickbait has one motive- to attract readers to click on a particular link by using tempting headlines and thumbnails. A good clickbait is when your content does justice to the headline. Providing read-worthy content and then using a catchy headline as bait to draw people can help you stand out as a content marketer.

Pyxis Social helps make your clickbaits work
Pyxis Social helps make your clickbaits work

Sometimes using clickbait-y headlines is not enough to draw attention to your content. You may need to post your content and promote your website on a lot of social media platforms. As a content marketer, using social media is a must, and for that, you can use sites like PyxisSocial. It’s a one-stop solution for all your marketing needs, like handling social media, SEO, content strategy, etc. It helps you capitalize on your social media in the correct way possible.

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Today, clickbait is viewed negatively because of the bad kind of clickbait present on the Internet in abundance and the people who use it in the wrong way. There is nothing wrong with using clickbait headlines or thumbnails. If you have faith in your content and you think it can help others, then using clickbait can only do good for you. Don’t think Why clickbait works or not, try it for yourself!

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