Click bait,Alex from Target and a whole lot of lies
November 5, 2014
By Matthew Tukaki, Editor of EntreHub
Let’s chat about click bait but first what is it? basically it’s when an organisation or individual makes a post using a photo on social media that often has nothing to do with what it is you ultimately click on – and users of social media are getting sick of it.
Often the image posted alongside a post leads to a site that either tries to sell you something fairly dodgy or is used as a tool to attract followers or likes. Ultimately it is a tool that attempts to hook you before you even know what is happening and, as a result could have implications for you and your computer. Some click bait sites have been known to install malicious software where others will track you using sophisticated cookies.
As social media was first developing and business was trying to understand how to use it properly click bait became the norm with mostly legitimate sites using the technique where the link and image actually did have some kind of correlation with the posted content – however, today the opposite is true so much so that even Facebook has been forced to act.
With more than 1.3 billion using the site Facebook announced two changes earlier this year that would supress links appearing in user news feeds in a system of prioritising the way links are shared.
This came as a result of 80% of users indicated that they “preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.”
Click bait has hit the news again this week as a marketing company began to take credit for the creating a campaign around the “Alex From Target” post via Twitter. The company, called Breakr made the claim in a LinkedIn post today – the problem? The claims are completely unverifiable and may have been used as a form of click bait to attract even more followers to the company’s founder Dil-Domine Jacobe Leonares. Of course this would not be the first time a claim of this nature has been made with viral marketing campaigns being known for using click bait techniques to attract armies of followers – in fact it did see Alex (subject of the tweet) to go from a few hundred followers to more than 500K – and that is a marketers dream.
However, when you look at Alex’s account it does appear to be very genuine and it may just be the case that he is the subject of nothing more than an innocent post being hijacked by a third parties claims. Whatever the case, Breakr sure have milked it for all its worth. The LinkedIn post by Leanores has already attracted more than 14,000 views although the comments sure aren’t complimentary.
Then there are the credentials on his own profile such as the claim he was educated at Harvard. Our background check indicates that it is a lie and as yet we are unable to verify he is in fact a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California.
Of course anyone can make a post using LinkedIn’s new blogging feature and it doesn’t need to be verified so the risk is these articles are also nothing more than a little bit of click bait.
Alex, the man behind the Target photo, has tweeted that he has no idea who these people are and in many ways we have to give him the benefit of the doubt because unlike Leanores he is not claiming to be connected to the Playboy Mansion!
So what of Click bait? The reality is as a marketing tool it is effective if the image aligns with the title that aligns with the content of an article – why? Because consumers and social media tribes are increasingly more intelligent than people give them credit for. It does seem though there are still no end of people trying to get that 7 minutes of fame, those million YouTube hits or 1,000 Facebook likes off the back of a randomly timed image or event …. The key is to use that wisely.
To Alex I say - revel in the fame, ignore the idiots and build on the opportunity that very few get.
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