Home Hot Takes From the Zoo IN FOCUS: Clickbait Techniques

IN FOCUS: Clickbait Techniques

We’ve all been there. That feeling of wanting to commit seppuku for dishonouring our family names by clicking on some obvious clickbait. Deep down you knew it was going to be a steaming pile of shit but you clicked anyway – the shame. 

Jazz it up by association – this is a real humdinger. Say someone isn’t particularly newsworthy themselves but they once attended Liam Hemsworth’s second cousin’s dog trainer’s birthday party. 

Suddenly, the story isn’t about “Geoff” (some no-name pervert) filming inside a school bathroom, it’s about a “Hemsworth party goer” getting caught being a filth-merchant. Seamless. 

Neglect to include city or country – these always stand out a little bit because you are racking your brain as to why it isn’t headlining news. 20 men decapitated on local beach! Holy smokes – the news agency has Australia in its name. 

Naturally, the photo won’t offer any clues either. It’s not until maybe the 2nd paragraph that you realise it’s all been another devious ruse. Yet another story about Tijuana – which ironically, would be more newsworthy if there WASN’T a brutal cartel murder for a day. 

Buzzwords – Bizarre reason for this gruesome find! You’ve all been there. 2 hangover wanks down and mindlessly scrolling on your phone – you just need to feel alive for a second. So you click. 

Sadly, you soon find that the reason isn’t bizarre (he normally takes the garbage out on Monday night rather than Monday lunch) nor particularly gruesome (his neighbour laid some revenge cable on his lawn). Have another Maximus and go back to hating yourself. 

Bikini photos – during COVID, your average newsroom got enough footage of people going to the beach to last a lifetime. 

There’s nothing like seeing an article about the weather (that you could just look up on BOM) accompanied by some photos of some young girls plastered across the preview pic. This works on the simple psychology of “there could be MORE tits in this article”. Classy. 

Faux-controversy – this is truly the Rolls Royce of clickbait. It is usually achieved by taking a single comment from an interview out of context. Perhaps a public figure said, “I won’t be getting the COVID vaccine until every front line worker has had the jab”.

BORING. That’s not going to get clicks. So why not bring out the scissors of borderline misinformation and give that quote a little choppity chop – “HEALTH MINISTER WON’T BE GETTING THE COVID VACCINE”. Hey, they did technically say those words.