Tag Archives: Clickthrough rate


I am sick of the clickbait mentality. You know what I’m talking about. Many of the articles you see in your Facebook news feed are one example: “The Dog Ate My Homework And You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!!”. I’ll admit that Facebook is getting better about having their algorithm eliminate a lot of the most egregious offenders, but there are plenty of other sites out there whose entire business model is predicated on getting some sap to click through and then to page through a slide show or a multipage article.

What really bothers me is that the mentality is spreading. The teases for upcoming stories in news programming seem to be more clickbaity (did I just make up a word?) in nature. They’re called “teases” for a reason – to get you to stay tuned through the commercial by teasing you with upcoming content. They’ve changed, though. When a news anchor ends a tease with the Upworthy phrase “and you won’t believe what happened next”, I cringe. There’s a business lesson in the reason why, even if you’re not in the content business.

Poynter interviewed Nilay Patel of Vox about the subject:

“Most clickbait is disappointing because it’s a promise of value that isn’t met — the payoff isn’t nearly as good as what the reader imagines,” Patel said.

None of us in business should be making promises to our customers what we can’t keep.  Doing so repeatedly is a recipe for disaster.  Maybe that’s what you’re after, but I don’t think so.  Our desire for traffic, clicks, engagement, whatever can’t supersede the value we deliver to our customers.  I get that in some businesses, the user isn’t the customer, but they are the basis for what you’re ultimately selling, so alienating them makes no sense at all.

We develop and keep customers n the basis of promises made and value delivered.  I think clickbait is, most of the time, the very opposite of that.  You?

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Filed under Consulting, Huh?

First Impressions

I almost called today’s missive “Don’t Shoot The Messenger.” As a person who has had hundreds of meetings in which the efficacy of advertising is discussed at length I’ve noticed an ongoing theme.  Clients (or their agencies) sometimes complained that they weren’t getting any sort of decent return on their media investment.  In their minds, maybe TV or the Web or (now) Mobile just aren’t worth the investments and perhaps they’d be better served trying something different.  My response usually involved a reminder not to shoot the messenger.

A “medium” (and I’m not writing about psychics here) is an intervening substance, as air, through which a force acts or an effect is produced.  TV is a medium, as are radio, the Web, and others.  Their job is to deliver the advertising message.  To be blunt about it, if the message – the ad – is crap, so will be the response.

In the digital world, there is a lot of literature on the size of ads – size, format, content, design and type – and not surprisingly they generally find that bigger advertisements are more effective in attracting attention which increases response.  On the other hand, other research found that design and content of the
advertisement have an impact on Click-Through Rate (CTR) and increases the interest in Advertising.  The reality is if advertisements, regardless online or offline, don’t catch your attention within seconds they are considered to have failed.  I’d add to that if the intrusiveness of the ad pisses off the consumer, it’s failed as well regardless of the brilliance of the creative.

There is a movement in the digital ad world to move towards a “Cost Per Viewable Impression” model which I’ve said before I think is dumb on web sellers’ parts to encourage unless TV, radio, and other media can fall into the same model (good luck with that).  Regardless of impressions or medium, bad creative equates to bad responses.

You agree?  What creative have you seen lately – good or bad – that really got your attention?

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Filed under digital media