Why Does Clickbait Work? These Reasons Will Astound You

content for lead generation

You know you don’t actually need that “weird old tip” for weight loss, but there’s still something compelling about certain images and phrases. They’re clickbait, expressly designed as lead gen catnip. Clickbait isn’t a bad thing by itself; as with any powerful tool, it’s how you use it that determines its worth. Used wisely, these principles of clickbait serve a useful purpose for you and your audience.


Notice how many clickbait titles and images present a little bit of a mystery. Just about everyone enjoys learning a secret or discovering the answer to a question, so a title that offers a tantalizing glimpse of something more encourages leads to click through and find the rest of the story. Titles on emails are especially important to persuading prospects to take a closer look.

The key to using mystery as a lead gen tactic is to generate just enough of it while still providing sufficient information to make your approach relevant.


A lot of clickbait relies on terminology and imagery that can be viewed in multiple ways. When you see phrases such as “you won’t believe what happens next” or “what happened will shock you,” there are few cues as to whether the shock or disbelief is a good thing. Images in clickbait ads might look like something else at first glance, making you do a double-take to see it. That slight ambiguity – are you going to be shocked in a good way? Is that really a cat with bunny ears? – piques your interest because you want to resolve the ambiguity by reading more.

In B2B marketing, there’s less that will shock or astound your audience, but you can include some surprises in email headers and blog post titles that will capture leads’ attention, such as “What Happened in Our Warehouse” as a lead-in to a discount offer on overstock.


For all their hyperbole about what will shock you, astound you, or change your life, clickbait pieces are generally short and sweet. You’ll rarely see eight “weird old tips,” but you might see one or three. Clickbait exists not only for its own sake, but also to encourage you to read more and explore other fun-sized bits of information a site has to offer. If you read one article, you’re likely to follow it with a few more that are helpfully listed at the bottom of the page for you.

Short, catchy lead gen content that channels prospects to other articles of interest can be incredibly useful to marketers who are cueing in on behavioral data to learn more about their leads. Watch a lead click through to a single blog post, and you know something about his or her interests; see that lead’s trajectory through other pieces of content, and you’ve learned a lot more.

How to Use Clickbait Wisely

While clickbait lead gen is potent, there are a few caveats for marketers who want to spice up their content with it:

  • Be honest. Readers don’t want to feel tricked into reading, so deliver on the promise your title establishes.
  • Present facts and figures you can back up with sources or through expert knowledge.
  • Use it sparingly. Not every piece of content is life-changing, and that’s okay too.

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By |2017-06-08T21:17:20+00:00May 22nd, 2017|Lead Generation, Reach Marketing|0 Comments