We have all done it. You see a catchy graphic and click it. Then you land on a website that has absolutely nothing to do with what you clicked. This is click bait.
What is the difference between Click Bait and catchy marketing?
Click Bait is designed to get you to click on the hopes that once you arrive on the website the "serious" content will make you stay. Catchy Marketing has compelling copy and/or graphics that grab your attention and create interest in a particular product or service.
Does it really matter as long as you get more website traffic?
We were working with a home improvement contractor and this very discussion came up. They had been approached by a company that had a "new" way to build his audience. As I listened to the business owner explain the process as described to him, it was click bait. Despite our best efforts the owner wanted to proceed in that direction. No problem. We had Google Analytics implemented to measure conversions. Specifically, how many people started on a form and how many completed the form to request a quote. He ran the click bait program for 2 months. Website traffic to their site increased 1000%. Fantastic! This had to mean more sales. NO.
Looking at Source/Medium in Google Analytics:
All completed forms came from Organic-we had compelling Copy on every page, Direct-most likely people that had bookmarked the website, Google Adwords-CPC-we had created compelling copy based on the benefits of their product/service. Not a single completed form came from the Click Bait.
Click Bait will increase website traffic, but does it increase sales?
The Click Bait program had dramatically increased traffic to the website, but it was the WRONG traffic. Their particular service had a very specific market niche and the click bait did not attract that niche. If you want to see some shaming and naming check out this article from Hootsuite. You may want to read Does Increasing Website Traffic Increase sales ? for a detailed discussion on measuring conversion rate.
The 3 Basic Rules of Marketing:
Never go for quantity over quality.