Should I Use Clickbait Titles?

Should I Use Clickbait Titles?

When formatting your titles, there should be some consideration for the viewer. What can you change in your title to make it more appealing? Chances are, you’ve been tempted by a particular format of title more than once.

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While it’s not an exact science, conveying to potential viewers that your video has value is something you won’t have much time to do. If the average attention span is 8 seconds, you have even less time than that to reel someone in with your title. Nevertheless, you want your title to be accurate for SEO purposes and also so you don’t mislead viewers into clicking on your video.


We’ve all heard about it, we’ve all seen it, and will continue to view content with clickbait titles in the future.  Why does clickbait work?  A good clickbait title, first of all, doesn’t lie.  If you lie in your title, not only will your webhost be displeased with you, your viewers will be too.  The key to a successful clickbait title is to pique someone’s interest.  If a title is very boring, you would probably expect similar quality in the actual content.  You can argue the morality of stereotyping, labeling, or otherwise “judging a book by its cover,” but stereotyping, or categorizing, is actually a crucial part of development that all humans participate in.  Without this type of thinking, it’s arguable that we may never have become the most dominant species on the planet.  While most of this is done subconsciously, there is also the active portion of your brain to appease.  This is where we’re at our most vulnerable point with clickbait.  If you can make your title interesting enough that someone will be so curious as to the substance of your video, their psychological reward can come simply from clicking on your content, even if most clickbait leaves them unsatisfied.  

“Research has shown that humans are quite willing to put up with massive amounts of disappointment and frustration so long as there's an occasional payout.” Source

This explains why people keep clicking on clickbait titles. It’s similar to pulling the lever on a slot machine. From an outsider’s perspective, each pull of the handle has the same chance of winning as the previous pull. The actual mechanism behind a slot machine (electronic nowadays) however, is more likely to payout the longer it has been since a payout. Knowledge of this mechanism can actually make you more likely to keep gambling, much like not receiving a reward on previous clickbait titles will almost necessitate a reward. How does one actually receive this reward? By continuing to click.