The Rise of Click Bait, Death of Quality Content, and What We Can Do About It

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Impressions, clicks and conversions drive digital advertising today - which is the engine that funds online media (since people have demonstrated repeatedly that they won’t pay for content).

What are the implications of this? With a few examples, I outlined my thoughts in terms I hope anyone outside the online marketing field can understand.

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The Rise of Click Bait, Death of Quality Content, and What We Can Do About It

  1. 1. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! The Rise of Click Bait, Death of Quality Content, and What We Can Do About It
  2. 2. Last week the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge exploded on the scene - as worthy a cause as they come - and has raised over $40 million to fund research for a devastating disease! ! As a case study, I think it’s emblematic for how ideas and information get shared today. ! Observing it taking off last week, I decided to track clicks on a few links on my Facebook feed to see what I could learn. What I found fascinated me.
  3. 3. Over recent years, we’ve witnessed the rise of “click bait” and death of quality content. ! Impressions, clicks and conversions drive digital advertising today - which is what funds online media (since people have demonstrated repeatedly that they won’t pay for it). ! Do people care about this issue? 4 clicks tell me “no”.
  4. 4. The brilliant and funny John Oliver took on the issue of Native Advertising, which is sponsored content passed off as editorial. Stats on next page
  5. 5. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Did Oliver’s fantastic video grab anyone? At just 12 clicks, I’m still thinking “no”.
  6. 6. How about something controversial - like race? Stats on next page
  7. 7. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 46 clicks in 24 hours. Posted at 3:00, peaked at 4:00 Controversial topic, but apparently not too controversial.
  8. 8. What about a beautiful, 6-second time lapse lovingly showing one woman’s pregnancy? Stats on next page
  9. 9. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 72 clicks over 3 days Posted on a Friday, the post was shared once, and clicks tapered off over the weekend. By most accounts, this is a quick and easy video to watch (just 6 seconds) that could appeal to anyone.
  10. 10. Stats on next page What about politics?
  11. 11. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 64 clicks over 3 days Posted on a Thursday and clicks peaked the next day on Friday. I do my best to avoid politics and religion for the reason I explained in the post. People click but rarely comment, I suspect, for the same reason.
  12. 12. Stats on next page Or a brainless and moderately useful infographic?
  13. 13. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 24 clicks over 4 days Posted on a Thursday and clicks peaked that day, tapering off over the weekend. Images tend to perform well on the Facebook newsfeed. This is strong but not exceptional performance.
  14. 14. What about well-considered insightful content produced by the pros - notorious click-baiting publishers? ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! At one and two clicks, respectively - not so much.
  15. 15. Now… on to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! Stats on next page
  16. 16. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 218 clicks over 5 days! Posted on a Tuesday and clicks peaked the next day, dropping off after. Buzzfeed and the movement toward “click bait listicles" have proponents for traditional journalism rightly concerned - as this post’s performance underscores.
  17. 17. Stats on next page Sir Patrick Stewart shows us how it’s done.
  18. 18. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 2,299 clicks (and counting!) over 5 days Posted on a Friday, shared 71 times (!!!), and clicks peaked on Saturday. This, to me, illustrated better than anything I’ve seen how information spreads. It’s wonderful - and awful.
  19. 19. I’m not suggesting the stats I collected here represent true trends, as they do not represent total traffic patterns. ! Rather, these stats simply show the ability of one person’s personal Facebook profile to drive “free” traffic.
  20. 20. I find it fascinating how the future of media is completely up to us. If we click on, say, Kardashian articles instead important news stories, content producers will observe this and work to generate content they know will perform best - as their business model rewards them for that. In fact, this is what they’re doing right now. ! I don’t know how to fix this, but I figured you might also want to know.
  21. 21. Thanks for listening. brent@100mph.us ! SlideShare | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Pinterest

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