Three reasons never to click on a list of three things you don’t need to know.

There are some people out there looking for validation on the net. They will tweet or comment or share contentious content, usually to drive clicks or traffic – but not for any constructive reason. It’s mind boggling how much time these people can swallow from passers by on the net. They are the modern day vampires, sucking time out of the lives of their many followers. However there is a more sinister aspect to such messages.

‘Click bait’ headlines are both irritating and seductive.

  • “12 animal cruelty lawsuits you would never believe!”
  • “3 Pictures which make us ask, ‘Should Yoga Pant’s be made illegal’”
  • “The three indicators you are living with a serial killer.”

Obviously, in the above examples the only one that might have anything valid, important or of informative value is the question of yoga pants – one that stirs the feelings of righteous indignation and desire for strengthening of the democratic process. I think we can all agree that yoga pants should not be made illegal, except for people either over 250 lbs, or over 55. In the case of the wearer being both over 250 lbs and over 55 there seems adequate grounds for immediate custodial sentancing.

However, there’s an interesting sidenote to consider when thinking about these click bait tweets and posts. When people respond to them they are usually led into a website, and likely one that promotes a particualr type of content. The person being drawn in has effectively identified themselves as receptive to that particular form of messaging – and can be tagged with a remarketing cookie to show themselves to be so inclined.

Google Remarketing is a tremendous tool for delivering ad content to an audience that have already visited a specific website. The visitor is tagged, and then the advertisements they subsequently see on Google and affiliated websites can be tailored according to that tag.

The tag cookie can be used to subsequently deliver further advertising content to those same individuals in the certain knowledge that they are receptive to a specific kind of messaging. They’ve basically tagged themselves to say, ‘Hey, I’m receptive to a particular kind of message – give me more!’, and as a result will see those messgaes over and over again.

As someone involved in the business of suggestion, and of marketing, I find this is a very interesting thing to know about someone. How we engage, and how we commuicate with a target audience is central to persuading them to do something.

Imagine getting this message time and time again, having already identified yourself as a responder to list type click bait:

  • “Three reasons you need to buy Never Pay Earthquake and Lightning Strike Insurance.”

We live in a dangerous and perverse world. It’s also a world of opportunity! By the way, you’ve been tagged.

Rob Hadley

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