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Clickbait Meet Your Match, Message Match

Clickbait is the ubiquitous enemy of the internet, and for better or the definitive worse, some publishers have built a business model on its tantalizing power. If you clicked on this article, you have an internet connection, so you'll know what I'm talking about: you're minding your own business scrolling through the internet for pictures of unlikely animal friends when BAM! A headline offering gossip so juicy, or a life hack so amazing that it seems too good to pass up. Against your better judgement you click, just in case a mom in Rochester really did cure her own cancer with just three simple life changes, and you're inundated with ads. They got your click, but there's nothing substantial on the page except an influx of pleas to quell your disappointment by adding to your pile of stuff. '

Long story short, clickbait just doesn't work for what we do at GeistM. We focus on acquiring high intent customers who will have a higher lifetime value — purchasing a product over and over again, or in the case of subscriptions, keeping their membership for longer.

Content acts as our sift for weeding out uninterested traffic, and gives curious audiences the information they need to pull the trigger on a purchase. Our content readers spend an average of 3-5 minutes on a sponsored post, which means they're really engaging with the material, reading and thinking about the product before they click to the landing page. Still, one thing clickbait does right is drive clicks, which is certainly a big part of the equation when it comes to generating online conversions. So what's the best way to keep the "click" but ditch the "bait"?

The answer is pretty simple: message match. Make sure the message you're sending customers stays consistent throughout the full funnel — from pre-click headlines and creative assets to the content and the landing page. If your headline is "Get your first shirt in time for Black Friday!!", but your product doesn't have a Black Friday sale, though you may not have technically lied, you're certainly misleading the customer. If a customer arrives at a piece of content that looks significantly different than what they were expecting based on pre-click assets, they will click away quickly whether they are interested in the product or not.

You can still use the emotional pull or splashy intrigue that gives clickbait its power to drive traffic, but using message match to make sure the tone and substance of your content matches the headline and front end image asset will help keep the reader stay in the funnel until they make the purchase. If you feel your audience is interested in a trending holiday or current event, then by all means use that interest in your headlines! But, also incorporate it into the content in a substantial way, not a throwaway one-liner, and make sure the tone of the article corresponds with the product's branding enough that the customer won't fall off the funnel at add-to-cart. Creating campaigns with message match in mind helps eliminate clickbait and generate a higher quality conversion with longer LTV.