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Clickbait vs. Creative… Who Wins?

Clickbait is bad, right? Not exactly.

Getting someone to click on something using tricky tactics only to land them on a page that is irrelevant and/or low value is just plain rude. Do that a few times and you’ll destroy your brand and your list.

But when you have a great piece of content or promotion that really deserves to be read, the minimum viable headline needed to get the clicks from today’s easily distracted readers is evocative clickbait.

An effective direct response headline has to literally stop someone from casually browsing away, cause an emotional response immediately evoking an insatiable curiosity or the reader will move on to another headline that does trigger their emotions.

Sorry creatives… cute, clever and interesting barely work at all.

How much better does weapons-grade clickbait work?

On a healthy subscriber list, a quality and creatively titled email will get a 5-10% open rate and a 5-10% Click-to-Open (CTO) for a .5 – 1% effective CTR if it’s very good.

A message sent to that same list with a highly evocative title (clickbait) will get 10-20% open rate and 10-20% CTO for an effective 1-4% CTR on average.

In other words, clickbait can pull up to 400% more clicks.

If your writers put their heart and soul into delivering a great piece of content, well, your headline deserves the same. Do not expect your writers to come up with weapons-grade clickbait or your killer content will not get read. That’s the copywriter’s job.

Good writers are usually terrible copywriters, but they can learn if you give them the tools and feedback to split test.

If your topic is smoking hot then you’re better off just saying it clearly like:

“How To: Solve Your _____ Problem.”

If your topic is just medium-hot but the content is excellent, you’d better get out your best weapon for the job.


Evoke emotion in your readers to the point where they will not be able to stop thinking about it until they click.

“Most People Can’t Solve The ____ Problem Without One of These.”

If your content is great, then do what it takes to get the click. Sure, I wish people would just read creative headlines.

Unfortunately, they don’t.

As always, if you’d like to discuss this topic further, feel free to connect.

Thanks for reading…

John Valenty

Skype: john.valenty