Often when I am scrolling through YouTube trying to find a way to procrastinate on my homework, I stumble across video titles like, “You Won’t Believe How Much THIS Costs!” or “10 Things Everyone Should Know About Online Shopping (SHOCKING!).” And while these titles are tempting to click on, I know, deep down, they aren’t true. YouTube videos will also often have pictures in the thumbnail that have celebrities or other images that aren’t even discussed in the video.
Clickbait is an issue for all consumers, since those who fall victim to it can be manipulated into trusting a company and possibly buying something and never receiving it. Clickbait can also be a negative for YouTubers and companies because it can alienate the audience if they use clickbait constantly.
As a YouTuber, if you make videos with sensationalized titles and don't deliver, your audience will begin to distrust you. If you tell viewers that something will blow their mind, they expect their minds to be blown. If this doesn’t happen, "visitors will leave your page immediately." Even if you believe these titles will get their attention, it won’t last. They are going to give up on your videos sooner rather than later.
Clickbait on YouTube and in advertisements can also lead to peer pressure that makes viewers or consumers do something they wouldn’t normally want to do. This can range from harmless nuisances to ruining a person’s life. When you are trying to sell a product, the best thing is "being honest and providing content that delivers on the promise your title teases." Too often, though, companies will try to grab your attention and lie, and in the worst-case scenario, a fake company will make an advertisement that can destroy your computer or make you lose money.
It is easy for these things to happen because people want to see products that can solve their problems. It is hard for consumers to stop themselves from clicking, even if they know deep down it can’t be true. There is an overpowering curiosity that makes us fall victim to the bait over and over. We as human beings want quick results and can’t help but believe everything we read because we want it to be as easy as clicking an advertisement.
Manipulation from clickbait too often ruins people’s lives, and big companies or YouTubers should refrain from using it. While clicking on a clickbait YouTube video won’t do anything but waste your time, it can lead people to be more tempted to click on clickbait advertisements from fake companies that can steal their information or crash their computer. Even YouTubers who seem trustworthy can cheat their viewers, like Tana Mongeau, a YouTuber who held a convention that ended up being a disaster and many people lost their money. This goes to show that manipulation can come from anywhere, even from someone who seems trustworthy.
Even if clickbait is meant to be harmless from YouTubers or company advertisements, it can lead to further manipulation or harm to the viewers and consumers. It can also destroy the YouTuber’s career because the audience will lose trust if a YouTuber has constant clickbait, whereas if YouTubers did not use clickbait before and start to, they will manipulate an audience that trusts them. All in all, clickbait causes issues on all sides. Honesty will always be the best policy and will create a sense of trust between companies and consumers.