Clickbait – Definition and Examples


Clickbait is when someone makes a sensational or exaggerated headline for the primary purpose of grabbing people’s attention. A clickbait title can be made for an article, a video, or something else.

Example: As he was reading the latest news with his morning cup of coffee, Bob scrolled down and noticed several clickbait thumbnails at the bottom of the page. While some of these images piqued his interest, he had no time to waste because he had to get ready for work.

The definition of clickbait and what it is.

10 Clickbait Examples

Here are some basic examples of clickbait titles and what they might look like. To make these kinds of titles even more intriguing, they are often paired with a relevant thumbnail, such as a shocked facial expression. Have you seen these or similar looking clickbait titles while browsing?

1. You won’t believe what happens next!
2. Lose weight EASILY with this one simple tip!
3. He’s making dinner, but he has to do it blindfolded!
4. This is crazy!
5. This SIMPLE fix will save you thousands!
6. Don’t do this, it is SUPER dangerous!
7. Say GOODBYE to your dental bills.
8. The best idea you will hear all year!
9. Wow, did that just happen?
10. Eating this food is actually healthy for you?

Notice how some of these click baiting titles, such as number one and four on the list, are vague. Others, like number three on the list, tells the viewer exactly what they are in for. Either vague or clear, the point of a clickbait title is to get people interested so they click it.


How long has the word clickbait been around? Well, ‘clicking’ is done with an electronic mouse and the first mice were commercially available in the 1980s. Therefore, I think it is reasonable to say the term ‘clickbait’ originated sometime after. Interestingly, the earliest I could find it in use was on the website Snopes in 2005. However, I have a hunch it’s older than that.

Why is it called click baiting? The analogy is simple: Fish bait is used to get the attention of nearby fish. The fish see the worm (the bait) and swim closer. Do they go for a bite? If they do, the bait worked and they are hooked on the line! Similarly, a clickbait title is used to grab the attention of people. If they see the title and become interested, their mouse pointers hover closer to the bait. Do they go for it by clicking on the title? If so, they get ‘hooked’ so to speak.

Click Baiting Thumbnails and Titles – Are They Annoying?

For some people, clickbait thumbnails and titles are irritating. Why? Well, I can only speak for myself here but I would not be surprised if others feel similarly. Basically, one of the main problems is when articles or videos exaggerate their titles for the sake of clicks.

To get a better idea of this, here is an example of a clickbait headline to a news story that is exaggerated or misleading (note that this example is made up for illustrative purposes):

Devastating Windstorm Wreaks Havoc On Small Town!

When you read that, you might think: “Wow, that sounds bad.” And indeed it does! So to learn more about this terrible situation, you click on the article. However, after skimming through it, you learn that while the winds were powerful, the only real damage from the storm was that it blew over some fences. Afterwards, you might feel that the headline was misleading; it exaggerated things. This an example of how a clickbait title can be annoying to some people.

Tip: For more expressions starting with “C” check out our list. You won’t believe what kind of phrases are on there! That was my attempt at click baiting, did it work? If not, I’ll be more direct — go there now and learn!