August 4, 2022
teaser headlines

Use This Headline Trick, Lose Readers, Money

teaser headlinesEvery site strives to build-up its readership base by becoming more visible. The more visitors a site can command on a daily basis, the more revenue it can generate. Building-up that base of readers can prove difficult, especially in high competition markets. Niche subjects are easier to build-up, but for sites in heavy competition, it’s tempting to use marketing tricks to drive more visitors to a site.

One such trick is teaser headlines, titles which are specifically written to piqué interest but do not lead directly to the promised content. Instead, visitors find similar content, not the Easter egg they thought they would uncover.

This creates a problem which webmasters might not see coming, that is, until it’s too late. After the erosion begins, it’s difficult to arrest and in some cases, too much damage occurs to be repaired.

The Reasoning Behind Headline Teasers

As the nearby quote explains, such teaser titles are specifically designed to invoke impulse clicking, being worded in such a way as to be irresistible. What’s great about these types of leaders is they can grab a wide audience.

For instance, a middle-aged man probably doesn’t care about the latest pop singer getting engaged to her long time boyfriend, his demographic is probably more interested in fishing charters.

The teaser headline takes curiosity to the next level — to emotion. Its aim is to stir an irrational impulse to click before people even realize why or what they’ve done. Once they’ve clicked they’re usually left with a feeling of being duped because the teaser headline sets up an expectation that can’t easily be met, a heightened interest that is difficult to sustain. —Social Times

However, throw the word “topless” or phrase “birthday suit” into the header, and it becomes very intriguing; so much so, the right hand forefinger is involuntarily triggered, clicking or tapping on the link.

It’s just a moment later that middle-aged man finds disappointment because he doesn’t see bare skin, instead, he’s staring at an entirely different image along with content that is a companion piece to the actual story.

The Net Result of Using Teaser Headlines

Of course, being tricked has consequences because it’s not just one person but hundreds or even thousands duped by the teaser. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Those visitors are now suspicious of the publisher because there’s a real trust issue which comes into play.

The thinking is, consumers will keep skimming through one article to get to another which contains what they’re looking for. This will increase engagement over more pages and keep time on site stats robust. The problem is, that will only be the case for those willing to stick it out; and, in a day and age when information comes in quick-paced, smartly packaged droves, there’s no need to settle and waste time.

Truth be told, the vast majority of consumers will just bounce away because they have so many choices. By the way, that’s not the only negative impact teaser headlines have:

  • Increased bounce rate and decreased time on site
  • Less consumer trust and fewer visitors
  • Fewer social shares and likes
  • Decreased ad and sales revenue

When it’s all said and done being genuine and providing great content is all a site needs to make it a viable business tool. Tricks will only serve to undermine long-term goals.

Owen E. Richason IV

Covers social media, apps, search, and similar news. History buff, movie, and theme park lover. Blessed dad and husband.     

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