‘Clickbait’ can be seen on most social media sites through the use of adverts – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Tumblr all have examples that pair strange pictures with unusual statements to grab your attention and make you want to click further.
This advert is from Tumblr and uses the Pique Technique (Pratkanis, 2007). The original outline of the technique by Santos, Leve and Pratkanis (1994) suggested that asking for something unusual at a random point during a refusal will pique the interest of a target and make them think more positively about the proposal. Here, this is done by the use of a disassociated pairing of photo and statements that have nothing to do with one another.
A user will be scrolling through content that has been tailored for them based on their interests until they are faced with an erroneous and bizarre advert. This may serve the purpose of reinforcing the users interest in the app by making a strange or unusual request. Davis and Knowles (1999) said that this happens by creating confusion and disruption which opens the target’s mind to a change of opinion. In the example of Tumblr, the advert may aim to disrupt the steady flow of scrolling with an unusual request to prevent people from getting bored and signing off.
- - Davis, B., & Knowles, E. (1999). A disrupt-then-reframe technique of social influence. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 76(2), 192-199.
- - Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. In A. R. Pratkanis (Ed.), Frontiers of social psychology. The science of social influence: Advances and future progress (pp. 17-82). New York, NY, US: Psychology Press.
- - Santos, M., Leve, C., & Pratkanis, A. (1994). Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Seventeen Cents? Mindful Persuasion and the Pique Technique. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, 24(9), 755-764.