News sites are producing more than 21m clickbait articles every month, research suggests

There are more than 21m clickbait articles being produced globally every single month, according to research produced by news service, Inkl.

Toy Story clickbait

The research, produced by research tool Wonder for Inkl, a free news service that says it “eliminates” clickbait and tabloid-style news stories from its feed, estimates there is an average of two clickbait style articles per day day across 350,000 websites.

“If correct, the estimate would suggest that almost 10 new clickbait articles are produced every single second. No wonder it feels like we’re floating in a swamp of this stuff,” wrote Inkl CEO Guatam Mishra in a post on LinkedIn.


Mishra: “No wonder it feels like we’re floating in clickbait”

The research developed a definition of what clickbait is based on four types of headlines which include:

  1. play on our emotions (i.e., by trying to “shock” us)
  2. create curiosity (i.e., telling you something “you didn’t know”)
  3. are based on numbers and lists (i.e., listicles), and
  4. promise to surprise the reader (e.g., “you won’t believe…”

It is estimated that for a human to write a clickbait article it would take around an hour, which the research concludes means 21.8m hours are being spent on writing clickbait while 53 months of time is being spent consuming them.

According to Inkl, the research suggests that “clickbait is not only a global problem, it’s quickly becoming one of the biggest problems on the internet today”.

Inkl are planning on conducting a follow-up piece of research which will look to estimate what clickbait is costing readers.


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