No one is innocent from using clickbait copy, even top digital marketers sometimes use sensational anecdotes in their content. This is a problem because if you built your strategy on this lazy technique, then it will bite you in the ass before you know it. That time has come now. Google made an announcement last week in which they introduced a new Clickbait Ads policy which aptly addresses the Misrepresentation sections of their Ad policies.
If you are planning on starting your ad with, “This client loved our business, what happened next will shock you,” or if you are planning on using this kind of copy in any of your Google Ads, content, don’t even think about it. It will be a waste of your money and worse, Google will not run your ads at all. Although this talks about Google Ads policies, I believe this should also be the same for Organic Search Optimization since creating too much clickbait content will only harm your rankings if an algorithm update explicitly tackles this area.
Now, we are going to talk about why you should care about this new Ad policy, what can you do about it if you are guilty of using it for your ads, and what to do to avoid this.
Implications of the New Policy
Together with the introduction of the new policy on clickbait ads, Google has also published a post on their Advertising Policies Help page on the Google Support website pertaining to account pausing action. They have notified advertisers about a new enforcement action for those who violate Google Ads policies. Before, if you violate a policy, the worst thing that can happen to you is your ads won’t run and that’s it. You’re still free to create a campaign for other Ad Groups, but Google noted this month that if you were investigated for a policy violation, your whole account will be temporarily paused and this also applies to advertisers who fail to verify their identity.
As the new clickbait policy rolls out in July, think about the missed opportunities that you can incur if you violate this policy. You would be disabled from running ads and who knows what will happen if your offense is a grave enough to land you in Google’s crosshairs.
Clickbait will not be an unbelievable copywriting strategy
There is no good way to use clickbait. It deserves the bad reputation that it gets. Let me just put this out there, this is not a “copywriting hack” that seasoned marketers should teach the young blood of the industry. This just encourages lazy writing and an attitude of your work being just “okay”. Yes, it dominates most of the ads and even some organic search results but that doesn’t mean that if you can’t beat them, you join them.
Each new piece of content that you are going to release for your audience deserves a well-thought-out execution. If you are going to write for people, make sure that you give something of value to them and this naturally falls into the goals that businesses have for Google Ads. You cannot expect people to become leads if they feel duped by clicking on your ad. You can claim that you can help them with their problem right away, they only need to click on the link, but the chances that they would be unsatisfied with your service or product is still there so why should you risk tarnishing your reputation just to exhaust your ads budget?
Here are some key points you need to keep in mind to optimize your search ad for the clickbait policy:
- For YMYL sites, avoid imposing your business to your audience’s lifestyle in a threatening manner with copies like, “You need this today or your business is going to fail.” This just sets you up for more trouble of violating the misrepresentation policy because the ‘Clickbait Ads’ policy also flags “ads that use negative life events such as death, accidents, illness, arrests or bankruptcy to induce fear, guilt or other strong negative emotions to pressure the viewer to take immediate action” Stop being edgy, just write a comprehensive copy that does not mislead your potential client.
- This may sound extreme but I have seen some advertisers who write copies or launch display campaigns with “ads which use depictions of severe stress, pain, fear or shock to promote a product or service.” This is way before Google’s crackdown on these types of content but back then, it is an extreme way of pressuring someone to buy from a business – by inducing a negative personal connotation. Ease up on the aggressive approach, just be honest and highlight the strengths of your business in your advertisements.
- “You won’t believe what happened next…” has been a part of the internet ecosphere for as long as I can remember. Think about the content that you are putting out there, does it properly represent your business or the growth that you are aiming for? Is the click more valuable than quality content or a conversion leading to a possible sale? You have to make the clicks matter.
Optimizing Search Ads for Conversion Growth
To end, I would like to say that clickbait will always be there but if you are smart enough as a marketer, you would not contribute to the misrepresentation that it can perceive itself to be. Always write with the reader in mind. Is it going to contribute to the value of their business, lifestyle, or interests? Is it geared towards professional growth? Surround yourself with these ideas and you will not dare write another clickbait Ad again.