Every year, the world’s dictionaries publish new words. Last year alone, the Oxford Dictionary added over 1500 entries in its latest update. In the marketing world, the diffusion of neologisms is even more frenetic. Every year, dozens of new, bizarre words come to our ears. In this blog, we analyze three new buzzwords that reflect emerging marketing and social media dynamics: Engagement Bait, Newsjacking, and Social Snoozing.
We all know what clickbaiting is – the annoying strategy used by online media whose main goal is to get users to click on a link to go to a certain webpage (and make a profit out of it). Clickbait headlines, typically very sensationalist if not completely false, aim to exploit people’s curiosity by using strong and catchy words, often related to sensitive topics of public domain (e.g. ‘Click now to see a video of Obama attending a KKK meeting!’).
However, a click is not the only action that this type of content aims to obtain from online users. Headlines can ask also to subscribe, comment, share, and so forth. For instance, a common strategy used on social media is to expressively ask people to ‘like’ a piece of content (e.g. ‘Click LIKE if you love Nutella!’). All these types of ‘hooks’ fall under the definition of ‘engagement bait‘. And Facebook doesn’t like it.
Already in August 2014, the world most popular social networking website announced that it was taking technical measures to reduce the impact of clickbait on its social network. Now, the social media colossus is up for a new battle, this time against engagement bait.
Pages that rely on engagement bait tactics will be hit especially hard, as Facebook’s leadership said, the social network ‘will begin implementing stricter demotions for pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed’.
If you are thinking to keep engagement bait as a part of your social media strategy, you might want to think again.
Newsjacking is ‘the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed‘. While the term dates back to 2011, it has recently been shortlisted by the Oxford Dictionary as one of their ‘Words of the Year 2017’.
Basically, this practice consists in the deliberate attempt by a brand (but also by an organization, a politician, and so forth) to become part of a highly-trending topic that is being covered by media, so as to obtain free, extensive press coverage.
One concrete success example. During the NFL American Football Conference Championship game played in 2015, game officials alleged that the New England Patriots used footballs that were inflated to a pressure below the league standard (which makes it easier to grip, throw and catch, presumably giving the Patriots an unfair advantage over the Indianapolis Colts).
The Twitter hashtag #DeflateGate immediately went viral on social media, and the episode was covered by all the US major sports outlets and more. Soon, several brands were tweeting using the #DeflateGate hashtag, injecting their ideas into this trending story.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts tweeted an image of a football shaped like a donut with the line “Ours are fully filled #DeflateGate.” The image was massively shared across all social media, thus providing great (and free) exposure to the brand. Pure newsjacking (this very article is still providing them free publicity!).
The real-time web has opened a tremendous opportunity for anyone to get their brand discussed as part of the news of the day. Newsjacking can be a very effective strategy to raise awareness on your brand. All it takes is some creativity and the ability to respond very quickly to what happens in the world around us.
Back in 2009, The New Oxford American Dictionary has announced its Word of the Year for 2009: it’s ‘unfriend’, defined as ‘to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook’.
Facebook has just introduced a new, softer modality of canceling annoying users and pages from your news feed. It’s called ‘snoozing’, and it lets you unfollow someone for 30 days only (if you immediately change your mind, you can tap undo to turn off the snooze setting).
After the period is over, the ‘snoozed’ person (or page) will pop up again in your feed. A sort of digital second chance for those we think might still have something valuable to say. And, if they’ll just keep being annoying, you always have the option to unfriend them permanently.
Find out here the marketing buzzwords of the last month.