Was there ever a time when you can’t help yourself that you just wanted to click on an ad or a post? It’s as if something wrong will happen if you don’t click on it? Or maybe you didn’t even notice that you were egged on.
Such is the power of curiosity. And although some say that it is the one that killed the cat, for marketers, it is the one that keeps consumer interest alive.
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Consumer psychology and audience behavior may sometimes seem endlessly complicated, but they are not as complex as people believe. The simple innate apparatus, called curiosity, determines most of our behavior and the decisions we make.
Imagine this: you're having dinner, and you hear a loud noise from your attic that makes you stop eating. Would you keep eating while wondering what made the noise or stand up to go check it out?
Whatever you choose is driven by your curiosity. Curiosity is a powerful governing force, and people are mostly unaware of its influence. It is a very strong desire to know something unknown. The power of curiosity is even stronger when the curiosity gap theory is applied.
The use of bawdy rumors and crass gossip by the mainstream media has been going on for a long time to grab the target audience's attention for ad inventory and paper sales. Clickbait's arrival ushered in a new age of driving traffic and revenues by appealing to humans' curious nature.
However, clickbait-y ads are a huge no-no. Most ad traffic providers do not allow such practices because it gives their users a bad experience. But your marketing tactics need not rely on gossip and false advertising to attract audiences. As long as you understand the curiosity concept and how to properly apply it, you’ll go a long way.
The Theory of Curiosity Gap
According to the academic George Lowenstein, humans become curious when there is a gap in their knowledge. These information gaps cause a psychological state of deprivation and stimulate them to fix this state by acquiring the missing knowledge.
It is believed by many scientists that curiosity is an intrinsic and fundamental element that drives the behavior of humans.
The hunger for knowledge affects not just humans but also animals. It stimulates everything from the slow approach to anything unfamiliar, up to the rummaging behavior of animals.
People use a vast amount of their time on social media, looking for, and gathering information. The digital platforms we invest our time in are made to set off our curiosity continuously.
A good example is the endless feeds of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The technological advancements of the information age created clickbait, which is designed to take advantage of our curious nature.
Using Curiosity Gap In Marketing
Making use of the curiosity gap in marketing is quite different from using clickbait. Clickbait is like a villainous form of curiosity gap. Ever clicked on a compelling title only to realize what was promised in the title is not the article's content? That's a typical example of a clickbait.
Clickbait uses the principle of curiosity gap to deceive readers into clicking on a page, but it is not the only way to implement this strategy.
If you want to stimulate an audience's curiosity as a marketing technique, you should avoid using clickbait. Using a curiosity gap to arouse your audience's interest by making them aware of something unknown and then delivering what your title promised won't be considered clickbait.
Popular sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed practice the curiosity gap theory. They take advantage of the reader's curiosity to persuade them to click on a captivating title that links to the actual content.
Using a curiosity gap means enticing your reader with a clue of what's in your content without telling them everything about it. The curiosity gap can make users click through a marketing email in their inbox, blog post seen on platforms like Twitter and Reddit, or an ad displayed on Facebook.
How The Curiosity Gap Works
We already know that creating a curiosity gap is effective. But how exactly does it work? Here are some of the reasons why the curiosity gap effectively captivates the audience's attention.
People Dislike Uncertainty
Humans don't like being left in the dark when it comes to knowledge. It is like this because of how powerful the force of curiosity is. When something keeps readers in an uncertain state, especially things like the compelling headlines of an article that leverages curiosity, it will push them to seek the missing information to resolve their uncertain state.
People Remember Unfinished Tasks Better
The Zeigarnik Effect states that humans are more likely to remember things that got interrupted.
It takes effect when a reader sees a headline that spikes his/her interest but decides to ignore it. The desire that comes after would be to go back and click on the headline that caught his attention because he didn't get the chance to click on it the first time.
It is very effective when leveraging curiosity gaps as your target audience would find it hard to resist your headlines if it calls to them.
People Have a Fear of Missing Out
People of today always want to know the latest information; they don't like feeling left out and fear they would be the only ones ignorant about what everyone knows or is doing.
This fear can be taken advantage of by marketers using the curiosity gap technique. Using headlines that stimulate emotional responses often leaves readers wondering what they would miss if they choose to avoid and make them curious to know the information your headline promises.
This concept is also applicable to the Urgency Principle of Marketing.
Difference Between Curiosity Gap And Clickbait
The curiosity gap technique is not the only way to get clicks. Some advertisers make use of clickbait to trick their readers and make them click through. The sole purpose of clickbait is to allure their users into clicking on a marketing ad with little to do with the clickbait subject. Clickbait-y headlines exaggerate information a lot that it doesn’t even meet the user’s expectations.
For example, you might come across a headline that says, "You Won't Believe How These Men Earn $10,000 A Day". When you click on the link, you would see a story about some men who earn about $100 with normal jobs and many sponsored links and advertisements encircling the page.
One of the primary reasons for the immense criticism of clickbait is that most advertisers who use it don't care about how they get their users to click. Clickbait's practice is a practice of misdirection and lies, which makes users question the advertisers' relevance and integrity.
Although clickbait is quite cynical, its fundamental principle that is attracting readers can still be used.
But instead of trying to trick users or customers, marketers should leverage the curiosity gap by providing just enough information to stimulate curiosity in your readers, but not enough to appease their curiosity unless they perform the desired action.
Keep in mind that forcing users to view something unrelated to the content they are expecting to see will spoil their online experience quickly and would most likely dissolve the raised curiosity.
Clickbait and contents that leverage the curiosity gap are quite similar. Still, what differentiates the two is the reader's feelings after clicking through to the scope or page. Clickbaits never satisfy the reader's curiosity because it tricks the readers into clicking with little thoughts for the next action. It never indulges the reader's curiosity and often leaves the reader unsatisfied, while leveraging the curiosity gap abandons using editorial trickery to appeal to the audience. It usually leads to the successful promotion of content because of its social validation.
Benefits Of Leveraging The Curiosity Gap
With all of the negativity surrounding the curiosity gap's nature, it still does its job effectively. The primary source of its negativity is clickbait, but there are a whole lot of positive things about using this technique. Here are some of the benefits of using it.
It increases page views and traffic
Entrepreneurs make this kind of content explicitly to get more page views, so it shouldn't be unusual that this is its essential advantage.
If your primary need is to drive more traffic to your site, leveraging the curiosity gap can be a powerful solution. Utilizing the curiosity gap technique can get you more organic visits, whether you use it on your landing page, blog post, product page, or others such as web-based media posts or visitor sections for different publications.
You can closely examine how well your content is performing by using tracking platforms like Google Analytics.
It makes content more likely to get shared
Marketers use headlines in curiosity marketing to captivate people's interest and motivate them to share their content or advertisement on the social network. This is actually a technique frequently used for viral marketing.
But you'll have to be mindful of the type of content you make because people are usually careful not to post things that go against their personality or character.
Your content's chances of getting many shares increase when you use curiosity in your marketing. It creates a strong emotional response in your users by exploiting the six emotions. When you arouse these six emotions, it can coax your audience into sharing your content.
These six emotions include:
Provoking any of these emotions in your readers can attract them to your content and make them remember your brand even after they close the tab.
Most writers make use of emotional tactics in curiosity gap articles. They can make readers fume over a particular issue or make them smile with inspirational stories. Readers always want to share what makes them angry, disgusted, joyful, or excited with their friends and family.
An enticing headline combined with a strong appeal and a well-designed content could get you your next viral hit.
It increases Brand Awareness and Credibility
The more page views and shares you get, the more your brand awareness increases. Using the curiosity gap technique can have incredible effects on your brand. It makes people recognize your brand, and this is a crucial part of content marketing.
Content creation works hand in hand with brand awareness. When readers remember the content you create, it initiates a relationship with your brand and begins to build trust. It eventually converts them into customers.
Note that your content doesn't have to go viral for your brand awareness to increase. If your curiosity content gains many page views and motivates readers to share, it means it has already achieved this. But the more reach your content has, the more likely it is that people will not forget your brand.
It encourages more engagement in paid ads
This is highly beneficial, especially if you are paying for ads based on impressions. The more clicks you receive when using the curiosity principle on your ads, the lower the cost of marketing would be.
In short, you can improve your click-through rate with this method.
As long as you are following through with the promise in your ad headline to your landing page, you will not have any concerns running such ads in traffic networks. In fact, many companies and affiliates are already seeing a positive ROI with this technique!
How To Trigger Your Audience's Curiosity
Humans' curious nature can make them do things like reading from article to article on Wikipedia, play games and puzzles for hours, and even finish books (no matter whether they like the book or not) to know how it ends. It’s like something is eating at your brain if you don’t find out what happens next.
Furthermore, curiosity led to the most significant discoveries and advancements in technology, medicine, and science.
As powerful as curiosity is, the drive to look for information can suddenly disappear as soon as your readers or customers perform one act. How can you continuously stimulate curiosity and make it into intended actions like subscribing for a service, clicking links on social media, or downloading your video?
Professor George Loewenstein discovered in his in-depth study that the right combination for stimulating a notable amount of curiosity include:
- Violate the right expectations of your target audience.
- Entice them with the knowledge gap.
- Know when to conclude.
Let's closely examine three triggers provided by Professor George Loewenstein and see how they can be used to turn curiosity into conversion and revenue.
Violate the right expectations of your target audience
It is a familiar concept that curiosity is stimulated when common beliefs are challenged. Take a look at this headline:
Improve your conversion rate by using the right landing page
The headline doesn't go beyond your audience's common beliefs. The headline is reasonable and doesn't leave anything to the imagination. Now look at this one:
6 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Conversion Rate Fast
This headline violates the expectations of the marketer audience by suggesting something simple can have a huge impact. Here's another example:
This is What Experts Did To Make 50% More Profit in 15 Minutes
The two headlines contain information your readers may not expect. It causes a kind of disorder and would make them investigate to reinstate meaning and sense.
It is quite hard to write curiosity headlines. You have to do more than altering the headlines if you want to motivate your readers to perform the desired activity.
The key to creating a real desire in your reader to click or perform the desired action is to go beyond your target audience's expectations. Loewenstein discovered that curiosity could be increased when the gap in knowledge that interests someone or a group of people is highlighted.
For instance, if your target audience's area of expertise is marketing, your readers would be interested in reading how to increase their conversion rates and make more profits, in a few steps, no less!
Entice them with the Knowledge gap
It's not enough to violate the expectations of your readers because of how inconsistent curiosity is. Creating disorder is not the final step in sustaining curiosity.
Convincing your readers that their knowledge about a certain subject is not enough can also be a good way to tickle their curiosity. Loewenstein suggests that you should use feedback to terminate your readers' thoughts before it surfaces.
Scientists discovered that a good number of people believe they know more than they do. Therefore, you need to make sure you don't lose readers who think they already know the information in your content or article.
For instance, a reader involved in marketing comes across this headline:
5 Marketing Facts You Should Know
Might think the information is something already known and won't feel the need to click through the content. But, a headline like this:
5 Marketing Facts From A Weird "Real World" Business You Should Know
It would be more effective as the mention of the word "Weird" already raises curiosity. What is that weird thing?
Adding the "Real World" business to the headline also shows that the article's contents may be different from what your readers are exposed to. Therefore, they cannot predict the contents of your post.
The main goal is to directly use the readers' most proficient field to trigger their curiosity by telling them, 'I know you know a lot, but this is something you don't know.'
Know when to conclude
Curiosity doesn't increase infinitely. If left unsatisfied for a while, it diminishes, and the drive to seek information is lost.
Most people believe that a reader's curiosity will last indefinitely. But this is not the case and could become a problem that results in excessive use of the curiosity concept.
This is common among sales copies, whether long form or short form. Your headline is essential when attracting your reader's attention, but it doesn't ensure keeping your readers interested in your content.
The headline's role is to get your audience to read the first line of your content, the first line would entice them to read the second line, and the process continues. Your opening paragraph should go along with the curiosity gap stated in your headline. Introducing something unrelated, believing that curiosity would make your readers search for the promised information, is a bad idea.
Revealing the information at the start of your article is not compulsory. Instead, let your readers know that they need to read the report to the end to get the information they seek. It would maintain their curiosity and push them towards the middle or the end of your article.
Once this is achieved, you can rely less on curiosity and fuel their attention with rich imagery, excellent story-telling, and irresistible benefits and motivate them to do the desired action.
This is where your expertise in either short or long content comes to play. Read our guide to choosing between long-form content and short-form content to make an informed decision on this matter.
Elements Of A Curiosity Gap Marketing Model
There is a formula in making (and maintaining) interest. The curiosity gap model actually comprises of three major components, which are as follows:
The headline is the most vital element to consider when using the curiosity gap technique. Writing a headline is not an easy task as there are certain factors to consider when making one.
1. A great headline has to be very captivating.
It has to get the reader's attention in seconds and establish a balance between intrigue and the information.
2. Write headlines that are like trailers for an article.
It has to tease the readers enough to make them click and show the nature of the content, so they know if it's essential. In other words, headlines need to be specific enough to attract an audience, but not so detailed that it prevents the audience from clicking.
3. Avoid overused headlines.
Headlines such as: "you will be amazed by what happens next" and "Shocking!" have experienced a downward curve as they don't entice readers anymore. Plus, they are bordering on clickbait. Being clickbait-y could actually be the reason for its downward trend.
The Publishing Frequency
The publishing frequency is another crucial element to consider when using the curiosity gap technique. Popular websites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed make a lot of content and publish them every day. Maintaining this kind of publishing frequency comes with several bonuses.
You would attract massive audiences and cover a wide variety of subject areas and topics. Another perk of maintaining a high publishing frequency is being able to cancel out the losses incurred by low performing content by publishing other content.
Virality is the last element but not the least. One of the reasons for using the curiosity gap is to reach out to as many people as possible. You would always want your content to get thousands or millions of social media shares.
Take a look at the quizzes shared on Facebook by your friends. Most of them are from sites like Upworthy and would go viral because they understand what the audience likes and would most likely get shares. When your content goes viral, more traffic would be driven to your site, increasing your profit and sales. It also increases the engagement with the content and gives a higher ad revenue.
Tips on Implementing The Curiosity Gap In Your Marketing Strategy
The curiosity gap technique is powerful enough to increase your clicks' rate across multiple channels, from email marketing campaigns, to native advertisements, to social networks.
The optimal way of exploiting the gap in knowledge is to study what makes your target audience curious and what they look for when seeking information, services, or products.
Whether you are a small business owner with a short digital marketing range looking to get more traffic to your site, or you are part of a large company aiming to approach customers in a different way, this marketing strategy can work for you. This can work for both short term goals (such as getting leads), or long term ones (such as getting recurring purchases).
Here are some guidelines on what to use when adopting the curiosity gap technique:
Make use of emotional triggers
Curiosity cannot be attributed solely to one emotion. In fact, it is so complex, we find it hard to determine whether it is positive or negative. Does it make you giddy with excitement, or does it make you want to gnash your teeth?
This complexity can therefore be used to your advantage. A smart marketer can use the curiosity principle when trying to draw out positive emotions or negative ones, based on the intent.
One thing is for sure, curiosity is linked with desire, which is a powerful emotion in itself.
Positive curiosity is frequently used for ads that promote a product or service. You would of course want what you offer to be viewed positively. This style is also used for content that is aimed towards virality.
Here’s an example of positive curiosity being used:
Negative curiosity, though, is often used in news and in political posts. Negative curiosity is triggered in these instances especially if something you don’t believe in or what makes you angry causes you to have the deep desire to consume the content and prove to yourself that what you believe in is right all along.
Here’s an example of negative curiosity being used:
If you believe that the Earth is round (as scientists and experts have repeatedly proven), you will surely be bothered by the headline “Why the Earth is actually 100% flat,” by a reliable news outfit, no less. If you click on the headline to the article and read on, you’ll find that the writer thinks that…
I won’t tell you. Better find out for yourself here.
Understand Your Target Market
You can’t know what your audience’s knowledge gap is unless you understand them perfectly. The only way to do that is to establish a marketing persona. your target persona must include information about your audience’s educational attainment, industry field, and interest.
This is highly important if you are using the curiosity technique in marketing campaigns; otherwise, it’s like you’re shooting with blanks.
Use this in-depth guide on how to create a marketing persona if you don’t have one yet.
Don't Trick Your Audience
There are many clickbait headlines on the web that make you smirk when you look at them. The reason you sneer is that you know the headline has a lot of trickery. Why, then, would you use the same shady methods to attract and trick an audience?
Using Clickbait means using deception to drive traffic to your website. The publishers who use Clickbait don't care about how long the readers stay on their site, so they don't use some vital engagement metrics. All they want is the advertising revenue generated from clicks and pageviews.
If you want to maintain your credibility, treat your readers respectfully and don't think of them as tools to create revenue and traffic. Putting some intrigue in your content is a step in the right direction, but resorting to cheap tricks and deception is out of the question. Since you wouldn't click on a headline filled with fantasy, you shouldn't use it on your audience for any reason.
Always deliver on the promise stated in your headline. It is crucial, especially in content marketing, but is also vital in other strategies like email headlines or ad headlines. It doesn't matter how well-structured your emails are or how enticing your headline is, failing to deliver the promised content would raise disappointment in your audience. A disappointed person would not perform the desired action; hence, it would negatively affect your conversion rates and reduce your brand trust and credibility, so be careful.
Ensure your content is of good quality
Nobody likes bland and low-quality content. Content with good quality is also rewarded with high visibility on social media platforms and search engine algorithms. Therefore, improving the quality of the content you make should be one of your priorities, rather than thinking of tricking readers with compelling headlines that lead to disappointing content.
That does not mean you shouldn't leverage your audience's curiosity or try to make them interested in your content. Creating the best quality content should be your focus. Although clickbait can be tempting to use for short term benefits, continuously making content with excellent quality will generate far better results on a long-term basis.
Leave a trail of breadcrumbs for your audience to follow.
Ever notice how some landing pages don’t provide the information all at once? They’ll feed you some of it, but not everything at the very beginning. One part will be at the beginning, another somewhere in the middle, and the biggest reveal at the very end. If there’s a call to action, the biggest reveal will likely be closest to it.
This is because the curiosity principle is still being used in the lander, enticing the viewer to consume the content more and more until he or she becomes convinced enough to perform the expected action.
If you want to take full advantage of the curiosity gap, you need to release the information you have in bits to maintain the reader's curiosity. When you withhold essential details for a manageable period, it keeps your audience going because their interest hasn't been satisfied yet.
However, do not make them read or go through irrelevant content as it would quench their curiosity and increase your bounce rate.
Don't let your headlines reveal everything
Headlines are significant, and their roles can’t be disputed. If a blog post that provides some useful information has a poorly designed headline, it will fail to attract the target audience. If you want to drive traffic like popular websites (BuzzFeed and Upworthy), you need to make more compelling headlines.
Headlines need to be specific to make readers click but must not reveal too much that the readers don't need to click to get the information. Revealing too much in your headlines would remove the balance you want to establish between the headline and the content. And that would totally defeat the goal of making your audience curious!
You have to show enough just to get their attention and make them click and read, but hold back enough so that they don't figure out everything through your headlines.
Don't focus on achieving virality so much that it affects your content quality
When it comes to virality, there are numerous things to consider, for instance, the massive difference between the content published by sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy and the (sometimes boring) B2B marketing world. An article on a business's whitepaper will never be shared and broadly read as the one about which Twilight character matches your personality.
When you focus on making your content go viral, you'll lose focus on some factors determined by you, like content quality. That doesn't mean some attention shouldn't be paid to the data you can easily access.
Not being able to manufacture virality is not a setback; instead, you should figure out what appeals to your audience and keep on giving it to them. Always examine your analytics data when planning your editorial calendar. Find out which articles had much success and the elements they share. Find out if they had original research or data or feature a strong opinion on a serious issue. When these are identified, you would know what your audience wants and what would keep them on the edge.
Make your offer seem mysterious
People become highly responsive when presented with something mysterious. Creating a mystery circling your offer would make the targets want to learn more about it. You can take advantage of this when creating a marketing angle that will answer your target's desire.
When writing with a bit of mystery for your headline, think about what can make your audience ask “what could it be?”, but then, easily provide a way for them to find out.
As you can see in the example above, the headline is not giving the information on what can cause the addiction to the game, but is giving the audience a simple way to find out, which is by “playing for 1 minute”.
Delay the offering conclusion
People always anticipate the benefits they would get from an offer. The best way to knead your prospective customers' anticipation is to delay the end of the offering by recommending a challenge for them to complete. This strategy has a high rate of success.
Introduce something new
When using the curiosity gap technique, you would always want to keep your audience's curiosity going for as long as you can, and you can do that by introducing something new. This need not be the bridge to the knowledge gap, but a rather different tidbit.
Still, it must have some connection to the previous knowledge, experience, or topic. It would keep your users engaged and motivated to find out more information.
Make sure that you do not go way off-topic though or you’ll lose your viewer.
Provide a promise worth waiting for
When you give your audience the promise of a benefit worth waiting for, it makes them anticipate what they would get. This strategy leverages the audience's curiosity about what the offers are and the things they would benefit from.
Do not keep them waiting too long
This is the final but most important tip. It might come as a shock, but keeping your audience on their toes for a long period can cause them to get tired and leave.
Yes, you should withhold some information to keep your audience’s attention. But, you should not make your audience wait too long (or go through too much content) before revealing the mystery. As previously mentioned, leave bits and pieces along the way.
According to a study between the correlation of curiosity and time, the longer the person waits for his curiosity to be satisfied, the less curious he becomes. This is because the person then focuses more on holding back his feelings of curiosity the more he waits.
To determine how long you can keep your audience before they get up and leave, you can use page analytics and heatmaps. The former helps you determine how long the viewer stays on your page, while the latter helps you see which parts of the page the viewer clicks and how far along down your content he has reached.
Headline Formats That Utilize the Curiosity Principle
Here are some curiosity gap headline formats that will help you attract an audience while avoiding being clickbait-y and still maintaining your brand credibility.
X Reasons Why
This headline format is quite recurrent around the web, and you’ve probably come across it a few times. When it comes to gathering clicks and social engagements, this format has proven to be one of the most effective.
This headline format is mostly used for list-type content, and this type of content tends to get a lot of shares. It uses a bit of mystery to trigger the reader’s curiosity. This usually answers a pain point of the viewer or solves a problem.
Some examples of how to use this format are:
- “10 Reasons Why Your Sales Are Not Improving”
- “27 Reasons Why You Should Start Saving at 18”
- “5 Reasons Why Your Conversation Rate is Poor”
X Things You
This headline format also introduces a list-type content. The difference between the “X things you format” and the “X reasons why” is that the former has more personalization than the latter.
The word you in the headline makes it seem like you're talking directly to the reader and it motivates them to click through and find out what content is behind is the headline. Below are good examples of how this headline structure can be used:
- “10 Things You Need to Know Before Creating A Website”
- “15 Things You Need To Buy Before Renting A Stall”
- “5 Things You Don’t Know About Digital Marketing”
This technique uses the name of a well known existing brand or company or a prominent figure related to your content or brand to build your brand trust and ultimately increase your click rate.
You can also use the piggyback technique to follow up on an existing story or feature a well-known person on your blog or article. Good examples of how to use this format ares
- “Nike Designer Shares X Tips…”
- “America’s Got Talent Star Reveals…”
- “Bloomingdales Designer Teaches Us…”
To avoid being a clickbait, again, make sure your content actually contains what these brands or people did or say.
This Is What
This curiosity gap headline format creates a feeling of expectancy in your readers. It is used for articles that give reasons for a particular event or something that is happening. It stimulates the reader’s curiosity and makes them eager to know they would find when they land on the page.
This format can backfire if not used properly. If you don’t give enough context in your headlines, your readers could become skeptical.
Avoid using headlines like: “This Is Why Conversion Is Hard” or “This Is Why You Have Losses.” Instead, create headlines like: “This Is Why Business Owners Invest In Crypto Currency” or “This Why Your Business Is At A Loss.” Give enough information to make your readers less skeptical but don’t reveal too much.
This Is The…
Here’s another good example of a curiosity headline that is proven to work, according to a study by BuzzSumo. This curiosity headline template has, in the past, done an excellent job of driving a good amount of social engagement.
The following titles are examples of ways to use this headline format effectively to drive clicks and social shares:
- “This is the easiest way to remember the guidelines on COVID 19 social distancing”
- “This Is The Surprising Way The 2020 Pandemic Has Changed The Education System Forever”
This Is How…
Similar to the previous format of ‘This is the,’ this headline type keeps the readers fascinated while keeping the main point of the article secret. The word ‘this’ gives the audience an idea of what the article is about but still makes them curious to learn what it says exactly.
While using this headline format, you should be careful not to be too mysterious such that it gets confusing; else, your audience may get annoyed and tag your post as a clickbait. Below are some effective examples of this headline type:
- “This is how singers can increase their vocal range without damaging their vocal chords”
- “This is how entrepreneurs are saving loads of money on their taxes”
- “This is how students can earn a full-time income without losing focus”
You Can Now…
The ‘You Can Now’ headline format works a lot because it gives readers the impression that the possibility of doing something they weren’t able to do before now exists.
Presenting new information to your audience through this format is enough to create the amount of curiosity needed to cause them to read through or view your content.
Examples of this headline include:
- “You can now school abroad without having to…”
- “You can now spend less on electricity with…”
- “You can now lose weight with X new strategy”
The Last… You’ll Ever Need
A headline like this is most suitable for an e-commerce business because this format makes it easy for such businesses to slot in a product as the last thing their customers will ever need in their lifetime. this means there would be no need to buy again.
This headline template is especially effective when the product in question is an alternative to one that consumers have to buy on a regular basis, as it would come as a huge relief to them.
For instance, as with our example above, since you know that people have to buy pens every so often, then “The Last Pen You Will Ever Need,” will be a huge improvement!
But the question remains is how can this product achieve this? That is an interesting topic that you can use to hook the audience up.
You Won’t Believe…
This particular headline has been used as clickbait a countless number of times, that the slightest misuse could lead to the downfall of your entire curiosity campaign.
Headlines such as “You won’t believe this new hack!’ have been found to really annoy internet users because most of them turn out to be misleading. In order to use this headline type more effectively, you will have to make it a little more descriptive.
Here are some examples of how you can use this headline in the right way:
- “12 Facts About Volcanoes You Won’t Believe Are True”
- “30 Songs You Won’t Believe Are Not Autotuned”
- “You Won’t Believe This Cat’s Dance Moves”
- “Amazing Anomalies You Won’t Believe Exist”
Why You Should…
With this headline, you can directly tell your audience what you need them to do, along with a convincing reason why they should do it. This method works by giving them a useful tip while tempting them to keep on reading.
The following headlines tell the users what the content is about and, at the same time, leaves a mystery with the word ‘Why,’ which makes them want to click and learn more.
- “Why You Should Start Doing X”
- “Why You Should Stop Buying Y Product”
- “Why You Should Invest in Housing Property Now”
This kind of headline can be used to tap into your audience’s need-to-know characteristic. People already love original content, and so presenting a live content to your audience makes them feel like they are getting original and unrecycled information.
While this method on its own does not exactly tap into the curiosity of users, it can be used in conjunction with a copy that leverages the curiosity gap to produce the best results.
For instance, if you use a title like “LIVE: How to make sure you never lose another client,” your audience will not only be moved to join in based on the fact that they may not find your content elsewhere, but also out of curiosity to find out a lasting solution to their problem.
Setting a timer with such content (Principle of Urgency, anyone?) will let people only have access to the content for a short time, thereby increasing the urge and effectiveness.
See or Find Out
Most times, people need to see to believe. Using the “See” headline makes your audience feel like you are about to show them something that they do not want to miss. This is frequently used in posts that are image-heavy or makes use of graphics or videos.
The phrase “find out” is an alternative to this style. Some examples are:
- "Single Mom Builds a Home for $1500: See How She Did It!"
- "Find Out Why Dating 40-Year-Old Men is Better"
What We Knew All Along
This is one of the most popular styles right now, and there is little doubt as to why it is effective. The headline is telling you that you should have known this and that the content is just affirming your knowledge of this.
But the truth is, you don’t really know! This is a great form of reverse psychology, and is very effective in gossip content.
So what is it that you don’t really know but the post is telling you that you already do? Do you really know it or not? Is it what you think it is? There’s only one way to find out, and that is to click the link to the post and find out.
Leveraging the principle of curiosity remains one of the most effective ways to grab the attention of your audience and cause them to read through or view your content.
When this principle is used correctly along with engaging and non-deceitful content, audiences learn something and are moved to share. This thereby enhances the rate at which your content gets shared and, in turn, improves your brand popularity. When your brand gets popular, you would surely notice an uprise in your conversion rate.
As a marketer, you should refrain from using the curiosity gap in the form of clickbait to avoid hurting your brand's reputation. Unlike most clickbait users, marketers need more than just clicks as the readers or viewers must stay and be persuaded to convert.
Therefore, you must always ensure you deliver on your headline promise. The use of emotions is key in the application of the curiosity gap. Once you're able to tap into certain emotions of your audience, your content and brand appeal positively to them. In conclusion, the benefits of employing the curiosity principle in marketing are endless, as long as you use it properly.
If you plan on using the curiosity principle in native advertising, you won't be disappointed with its effectiveness. Testing which ad and landing page combinations is important though. If you need help with your native ad campaigns, we're here for you! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to assist.