Agency Uses Clickbait For Charities

Photo: RXM Creative for The Wall Street Journal

Most people are familiar with frustrating “clickbait” links on the Internet, with titles such as “9 out of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact” and “This Girl Didn’t Know What’s Inside Her, Not Until They Cut Off Her Pants! Shocking!”

But what if the same tactic could be used to raise awareness of charities and to promote donations?

Clickbait for Good is an effort by digital marketing agency RXM Creative to do exactly that. The company created a website it says can transform clickbait from “the scourge of the Internet” into something more positive.

“What we see is clickbait usually points to trivial news and meaningless issues. We wanted to use this [tactic] but shift it onto things that really matter,” said Mihai Botarel, creative director at RXM Creative.

People can visit and share clickbait links on their social profiles that drive traffic to charities including World Wildlife Fund, charity: water, Stop Hunger Now and others.

RXM Creative is also publishing links via a dedicated Clickbait for Good Facebook page and Twitter account, but said it does not plan to pay to promote any of its posts. Instead it will rely on word-of-mouth and social sharing.

The agency is scouring the Web every day for content by or about charities it believes to be advocating for worthy causes, and writing clickbait headlines associated with that content. Charities are free to submit their content for consideration, said Raul Mandru, another creative director RXM Creative.

“It’s an aggregator of worthy causes. Some of them are well known, but some of them are less known. We want to point to as many causes as possible,” Mr. Mandru said.

“This famous hair stylist has ONE little trick” read a headline posted to the ClickbaitforGood Facebook page on Monday, which links to an article by charity: water about clean-water issues in Mali, West Africa.

“OMG! She is just 16 and she has done things @KimKardashian haven’t even thought about,” the ClickbaitforGood account tweeted Tuesday, linking to a Girls Not Brides post about a woman in Bangladesh who was pressured into an early marriage.

Internet users have become increasingly frustrated with clickbait in recent years, especially on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. As a result, Facebook announced earlier this month that it plans to “further reduce clickbait” in users’ News Feeds, and said websites and Pages that rely on clickbait-style headlines “should expect their distribution to decrease.”

Mr. Mandru said Facebook’s move is motivated by the same reasons RXM Creative wanted to change the way clickbait is used, but acknowledged that it could see its posts limited by Facebook’s algorithm changes as a result.

“Facebook is just small part of it. Clickbait is on every site and on every news aggregator. Once this generates awareness we can go to Facebook and show them the project,” Mr. Mandru said.

The website is now live and operational, and RXM Creative began populating the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts with posts on Friday.

Write to Jack Marshall at

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