What exactly makes viral media, well, viral? It’s a question that many companies would like to answer for their website and online marketing campaigns. Clickhole, a new yet already popular website, might help explain what type of content can push past other noise and get shared again and again on social websites.
Parody sites are numerous, but few ever achieve the level of notoriety that popular spoof website The Onion occupies, which now receives about 11 million unique visitors to its website each month. Clickhole is a sister publication, and occupies a unique satirical niche: it’s going after websites like UpWorthy, The Daily Mail, and BuzzFeed, which are all commonly read and shared among the internet’s most media vociferous demographics.
What makes Clickhole likable is, perhaps, its unapologetically candid take on the type of reaction we’ve come to expect from ourselves when we click on a “funny cat” video or an UpWorthy article “Guaranteed To Change Our Life Forever.” The website helps to explain itself through the voice of eight-year-old Jessica, who stars in a video on its front page. She explains that a user might end up on Clickhole because, “You want me to say something adorable because, well, you’re lonely. And you really just need something to fill the emptiness you’re feeling deep down inside. Just remember, no matter how many videos you watch, or how many lists you read, you’re still going to feel all alone.”
With every article and video it publishes, Clickhole takes aim and strikes at a new media landscape that is now dominated by what is commonly referred to as “Clickbait,” or content intentionally created with hyped-up titles and leads that promise, for example, amazing experiences in the space of three minutes.
Part of Clickhole’s humor, charm, and of course, popularity, is that the spoof is undetectable until one clicks on the page. Right now, a much shared piece is titled “10 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman.” Instead of the anticipated list of no-no’s, though, Clickhole explains that phrases like “That’s me in there!” and, “Is it yours?” should never be said in polite conversation.
So far, Clickhole seems to have latched onto a sweet spot when it comes to creating and sharing viral-worthy media. Whether they will be able to keep that spot, though, remains to be seen. If there’s one thing those involved with online marketing have learned so far, after all, it’s that audiences move on all too quickly to the next clickable title.