A new generation of marketers are looking to capitalize on the latest trends in social media, such as viral video and digital billboards, with a new strategy called bait & switch.
“We’re trying to catch our customers’ attention and then use the information to drive engagement, which means generating a great brand experience,” says John P. Reedy, chief marketing officer of social media marketing company, National Seo Services.
With that, he says, they are using bait & switches, the art of selling a brand with a bait, to get their customers to buy products.
“You’ve got to be careful with bait & change because if they’re not satisfied with what you’ve done, they may not buy again,” he says.
While the bait & shift technique has been around for years, it is gaining popularity, especially among younger marketers, says Michael C. Kelleher, chief of business development at brand consultancy BrandMaven.
He says it’s often easier to attract attention and brand awareness to something when it’s something that has been done before.
“When people hear of bait & swap, they’re often really shocked and they’re thinking, ‘Oh, that’s really scary,'” says Kelleheers.
“They’re not necessarily thinking about the marketing value of what you’re trying in terms of brand value or how it could be useful.”
In some cases, bait & swaps may be used to create a viral video for a product, but the goal is not to get the customer to buy a product.
Instead, the bait& switch is to get them to click on a link that takes them to another page, says Kellers.
The target audience is usually young people who are looking for something to share on social media or may have a lot of social capital and want to reach as many people as possible, he adds.
But the tactic is not always a winning one.
In some instances, it can backfire.
In one study, for instance, a brand created an article that had more than 200 comments, and it was rated 4 out of 5 stars.
But only 5% of the comments were positive, and the brand received less clicks than a neutral website, the study found.
“There’s a reason bait & Switch is so effective and it’s not necessarily about winning,” says Reedy.
“It’s just to create awareness.
It’s not about building a relationship, it’s about creating a brand experience.”
The problem, says Reyer, is that when people see the bait, they tend to forget about it.
“If you’re looking to build brand value, you’re probably going to do better if you’re really interested in that brand experience than if you don’t want to,” he explains.
A study from marketing firm BrandMav is one of the few that shows this is the case.
In the study, published in the April 2017 issue of the Journal of Consumer Marketing, BrandMavan looked at the results of 524 consumers who viewed a page that contained a link to an advertiser’s website.
The average time spent viewing the page was 5 minutes and the average revenue earned by the advertiser was $0.33.
The site was also rated 4 stars out of five stars.
BrandMava also analyzed data from more than 1,300 consumers who had seen a page with a similar content and then clicked on a button to view the ad.
The study found that when consumers were shown the ad, they were more likely to click and pay more for the ad than if they were not shown the ads.
“The more people see an ad, the more likely they are to click,” says Kells.
“But the people who were shown an ad are actually not the most engaged people.”
While bait & swipes are becoming increasingly popular, they can still be a risky strategy for marketers, warns Reedy of BrandMavis.
“In my experience, bait and swipes do not necessarily generate the engagement or brand value that you’re hoping for,” he said.
“I don’t know if they generate a brand positive, but it certainly doesn’t create a brand negative.”
Reedy says it is best to stay away from bait & flips.
“Just because it’s been around forever doesn’t mean that you have to continue to use it,” he adds, stressing that it’s important to use a proven method.
If you’re unsure about whether bait & tricks work, and you’re not willing to commit to a strategy that involves using them, Reedy suggests checking out the latest viral videos or digital billboards.
“Try using some of these platforms instead of using a bait & go,” he suggests.
For more on the psychology of buying, watch the video below from BrandMavi, where Reedy talks about his experience as a Millennial millennial.