It means what you think it means: bait for clicks. It's a link which entices you to click on it.

The "bait" comes in many shapes and sizes, but it is usually intentionally misleading and/or crassly provocative. Clicking will inevitably cause disappointment. Clickbait is usually created for money.

One common type is adverts and spam, such as you might find on a random website or in your Facebook feed. Such clickbait usually leads to a site which tries to sell you something or possibly extort you, by withholding the promised "bait". Typical examples include: a sexy picture which promises to show more; suggestive and intriguing captions, like "you won't believe what this hot girl did"; stories designed to inflame people, such as by playing on political passions, like "woman demands more benefits to pay for comfort eating"; and claimed weight loss methods or body building methods, often with some "weird easy trick".

The second main variety is headlines to media sites which make money from page views. Common offenders are Buzzfeed, and Gawker and its affiliated sites. The headlines are designed to cause maximum provocation or interest, but as a result are frequently extremely exaggerated or flat out lies, and the articles themselves are often just as shoddy.
Thanks for wasting my time with this lying clickbait, random Gawker editor. Congratulations, you've gotten your two cents out of me. Now off you go and spend it on your favourite brand of cheap gin - the one you swill at night as you silently shed tears whilst contemplating your miserable, tortured existence and failed journalism career.
by Gloone February 24, 2015
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The biggest lie you can get on the internet, commonly found on N&A Production’s YouTube videos.

The description and the thumbnail of these videos are worse. Usually containing massive arrows pointing to something blurred out, and having a crap ton of cancerous emojis.
by iGood July 28, 2018
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A person or website that posts eye-catching headlines for stories that aren't very accurate or just plain made up, in the hope that they'll go viral on social media, bringing in ad revenue. Also, a generator of fake news that frequently claims to be doing "satire" when called out for just making up outrageous shit.
He fancies himself a hip satirist, but he's really just a second-rate clickbaiter.
by PieterB March 10, 2015
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A cheap tactic used to gain views. Common types of clickbait are misleading titles (You Won't Believe What Happens Next!) or more recently with the rise of custom YouTube thumbnails, misleading thumbnails-most commonly boobs.
1) There are so many clickbait articles here. Who writes this stuff anyway?

2) Anything from Flashgitz. Seriously.
by Pitchy May 2, 2016
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The thing I absolutely hate the most.

This method is set up by what looks like a cool or innocent article, video, etc, but once the viewer clicks on it, the creator gets profit.

On YouTube, there are many of these YouTubers. They often use overused thumbnails such as boobs, or annoying things IN the thumbnails, such as circles or arrows. These are usually attractive to many viewers, and once they get their hands on that video, the creator gains money just from people clicking.

Some may also use misleading titles. Again, this is another way to lure viewers into a video that just has a misleading title put there on purpose. And again, this is another way the creator can get money.

There are some YouTubers I've come across, and as a very underrated YouTuber, I find this act selfish and a lazy way to get money. If there's a day I get popular, I would never use this stupid method to gain money; I'd be out of my house, earning money at a REAL job.
Clickbait is just the worst thing I've seen. And I hate how some people get away with it, like YouTubers do not get terminated for spam content.
by Tomboy05 December 27, 2017
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(noun, pejorative) A seemingly innocent posting on social media that contains a link to more content, but whose true goal is to trick the viewer into clicking on the link so that the writer can collect view stats -- usually for monetary or for narcissistic purposes.
That tweet on how to get girls/guys was just clickbait -- it linked to some book on Amazon.

That posting in my stream titled "What This Person Did For That Will AMAZE You!" was just clickbait and linked to a paid advertisement video.
by Professor F. October 27, 2014
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