Headlines are a very important aspect of advertising. Moz reports that 80% of viewers don’t make it past the headline. This emphasizes the idea that a good headline could increase engagement exponentially. A member of our team recently shared a very interesting article by BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo analyzed 100 million headlines to research how viewers and customers click on headlines. Here is a summary of what they noted as well as the conclusions they came to.

Emotion Evoking Headlines

According to BuzzSumo, the top most engaging headline phrase on Facebook was “will make you”. These headlines are usually linked with visuals. There are many reasons why people often love to engage with these type of headlines.

  1. It incentivizes: People often feel compelled to emotionally engage with the content related to the headline.
  2. Clear and concise: The headline is to the point. It tells the viewer how they are supposed to feel about the content presented to them.
  3. Rewarding: The content related to these types of headlines can often give the viewer a reward for being part of the experience. Ex. These Cool Tips Will Make You Successful!

Adventurous Headlines

These sort of headlines offer the viewer to embark on a journey of learning more. Contrary to popular belief, this headline is very versatile. Everyone from insurance companies to magazines use these headlines. Here are some ways it has been done:

  1. Quizzes: These can be used for a viewer to get to know more about themselves and others.
  2. Pop culture: It can be a great way to introduce a viewer to popular news/events that happened recently.
  3. Stores: People are often enticed by interesting real life stories. These sort of headlines can engage the viewer and often inspire them to create their own.

Tribal Headlines

These type of headlines can give the viewer a sense of belonging, thus making the content more enticing. Tribal headlines can be used for entertainment content and informative content.

  1. 10 Tips for Dog Owners
  2. 16 Things Only College Students Will Understand

Different Headlines for Different Platforms

In the research conducted by BuzzSumo, they saw that the poorest performing headline phrases on Facebook did better on platforms. The example they used was “on a budget”. This phrase did poorly on Facebook, yet it did really well on Pinterest. This example emphasizes the idea of compatibility. It is important to know whether the headline phrase is compatible with the platform that it is being applied to. The phrase “on a budget” is more compatible with Pinterest because the platform is best known for DIY ideas. 

How Long Should My Headline Be

BuzzSumo discusses how there people are misinformed that less is more in terms of headlines. BuzzSumo’s research found that the optimal amount of words in a headline to drive high engagement with Facebook should be between 12-18 words. This is the equivalent of 80-95 characters.

Top 3 Tips for Headlines:

  1. Take your time: This piece of advice was discussed across the board by all of the content writers that gave advice. Taking your time to build a good headline could make all the difference for engagement, as I discussed above. Sometimes the headline can be even more important than the content itself, so put some time and effort into it!
  2. Get creative: Many of the content writers emphasized the need to stand out from others, particularly competition. The best way to embody originality is to construct something relevant to you. Though BuzzSumo’s article and this post discussed research about popular headlines, at the end of the day, a unique headline could take the cake.
  3. Your audience: Speaking of relevancy, it is important to stay relevant to your audience, not anyone else’s. A trend in headlines isn’t always the best option. It is important to know what drives your audience’s engagement and how that connects to your headline. Creating a headline that is targeted to your viewers and customers will make a greater difference than using a generic headline.

I didn’t go through every conclusion from BuzzSumo’s research on headlines, but I would highly encourage you to their article and learn more.