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The Most Effective Elements of Clickbait Article Headlines

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
March 1, 2016

What makes a clickbait article headline effective? Does it include a number? The mention of an animal? Some topic currently in the news?

To find out, Venngage examined the top performing articles posted over a three-month span on 24 high-traffic sites known for producing content with engaging titles. The publishers examined included Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Cracked, The Huffington Post, Vox, and Clickhole.

The researchers identified seven key clickbait headline factors: lists, personal stories, animal references, pop culture/food topics, news topics, unknown ideas/new stories, and an element of shock.

Some 79% of the headlines of the most popular posts examined included an element of shock ("Inspiring! This Runner Stopped Just Yards From The Finish To Put A Collapsed Rival Out Of Her Misery").

More than half also referenced something new ("Instagrammer Matches Makeup to Socks"), a topic currently in the news ("Bernie Sanders Will Win the Democratic Nomination and Presidency in a Landslide"), or pop culture/food ("The Secret Meaning Behind Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé's Halftime Performance").

Most of the highly successful headlines examined included three or four of the clickbait factors, the analysis found.

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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by john Tue Mar 1, 2016 via web

    I can't help but think that there is something ironic about clicking on an article that is written about the most effective click bait...

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