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").

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. 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