This study will make you feel like a huge sucker

Think you can’t be suckered? This study says different.

A new study looked at the most effective headlines on Facebook and can we guess what phrases generated the most engagement?

Yeah, you’re used to the clickbaity promises that you won’t believe what you’re about to read, and going to cry tears of joy. But does that mean they don’t work anymore? Nope. YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT BUT YOU’RE NOT.

Content analytics company BuzzSumo ran a bunch of numbers and found that the old and tired tropes are still very effective, thank you very much.

BuzzSumo analyzed 100 million article headlines published between 1st March 2017 and 10th May 2017 (OMG, there is soooooooo much content out there) for measurements like highest and lowest engagement levels on social media. Using what they call “trigrams” or three-word phrases as the basis, they found the top performers — those that generated the most engagement – on Facebook were as follows:


So, the most powerful trigram, which got more then twice the engagement of the runner up, was “will make you … “

BuzzSumo suggests that, “This headline format sets out why the reader should care about the content. It also promises that the content will have a direct impact on the reader, often an emotional reaction. The headline is clear and to the point which makes it elegant and effective.”

Sure. Maybe. And maybe people are also like, “Oh yeah? We’ll just see about that!” when they see such a headline. Either way….

Typical headlines might be:

  • 24 Pictures That Will Make You Feel Better About The World
  • What This Airline Did for Its Passengers Will Make You Tear Up – So Heartwarming
  • 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person
  • “Who Wore It Better?” Pics That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud
  • 13 Travel Tips That Will Make You Feel Smart

Curiosity is another factor, as is wanting to have all the feels (kidding…I would never actually says “all the feels”). So, trigrams like “tears of joy” and “can’t stop laughing” are also effective.

People also want to know what “everyone” is talking about and why people are “freaking out,” which we’re usually not – but there’s one born every minute.

Meanwhile, the worst performing phrases were these.

Note that nobody wants to know any simple tips or how to do things on a budget. Not on Facebook anyhow. Apparently that stuff works over on Pinterest though.

Read the whole thing at BuzzSumo.


(Image: Copyright: piksel / 123RF Stock Photo)

, ,