Shocking: Top 10 Headlines Online That Produce the Best Results

Shocking: Top 10 Headlines Online That Produce the Best Results

A powerful headline can grab your audience and prompt your prospects to click, read, share … and respond as a lead or sale.

In fact, a headline is 75% of the success or failure of your campaign.

What online headlines produce the best results?

There are only 2 things to know:

  1. The most reliable is the test. The marketplace is always right.
  2. Most used. The second best is not as scientific as testing. It might even be wrong – and may be a kind of mass delusion. It’s which marketing headlines are used the most.

In a test of 100 million headlines, here are the best used, the ones used over and over.

This research examines the most shared headlines on Facebook and Twitter.

The three-word phrases or trigrams that gained the most Facebook likes, shares or comments were:

Top 10 Headline Phrases on Facebook

  1. Will make you (8961)
  2. This is why (4099)
  3. Can we guess (3199)
  4. Only X in (2398)
  5. The reason is (1610)
  6. Are freaking out (1560)
  7. X stunning photos (1425)
  8. Tears of joy (1388)
  9. Is what happens (1337)
  10. Make you cry (1287)

The phrase “will make you” had twice the number of Facebook engagements as the second most popular trigram.

Why does this one work so well? It is a linking phrase. It doesn’t start or end a headline.

Instead, it makes an explicit link between content and the potential impact on the reader.

This headline format:

  1. Sets out why the reader should care about the content.
  2. Promises that the content will have a direct impact on the reader.
  3. Is clear and to the point.

For example, typical headliners include:

  • 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

Headline phrases involving curiosity and voyeurism also got Facebook readers clicking. For example:

  • What happened next
  • Talking about it
  • Twitter reacts to
  • Are freaking out
  • This is why
  • The reason is
  • Top x songs

But, be careful with using the “what happened next” trigram.

While it performs well, Facebook now categorizes headlines that withhold information as clickbait and demotes them.

Adding specific headlines are popular and appeal to a sense of “belonging.” For example:

  • 25 Things Only Teachers Will Understand
  • 17 Things Only Moms of Twins Understand
  • 9 Things Only Girls Who Grew Up With Older Brothers Will Understand
  • 10 Things Only Night Shift Nurses Understand

Let’s examine phrases that start or end headlines as measured on Facebook engagements:

Top 10 Phrases Starting Headlines

  1. X reasons why (5121)
  2. X things you (4690)
  3. This is what (4107)
  4. This is the (3150)
  5. This is how (2784)
  6. X of the (2685)
  7. X ways to (2640)
  8. This is why (2637)
  9. The x best (2357)
  10. How to make (2335)

Top 10 Phrases Ending Headlines

  1. …the world (10157)
  2. …x years (9897)
  3. …goes viral (6830)
  4. …to know (5429)
  5. …x days (5403)
  6. …on Twitter (4545)
  7. …are you (4237)
  8. …right now (4181)
  9. …can you (3939)
  10. …on Instagram (3787)

Top First Words in Headlines

  1. This (20040)
  2. Trump (14931)
  3. How (12249)
  4. 10 (8584)
  5. Why (7390)
  6. What (6577)
  7. 5 (5764)
  8. New (5434)
  9. These (4542)
  10. 7 (4209)

There were also several two-word phrases that are popular:

  • Make you
  • Is why
  • Goes viral
  • Most beautiful

Numbers and lists play a huge part in gaining response from Facebook users. For example:

Top  10 Numbers in Headlines

  1. 10 (22359)
  2. 5 (16390)
  3. 15 (12874)
  4. 7 (12362)
  5. 20 (9244)
  6. 6 (9045)
  7. 8 (8735)
  8. 12 (8143)
  9. 9 (7953)
  10. 3 (6649)

The number 10 is by far the most effective number in a headline.

Let’s see what works in the Twitter social universe when it comes to effective headlines. Surprisingly, what works well for Facebook doesn’t hold true for Twitter.

Unlike Facebook, headlines that resonate on Twitter lack emotional phrases.

The main exception was the trigram “will make you” phrase. It was No. 1 on Facebook and is No. 4 on Twitter.

Top 10 Headline Phrases on Twitter

  1. This is what (174)
  2. For first time (133)
  3. Things to know (123)
  4. Will make you (115)
  5. X percent of (115)
  6. Is the new (87)
  7. As it happened (86)
  8. First time in (80)
  9. First look at (78)
  10. Of all time (73)

Top Twitter phrases focus on newness such as “for the first time” and “is the new.”

Top trigrams shared on Twitter focus on explanations and analysis. For example:

  • The truth about
  • The rise of
  • Things to know
  • This is what
  • What we know

Business-to-business headlines are also important to marketers. Here are the top phrases in headlines shared on LinkedIn:

Top B2B Headline Phrases

  1. The future of (402)
  2. X ways to (331)
  3. Need to know (239)
  4. In the world (233)
  5. Of the year (198)
  6. X things you (154)
  7. One of the (144)
  8. The power of (141)
  9. How to get (135)
  10. How to make (135)

If you need help putting together the right headline and the right phrasing for your next marketing campaign, write me at craig@cdmginc.com or call me at 310-212-5727.

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