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BizReport : Blogs & Content : December 09, 2013


Long? Short? Which headline length generates the most click-throughs?

Headlines should be eye-catching and well-crafted to lure in readers. While there are many aspects to headline writing that contribute to its success, content discovery platform Outbrain has used click-through data to ascertain specifically whether the length of a headline can affect content marketing success.

by Helen Leggatt

They can be short. They can be so long that you need to pause for breath while reading them. But what is the optimal length of a headline that will motivate readers to click through?

By analyzing all the paid links added to their network on July 10th, 2013, Outbrain found the number of words in a headline ranged from one to 23, but averaged around seven. Further analysis of eight months of click-through data on over 100,000 English headlines for paid links helped them better understand the headline lengths that garnered the most engagement.

Their research found that headlines with 60-100 characters performed the best with drop offs in click-through rates below 60 characters and above 100.

"When measuring headline length by the number of words, rather than characters, we found the same pattern of results," writes Outbrain's Alex Bennett on the company blog. "The highest click-through rates were again achieved at moderate headline lengths, with 16-18 word headlines performing better than headlines of any other word length."

When comparing headlines in English with those in French, Spanish and Italian, Outbrain found them to be generally on a par, with the exception of Spanish headlines which continued to perform better and better as their length increased with lengths of 101-120 characters generating the most engagement.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: click-through rates, content discovery, writing tips










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