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New Research Reveals Strong Patterns in Facebook Headline Engagement

July 6, 2017

[denys prykhodov]
[denys prykhodov]

The common journalistic function for a headline is to underscore the major piece of news in an article.

However, according to new research from Buzzsumo, an online platform that specializes in digital marketing and Web analytics, certain headlines can actually entice and engage audiences to click, read and share pieces on Facebook.

Here are three takeaways from the research.

1. Use linking phrases.  Buzzsumo found that headlines created to generate emotional responses tend to work very well. The most powerful three word phrase — “will make you” — received more than twice the number of Facebook engagements as the second most popular trigram, while headlines including such words as “tears of joy,” “make you cry” and “give you goosebumps” also proved to be effective.

Buzzsumo connects the success of these headlines to their status as a “linking phrase” — “which doesn’t start of end a headline, rather it makes explicit the linkage between the content and the potential impact on the reader.”

2. Be wary of the phrase "on a budget." Despite performing strongly on Pinterest, the phrase "on a budget" created some of the lowest engagement numbers on Facebook. "This reinforces the need to research what works for your audience, your topics and specific social networks," wrote Buzzsumo.

3. Keep your headlines at a medium length. Buzzsumo found that the sweet spot for popular headlines on Facebook is between 12 to 18 words with 80 to 95 characters. — Dean Essner

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