Headline Testing 101
Already familiar with Chartbeat Engaged Headline Testing?
Hop down to our 101 section for tips on how to get the most out of your headline tests.
BUT, WHAT IS ENGAGED HEADLINE TESTING?
Engaged Headline Testing is like a laboratory. In this lab, you run the experiments. You determine the variables. But we provide the measurements. Our algorithm handles the heavy lifting. Engaged Headline Testing maximizes the effectiveness of your content by combining your own editorial expertise with real-time performance metrics.
You’ve got the great content—but are people seeing it? Are you driving readers to your most engaging content—the content that will keep them coming back again and again? Engaged Headline Testing helps you get to know your audience on a deeper level and promote your content with headlines that you know are more likely to grab—and keep—readers’ attention.
You’ll know which headlines resonate best with readers so you can increase engagement—and improve headline writing in the process.
WHAT MAKES ENGAGED HEADLINE TESTING UNIQUE?
We understand that audience attention is an important measure of success. Chartbeat Engaged Headline Testing identifies not only the headlines that are being clicked on, but also the ones that lead to engagement with your content. Using our Quality Clicks metric, the testing tool tallies the clicks that correspond to a user actively engaging with your content for at least 15 seconds after clicking the headline.
Clicks are not enough; your most successful headlines are those that grab users’ attention and position engaging content. Engaged Headline Testing ensures your headlines do both.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The setup is simple: pick a story that you want to test headlines for, enter a series of different headlines, and launch the experiment. Chartbeat then serves those different headlines to your audience and measures how many clicks each version receives—and more importantly how much Engaged Time those visitors spend consuming the content. Tests run in real-time, weighting the winning headlines based on what’s driving the most post-click engagement with each audience.
Ready to upgrade to the Engaged Headline Testing tool? Let your account manager know—or shoot us a note to learn more.
Headline Testing 101
WHAT SHOULD MY EXPERIMENTS LOOK LIKE?
Since a headline test is an experiment, you should structure it that way — hypothesis, variables, results, and conclusions.
1. Leverage your own experience and insight. When deciding on headline variants, consider what kinds of headlines have been successful in the past. Maybe one that’s interrogative, one with numbers, and another written in the second person.
2. It’s multivariate headline testing after all, you’re not limited to two choices. Pick a series of different kinds of headlines, at least 4 or 5. And make sure they’re different.
3. Make sure your headlines are different. You’re testing to see how your audience reacts to different styles and tones, not slight changes in word order or punctuation.
4. Analyze your results. Look back at those headline writing strategies you started with. Were your hypotheses correct? Every time an experiment completes, you have a chance to learn a little bit more about your audience’s preferences and how they respond to different styles of headlines. Which approaches were more successful? Under what conditions? Do certain approaches work better against certain content topics (e.g. sports or tech or entertainment)?
Chartcorps Insight: High clicks with low engagement might mean that the headline didn’t communicate the message of the article. Is your headline too sensational, too much of a stretch? Low clicks with high engagement can tell you that the article could use more exposure. Have you shared it on social media, are you linking to it from your home page or other article pages?
5. Apply your findings time and time again. Some of the best headline testers write wrap reports and have daily meetings to go over results. Creating and sharing a summary of the insights you gained from previous experiments helps all editors and content producers benefit and learn.
6. Test again.
And again. Test deliberately and in ways that confirm or deny a single hypotheses.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT ENGAGED HEADLINE TESTING?
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