Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Facebook rules the Internet in the Philippines. Rappler walks the line between partnership and criticism
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 26, 2017, 11:11 a.m.
LINK: buzzsumo.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   June 26, 2017

Jostling for readers for your listicle on Facebook? Aim for the number “10” in your headline.

Trying to promote a story on Twitter? Emotion-based appeals popular on Facebook don’t translate to Twitter.

Findings from a BuzzSumo trigram analysis of 100 million headlines published between March and May of this year confirms a lot about the clickbait-y, competitive publishing environment of social media.

The analysis reveals nothing particularly surprising, for instance, about the headline phrases that generated the most likes, shares, and comments: “Will make you” was by far the most successful phrase, and emotion-based appeals like “melt your heart” and “make you cry” also do well. (Also, we reported that 10 was the most common number for a BuzzFeed list way back in 2013.)

Publishers beware though: Facebook says its algorithm is cracking down again on clickbait in its News Feed.

Phrases that performed poorly on Facebook? “Control of your,” “work for you,” or “on a budget”— which apparently works well on Pinterest. Phrases that performed well on Facebook don’t work as well in Twitter headlines, where phrases that emphasize immediacy and analysis do best — “what we know,” “things to know,” “this is what.”

On Facebook, it’s also important to hit just the right headline length. Super short or super long headlines don’t appear to be effective. Posts between 12 and 18 words — and between 80 to 95 characters — get the most shares on Facebook.

This particular study draws its insights from some of the most shared stories on Facebook and Twitter, which include articles from major publishers like HuffPost and BuzzFeed; it’ll release separate headlines analysis for sharing business-to-business stories later in the year. You can read the entire post here.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Facebook rules the Internet in the Philippines. Rappler walks the line between partnership and criticism
“It’s still an empowering platform. I will not take that away from them. But people who deal with the algorithms have to work hand in hand with people who have responsibilities in the public space.”
NBC News invents the script for a twice-daily Snapchat news show
“We’re certainly walking before we’re running, but we’re actually sort of jogging before we’re running.”
Live touring is a real business for some podcasts (and you don’t need huge downloads for it to work)
Plus: Radiotopia’s Ear Hustle is a hit, Panoply partners with Nielsen for more targeted ads, and The New York Times gets another podcast.