Titles,
Snippets &
How to
Improve
your CTR
April 2014
The Importance Of Headlines
Commonly used techniques for
successful online headlines
• Use Numbers
This tells the reader exactly what to expect. It su...
HubSpot – Title Testing
• Hubspot are a successful inbound-marketing specialist.
• The next few slides look at the results...
1. Which title would you click
on?
A. What Does Google Hummingbird Update Mean for E-
Commerce Business?
B. This is What t...
Winner..
Variation A (0.07% vs 0.01%)
Lesson: Frame Your blog-post title as a question
A. A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling
Content
B. A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Writing Amazing Blog
Pos...
Winner..
Variation A (0.09% vs 0.07%)
Lesson: Use broader topic descriptions to position your blog post as relevant to
a w...
A. 8 Excellent Reasons to Redesign Your Website
B. 8 Tell-Tale Signs Your Website May Need a Redesign
3. Which title would...
Winner..
Variation B (.05% vs .04%)
Lesson: Using unique language makes your post stand out, suggesting it has
personality
A. These 5 Template Will Teach You How to Easily Create
Infographics in PowerPoint
B. Easy Ways to Create Killer PowerPoin...
Winner..
Variation A (.09% vs. .07%)
Lesson: Best to include attractive offer or discounts, or up front, rather than
putti...
A. The Simple Template for a Thorough Content Style
Guide
B. 7 Steps to Creating a Thorough Style Guide
5. Which title wou...
Winner..
Variation B (.02% vs. .00%)
Lesson: Begin your blog post title with a number to help make the post's
content more...
A. A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Compelling Blog
Post
B. A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling
Content
...
Winner..
Variation B (.09% vs. .01%)
Lesson: Position your blog post as having a unique content format -- there are
"guide...
A. 160 MORE Free Stock Photos You Seriously Need to
Download Now
B. 75 Free Stock Photos for You to Use (and Tips for
Cust...
Winner..
Variation A (.11% vs. .05%)
Lesson: Don't take yourself too seriously. Your post titles will be more enticing
wit...
APRIL 2014 19
Writing Titles for Social
Media
The ‘Curiosity Gap’
‘This is an amazing video!’
Too vague = Don’t want to click
‘Hootsuite imitates Game of Thrones openin...
The champions of clickable titles on social media are viral-content site, Upworthy.
The graphs* below, show us how much th...
• To make content go viral it needs to be
both:
• Shareable (this is 99% down to the
content itself – emotional, socially ...
The Upworthy Process
To demonstrate the importance of the titles. Here are a few examples of content that
Upworthy has rep...
YouTube vs Upworthy
And these:
The difference here is VERY obvious. The second title is SO much more
clickable.
YouTube vs Upworthy
And finally:
This was the most visited page on Upworthy for their first year.
What can we learn from
Upworthy?
While the Upworthy technique is very effective, it does have its issues:
• It’s quite a m...
What can we learn from
Upworthy?
• The Upworthy-style curiosity gap can be employed in more
casual online environments suc...
Headers on Social Media:
Differences between the main
networks
I posted this infographic across
Facebook, Twitter & Google...
• On Google+ (perhaps due to the company’s focus on personalisation)
individuals tend to receive more engagement than bran...
• On Facebook, it is brands that
receive the most engagement.
• In this environment, you are
competing for attention with
...
• Tweet the same content
multiple times.
• Use hashtags/reword tweet to
target different people (top 2
example tweets link...
APRIL 2014 32
A Few Extra Tips & Tricks!
Play with context to increase
intrigue
This classic one-line advert for Panadol by famous copywriter, Neil French,
promote...
Digg: Research & Inspiration
Digg is a social-
bookmarking site like
Reddit. the way it’s set up,
however, mean that most
...
www.make-it-rain.co.uk
@makeittweet
/MakeItRainLondon
@makeitrainuk
We’d love to hear
your thoughts!
APRIL 2014 35
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Titles, Snippets and How to Increase CTR

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A shortened version of a presentation I gave on how to use titles, snippets and pictures to increase CTR across the web.

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Titles, Snippets and How to Increase CTR

  1. 1. Titles, Snippets & How to Improve your CTR April 2014
  2. 2. The Importance Of Headlines
  3. 3. Commonly used techniques for successful online headlines • Use Numbers This tells the reader exactly what to expect. It suggests the post will be scannable & digestible. • Use Interesting Adjectives: Effortless, Fun, Essential, Free This will make your title stand out from the rest. It will also help convey personality and interest. • Use Unique Rationale: Reasons, Principles, Lessons Enticing and promise the reader unique value. • Use: What, Why, When, How or When Again, these words make a promise to the reader. Audience knows exactly what they will get from reading on. • Make A Promise Or Offer Value If you have something specific to offer, flaunt it! ‘How To Get Your 10% Discount On Best Western Accommodation’ is better than ‘Save Money This Summer.’
  4. 4. HubSpot – Title Testing • Hubspot are a successful inbound-marketing specialist. • The next few slides look at the results of some of their A/B testing on blog post titles. • They promoted the same content using 2 different headers, changing only a single element in order to discover which techniques were significant in increasing CTR. • Read through the following titles & see which you find most effective.
  5. 5. 1. Which title would you click on? A. What Does Google Hummingbird Update Mean for E- Commerce Business? B. This is What the New Hummingbird SEO Algorithm Means for Your Ecommerce
  6. 6. Winner.. Variation A (0.07% vs 0.01%) Lesson: Frame Your blog-post title as a question
  7. 7. A. A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling Content B. A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Writing Amazing Blog Posts 2. Which title would you click on?
  8. 8. Winner.. Variation A (0.09% vs 0.07%) Lesson: Use broader topic descriptions to position your blog post as relevant to a wider audience
  9. 9. A. 8 Excellent Reasons to Redesign Your Website B. 8 Tell-Tale Signs Your Website May Need a Redesign 3. Which title would you click on?
  10. 10. Winner.. Variation B (.05% vs .04%) Lesson: Using unique language makes your post stand out, suggesting it has personality
  11. 11. A. These 5 Template Will Teach You How to Easily Create Infographics in PowerPoint B. Easy Ways to Create Killer PowerPoint Infographics (Free Templates) 4. Which title would you click on?
  12. 12. Winner.. Variation A (.09% vs. .07%) Lesson: Best to include attractive offer or discounts, or up front, rather than putting it toward the middle or end of your post title. This will decrease drop-off rates
  13. 13. A. The Simple Template for a Thorough Content Style Guide B. 7 Steps to Creating a Thorough Style Guide 5. Which title would you click on?
  14. 14. Winner.. Variation B (.02% vs. .00%) Lesson: Begin your blog post title with a number to help make the post's content more actionable and reassure your readers they can scan through your list post quickly if needed
  15. 15. A. A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Compelling Blog Post B. A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Creating Compelling Content 6. Which title would you click on?
  16. 16. Winner.. Variation B (.09% vs. .01%) Lesson: Position your blog post as having a unique content format -- there are "guides" and "checklists" all over the internet, but how many "fool-proof formulas" have you encountered?
  17. 17. A. 160 MORE Free Stock Photos You Seriously Need to Download Now B. 75 Free Stock Photos for You to Use (and Tips for Customizing Them in PowerPoint) 7. Which title would you click on?
  18. 18. Winner.. Variation A (.11% vs. .05%) Lesson: Don't take yourself too seriously. Your post titles will be more enticing with a fun, light tone than a bland, serious one
  19. 19. APRIL 2014 19 Writing Titles for Social Media
  20. 20. The ‘Curiosity Gap’ ‘This is an amazing video!’ Too vague = Don’t want to click ‘Hootsuite imitates Game of Thrones opening credits, displaying social networks as each of the Houses.’ Too specific = No need to click ‘Intelligent social media video reimagines Game of Thrones. An interesting concept but it really does work!’ Curiosity Gap = Compelled to Click Titles are for this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el8Ydwh0QlQ The most common method of increasing click-through rate on social media is by employing a ‘curiosity gap’ – titles that are somewhere in between ‘too specific’ and ‘too vague.’ Below, are some examples for the GoT/Hootsuite video:
  21. 21. The champions of clickable titles on social media are viral-content site, Upworthy. The graphs* below, show us how much they are dominating in this area. *data from late 2013-early 2014 Upworthy
  22. 22. • To make content go viral it needs to be both: • Shareable (this is 99% down to the content itself – emotional, socially relevant content works best as people like to show off that they care/know). • Clickable this almost completely comes down to how it’s presented (title, picture & snippet). Their Process • All content is selected carefully on emotional/shareable qualities. • 25 headlines are written for EVERY bit of content. • Headlines tested for clickability. • Content is posted with Headline, snippet and an intriguing picture. The Upworthy Process
  23. 23. The Upworthy Process To demonstrate the importance of the titles. Here are a few examples of content that Upworthy has repurposed and used to attract visitors to their site. Have a look at the difference in the following titles:
  24. 24. YouTube vs Upworthy And these: The difference here is VERY obvious. The second title is SO much more clickable.
  25. 25. YouTube vs Upworthy And finally: This was the most visited page on Upworthy for their first year.
  26. 26. What can we learn from Upworthy? While the Upworthy technique is very effective, it does have its issues: • It’s quite a manipulative & tacky technique: ‘You have to read this presentation, it literally blew my mind!’ • The content very rarely lives up to expectations. • The Internet in general is wising up and getting annoyed at this superlative marketing technique. It’s basically a fad. • Because of the above reasons, it would be unwise to associate high-end brands with this technique. When CNN employed it on Twitter, backlash was severe.
  27. 27. What can we learn from Upworthy? • The Upworthy-style curiosity gap can be employed in more casual online environments such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit & other social bookmarking sites. • More time should be taken when planning headers and snippets, particularly when CTR/traffic are the key goals. • Try to mould content around an emotional/high-brow/topical theme to increase the chances of it being shared.
  28. 28. Headers on Social Media: Differences between the main networks I posted this infographic across Facebook, Twitter & Google+ to demonstrate the differences in best- practice titles/snippets. It deals with: • virality • The importance of titles • The Upworthy process http://blog.marketo.com/2014/03/why- upworthy-has-won-the-internet.html
  29. 29. • On Google+ (perhaps due to the company’s focus on personalisation) individuals tend to receive more engagement than brands. • On this platform, snippets should be text heavy and very explanatory. • You can embolden Text (*) and put Important phrases in Italics (_) to help draw attention. Headers on Social Media: Google+
  30. 30. • On Facebook, it is brands that receive the most engagement. • In this environment, you are competing for attention with friends, family and offers. • Employ the curiosity gap (to the max). • Titles & snippets need to be VERY clickable. • Be emotional and personal (use ‘you, ‘me.’) • Use title, snippet and accompanying picture & text for optimum results. Headers on Social Media: Facebook
  31. 31. • Tweet the same content multiple times. • Use hashtags/reword tweet to target different people (top 2 example tweets link to the same Upworthy IG). • Employ curiosity gap. • Ask questions. • Promise value. • Use facts/stats. • Make them short where possible (helps them stand out in the noise). Headers on Social Media: Twitter
  32. 32. APRIL 2014 32 A Few Extra Tips & Tricks!
  33. 33. Play with context to increase intrigue This classic one-line advert for Panadol by famous copywriter, Neil French, promotes the fact that the medicine is double strength (one had to take most alternatives two at a time). The snippet, ‘one is enough,’ is pretty uninspiring in itself. However, in this context it is attention grabbing, memorable and humorous. Experiment with incongruous photos on social media.
  34. 34. Digg: Research & Inspiration Digg is a social- bookmarking site like Reddit. the way it’s set up, however, mean that most visitors upvote posts based on the title rather than the content. It is therefore a good site to go and visit when looking for inspiration. What sort of titles, pictures and snippets are getting a healthy CTR at the moment?
  35. 35. www.make-it-rain.co.uk @makeittweet /MakeItRainLondon @makeitrainuk We’d love to hear your thoughts! APRIL 2014 35

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