It is no surprise that a catchy headline will draw a reader in. But now there are some numbers to back this up. According to a new research released in September, Harris Interactive asked more than 2,000 adults what factors would make them more likely to read an article, with a catchy headline (54%) coming out on top, beating an interesting picture with the article (44%) and interesting data or research which supports the article (43%).
There was some variety in the responses by age and gender. For example, while those top 3 factors maintained their order among Echo Boomers (18-35), Gen Xers (36-47), and Baby Boomers (48-66), interesting supporting data or research took top billing among Matures (67+), ahead of catchy headlines and interesting pictures (55% vs. 52% for each of the latter).
Looking at the gender breakdown, catchy headlines are more likely to lure women than men (58% vs. 50%), while interesting data or research proves more appealing to men (47% vs. 40%), and in fact is more likely to draw men than an interesting picture (43%).
Overall, just 28% of the adults surveyed said that an interesting infographic would make them more likely to read an article, with this result relatively consistent across age and gender.
When asked to best describe how they typically read an article, whether online or in print, a plurality of respondents (34%) said they normally just read the headlines, but maybe 1 or 2 stories in full. One-quarter said they skim the full article.
What can we take away from this? Many portal,s I would even venture in saying most portals, have seen the value in monitoring their clients’ pictures and require high quality photos to be able to publish a listing. But far too few have given any thought to the headlines. While this writer knows that it is not the responsibility of the portals to impose 'quality headlines' it will ultimately lead to web viewers reading more about the listings which will result in more leads, and that my friends is good for everyone.
About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 13 and 20, 2012 among 2,307 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.