Changing the headline to include a dollar value (‘$2 Billion’)

The New York Times
Clarity (copy)
March 2016
Control and variation

The New York Times hardly needs an introduction as a authoritative American daily newspaper, founded in New York City in 1851. To increase the number of readers the NYT is AB testing the headlines of its articles.

Mark Bulik, a senior editor, writes about recent tests designed to see what kind of headlines attract most readers.

“The Times generally uses the tests when a story isn’t performing as well as expected, and we have a few rules. Both headline options have to meet our standards; we don’t test clickbait versions because no headline should leave readers feeling cheated when they get to the story.”


  Changing the headline to be more conversational (‘$2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Trump’)  will increase the number of clicks 


The “2 billion” headline resulted in 297 percent more readers.


Headlines make a huge difference. There is so much news out there; an article needs to stand out to be read.

“We’ve learned a number of lessons from months of testing, but the most important one is pretty obvious — clear, powerful words and a conversational tone make a big difference.”