Changing the headline to be more conversational

The New York Times
May 2016
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 (‘It’s Not Just Wrestling That’s Fake. It’s the World’)  will increase the number of clicks 


The “fake” headline increased the number of readers tenfold….


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.”


Test details

Test element Headline
Page type Article
Test date May 2016

Website information

Company The New York Times
Market News
Test result
Test element Headline
Page Article
Result +1000% Readers

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.