Which Headlines Attract Most Readers?

In one effort to increase readership, The Times is using a tool that allows us to simultaneously present two different headlines for the same article on its home page. Half of readers on the page see one headline; half see the other. The test measures the difference in readers clicking on the article and lets us know if the numbers are statistically significant. If so, the winning headline goes on the home page for all readers.

And so, for a short while on March 15, one reader might have seen this:

$2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Trump

While another saw this:

Measuring Trump’s Media Dominance

Any guesses on which won the test, and by how much?

The top one got nearly three times as many readers, which underlines the crucial role of headlines in the digital age.

..  clear, powerful words and a conversational tone make a big difference.

It’s Comments All the Way Down

Reagle’s initial engagement with his subject arises out of his own admitted status as what he calls a “maximizer,” a person who “must be assured that every decision is optimal.” Maximizers, he writes, “spend hours reading reviews and feel disappointed when an item falls short of expectations or is surpassed by a new model. They suffer from the fear that they could have made a better decision; this is the paradox of increased information and choice.”