For Search & Social, Headlines Are The Top Drivers Of Traffic
Survey by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism finds that headlines are a stronger source of clicks for people consuming news via search than social media.
Why do readers choose to click on one story over another? The headline, of course.
That common sense finding was confirmed by new research by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The institute released its Digital News Report 2015 Monday, dropping a detailed report of the news consumption habits of 20,000 people in 12 countries. For close followers of the news industry, it’s well worth a close read.
There are also some interesting findings for non-journalism focused marketers, especially those concerned with optimizing content. For one thing, headlines are as important as you thought, but are significantly more important on search than social.
In the United States, 51% of people who use search sites to find news said that an interesting headline was the reason they clicked on stories. The source of the news is less important with 37% clicking on content from a “site I know and trust.” Social signals within search are weak with only 11% saying they click on stories that come from a “person I know and trust.”
The story is different on social. Headlines were still the most important factor people cited for clicking, but the percentage was only 37%. That was only narrowly more than the 36% who said they clicked on news from trusted brands. Not surprisingly, there was also a strong contingency — 24% — who clicked on news shared by trusted friends.
Here are the charts that show the search and social results for the United Kingdom, United States, France, Italy and Ireland: