Nerve Collective

Thoughts & Musings

Don’t Hate This Headline

I know, there’s a negative in it. But please, just give it a chance. Why? Because contrary to accepted wisdom headlines containing negatives don’t turn off audiences or depress response. In fact there’s evidence to show that headlines containing negatives actually increase response by as much as 30% (that according to a study of 65,000 link headlines done by Outbrain back in 2013).

So why the longstanding — and enduring — prejudice against negative terms in headlines? Our guess is it’s mostly a matter of taste. However it could also be a matter of changing tastes. Audiences, especially millennial audiences, may well be getting burned out on headline happy talk and are starting to gravitate to messages they perceive as being more “real”.

But whatever the case, fear not the negative. It’s one of Jim’s New Year’s resolutions for 2015. Jason’s is to fear not “the fold”. Actually Jason hasn’t worried about folds for a while now. That idea — that web pages work like the printed newspapers of old, and anything below “the fold” gets ignored — was disproved years ago. Users like scrolling pages, even very long scrolling pages. Expect Jason to explain why (probably at length) when you see him.

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