Huffington Post Runs A/B Tests on Headlines
A/B testing has long been used in direct marketing and as we go increasingly digital, the technique is widely used to determine the best results for anything from page design though to creative and copy testing for ads. [If you're not familiar with the terminology, it just refers to the concept of showing some of your audience one thing and the others a variant, monitoring the results and then rolling out the most successful executions.] It’s something that we use as standard best practice in mobile advertising and the results look something like this
However, I’ve never come across A/B testing for headlines before, so was interested to read this piece outlining the methodology that The Huffington Post uses to test and optimise its headlines.
Readers are randomly shown one of two headlines for the same story.
After five minutes, which is enough time for such a high-traffic site,
the version with the most clicks becomes the wood that everyone sees.
Obviously the difference between a great headline and a mediocre one makes a significant impact on readership, both directly and via Search Engines and ultimately translates into ad revenue. So it’s surprising that other publications don’t use this technique.
Or do they and I’ve just missed it?