What to Test – Part 5

Welcome to the latest edition of our new weekly blog series, What to Test. Each week, we will introduce a new test idea. We’ll explain why it’s important to test it, what you might learn, how to carry out the test, and what to measure in order to determine a winner. Last week we tested Button Text.

The Test = Headline Copy


The headline, some would argue, is the most important piece of copy on any page or advertisement. It’s the first thing that people, and therefor is your first chance to get and keep their attention. So naturally you should want to fashion a headline that keeps people reading for more information.

Online media companies like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and the Huffington Post have discovered how valuable good headlines can be in the digital age. It’s all about getting people to click, read, and share your content. Upworthy is a content site built entirely around the concept of headline testing.


You can test headlines in a large number of channels – ads, web pages, emails, social media posts, articles, etc. And depending on where you are testing, the method will be different.

For example, you can test two versions of an email with identical content except for the headline, measuring the amount of clicks or sales it creates. Or you can test two headlines for the same content on Facebook to see which one gets more likes and comments. Or you can test two headlines on your landing page to see which one generates a higher conversion rate.

The important thing to remember with headline testing, in any venue, is that you have very little time to grab someone’s attention. Your headline needs to entice and compel. You can ask a question, make a controversial statement, tell people you will solve a problem, or use numbered lists (a la Buzzfeed).

Your headline has succeeded if it gets more clicks and visitors, longer stays on your site, and more shares.

Anything to add? As always, use the comments below or Twitter #whattotest to keep the conversation going!