Which BuzzFeed titles get the most shares on Facebook?
You have probably been to the site before: BuzzFeed is a very popular platform for viral content. In six years, BuzzFeed went from 0 to 80 million unique visitors per month. BuzzFeed made it big with “fun and entertainment oriented content“, and therefore invest heavily in social media. As Executive Editor Doree Shafrir says: “We are good at creating content that is well shared. We investigate what works for each platform.”
Viral on Facebook
Facebook generates the most traffic for BuzzFeed. On the one hand logical because Facebook is the largest social network ever, with 1.3 billion users in June 2014, on the other hand Facebook prefers not to see users click away to another website. Facebook's algorithm ('edgerank') is not so sympathetic towards the left. Last year, Facebook even announced new measures: links placed with photos are shown less than links placed as links with a thumbnail, image, domain and description (link post). According to research by Facebook, 80% prefers a title that tells what content they see.
How does BuzzTalk make content go viral? “Facebook mainly works with emotional, positive content or humor, things that people share with some pride. That kind of content has a longer lifespan on Facebook,” says Shafrir.
What is Click Baiting?
Everyone is (unfortunately) familiar with the clickbait phenomenon: a title that is so shocking or seems to contain so much news value, you have to click on it. This is how GeenStijl placed the article ”OMG! Six pit bulls devour 4-year-old girl!' and then explain clickbaiting (and luckily the pit bulls actually listen to the girl). Clickbaiting comes at the expense of quality or accuracy, relies on sensational headlines (Indeed, such as De Telegraaf, Story and Weekend) and encourages sharing.
Clickbaiting uses the so-called 'curiosity gap': as a reader you get enough information to become curious, but not enough to satisfy that curiosity without clicking through. For a blogger, finding the right title is a real challenge: you've written a beautiful piece, but without a good headline people just won't read it.
BuzzFeed titles that work on Facebook
Reddit.com (news website built by users) user MiniMaxir wondered: which words in a BuzzFeed headline generate shares on Facebook? To do this, he did the necessary research into BuzzFeed on Facebook and experienced the overview below.
Adapted for Facebook
Before you notice that people are mainly interested in what kind of character they are (“character are you”), remember that these titles work well on Facebook. For many people, Facebook is distraction, fun and anything but serious. The medium determines the message. If you want to use Facebook successfully, you will have to adapt your message to what works on Facebook.