Rare Bird

New eye tracking research proves what newspapers and advertisers have insisted for a hundred years: headlines are everything.

In 2006, UI guru Jakob Nielson found that almost all users followed an F-shaped pattern as they read a web page. They first read in a horizontal movement, then moved down and read in a second (but shorter) horizontal movement, and finally scanned only the left side of the content.

Now, a new study by OTOInsights shows an even stronger F-shape for social media. Just ask any Digg user. According to eye tracking, the amount of time users spend reading Digg’s blurbs is dramatically smaller than that spent skimming the headlines.

OTOInsights goes on to analyze traits of the most effective headlines:

Our analysis of Digg.com headlines suggest Digg.com users prefer short, direct and revealing headlines. Underestimating the importance of headlines on Digg.com almost guarantees the failure of your submission. As one participant, a very successful Digg.com user and web development blogger, stated “I spend almost as much time researching and writing my headline as I do my entire post!”

Copywriters will tell you the same thing. A headline must entice you to read the first sentence of the copy. Or to click the link, turn the page or open the envelope—whatever that “first step” is. Without a great, eye-grabbing headline, even the best content will wallow unnoticed.

Source: Neuromarketing
Photo credit: Purpleslog