How The Huffington Post uses Real-time Testing to Write Better Headlines

Zachary M. Seward niemanlab.org writes that The Huffington Post applies A/B testing to some of 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.

Put the Author’s name above a headline to get more clicks

Paul Berry, Chief Technology Officer at The Huffington Post, said Huffington Post editors have found that “placing the author’s name above a headline almost always leads to more clicks than omitting it.”
Also, The Huffington Post’s new social media editor, Josh Young, has also been soliciting better headlines from readers on Twitter. Interesting use of Crowd-sourcing?

Takeaway

The Huffington Post is considering separate East Coast and West Coast editions.
Why?
Take the Oscars, It’s old news to East Coast readers by noon, but fresh for the West Coasters logging on.
Read more here: www.niemanlab.org
Will real-time rating lead to “better” headlines or more popular ones?

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