New research: How A/B testing shapes headlines

Image from Howard Lake

Last week, my first journal article was published in Media and Communication. I worked with Nick Diakopoulos to research A/B headline testing in newsrooms. Headline tests allow publications to show different parts of the audience different headlines and measure how many people click on each option. Newsrooms use those tests to determine which headline audiences will prefer. I’ve summarized key findings from the paper below, and you can read the whole thing here.

1. Headline tests change headline writing.

2. The goals of testing depend on the newsroom.

3. Optimizers play a key role.

4. Testing works best when everyone works together.

Have experience with A/B testing in your newsroom? Curious to learn more? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, or at nhagar@u.northwestern.edu. I’m also on Twitter.

PhD student @ Northwestern University. I worked in digital media, now I study it.

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