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How Changing a White Paper Headline Increased its Click Through Rate Over 200%

By Nick Price

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

-David Ogilvy

A few weeks ago, a simple change in the title of a white paper for one of our clients in the mobile security space yielded a sizable spike in clicks through from the previous day.

Why the sudden interest in mobile security? Take a look at the titles:

Old TitleFor Data Security Professionals

And and doesn’t kind

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– Smart Devices, Smart Security

This title is confusing and convoluted. It doesn’t give the reader a full picture of what to expect when they read the white paper. As we’ve said before, reader attention is at a premium on the internet, and this headline does not take that into account.

New TitleFive Things You Need to Know About Securing Mobile Data

This title is a total attention grabber. It positions the author as a thought leader, with a proficient knowledge of the topic at hand. The “Five Things” mentioned in headline come off as tested, indispensable pieces of information for the reader, and almost creates a FOMO (fear of missing out), if one were to skip it.

Also, the fact that the headline explicitly states the length and structure of the content allows the reader to grasp the main takeaway by simply reading the first 2 words. Internet users want to get in and out as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If there’s even a hint of lag, poof! They’re gone.

It’s the job of the headline to let a reader know precisely what they’re getting themselves into, and the new headline does just that.

A big tip of the hat to Rachael Dorin, Jessica Dervin and Ashley Anderson from the Account Management Team for scouting the data.


All this talk about headline optimization is making think about changing one I chose for this post. Oh well.

Nick Price

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