When partnering with a content recommendation engine, you’re in the perfect position to drive high-quality traffic to your site. However, based on your data, you know some campaigns perform significantly better than others. How do you determine what components of a campaign are successful and what doesn’t connect with your audience? Optimization is key to testing out what performs the best for your audience.
Luckily, this is what the RevContent Optimization team does all day. They test every component of the content from the headline to the image, so our partners always see the maximum revenue potential. Everything from the images you use to the length of your headlines can influence the amount of traffic to your site, so check out some simple advice from our optimization experts.
Headlines: Grab Attention, and Keep It
While images might get attention first, your headline is arguably the most important aspect of attraction for users to click on your content. You don’t have the chance to add a summary or synopsis of your content, so your headline needs to give users a reason to click on it.
The most successful headlines are those that are action-based; they encourage readers to do something, such as accomplish a task, break a habit, or fix a problem.
Nick Cote, Head of Optimization at RevContent, said:
“The strongest performing headlines are very clear. There shouldn’t be any confusion about the headline’s intent or meaning. Utilizing numbers is an easy way to engage users – you probably see a bunch of these articles every day with headlines like, “11 Movie Mistakes You Didn’t Spot In Theaters” or “9 iPhone Hacks That Make Your Life Easier.”
An original study from Conductor showed similar results.
Lists tend to drive traffic more than other types of content, but data indicates that in the case of recommended content, lists perform as much as 20% better than other content types. Odd numbered lists outperform those with even numbers as well.
For headline length, our optimization team cautions against being too wordy – “If you can keep your headline concise (6-9 words), you increase the chance of boosting your click-through rates.”
Image Is Everything
“The image is the face of your content – it should capture your audience while being relevant to your headline and to the rest of your content.”
An eye-catching image will grab attention long enough to entice a user to read the headline and click on it.
Our optimization specialists said, “Make sure you use good quality images. While it doesn’t have to be high definition enough to grace the cover of National Geographic, making sure there’s no pixelation in your image can have a significant effect on its performance.”
Optimization and Testing
It’s absolutely key to test what combinations of images and headlines appeal to your audience. Our optimization team constantly optimizes and tests to get the best results for our partners.
For performance testing, optimization is dependent on multiple factors such as the amount of traffic being driven to a campaign and the performance of the creatives. Our team said there isn’t an exact number of combinations they test; it’s more important that the headlines and images selected be carefully thought out – quality over quantity.
“However, even if it’s just one new creative, you should constantly be testing to try and outperform the status quo. Ideally, different headline/image combinations should be running simultaneously with the campaigns receiving traffic from the same source. This will limit additional variables and outliers that may have an effect on your data.”
On testing multiple combinations, our Head of Optimization said:
“How can you know what works best if you’ve never tested other options? Split testing different images and headlines provides you the performance statistics needed to make data-driven decisions. You may find certain things work well consistently but continuing to test different options helps optimize your overall returns.”
Our optimization experts also recommend you stay up to date on the products and tools your content recommendation partner offers.
“Know their interface, features, and product offerings. This can be a huge timer saver, and you know what they say, ‘Time is money.’ Keep up to date with the newest features and releases to ensure you are utilizing all the tools available to you.”
For many businesses, driving traffic via content recommendation engines is a process of trial and error. Optimizing campaigns that generate increased revenue and performance for our partners is where our optimization team really shines. The best-performing images and headlines can mean the difference between 5,000 and 5 million views on your content, so make sure you’re taking these simple steps to maximize revenue.
Powering 250 billion content recommendations per month, RevContent is the fastest growing content recommendation network and reaches 97% of US households, according to Quantcast. To learn more about content that converts, sign up or visit our website.